As every kitchen needs its first knife, every site needs its first article. It may not be memorable, but it has to be done anyway. Let’s open this kitchen with a story of knives.
I don’t recall what my first knife was, but I do remember the important ones.
When I first moved out, my parents bought me a cleaver. It felt like an essential addition to a new kitchen. I could have put in the drawer with the other knives — hand-me-downs and garage sale acquisitions. It didn’t feel right though. No, I hung my cleaver in the open. Guests would stare upon its mighty steel and think, “this guy knows how to cook.”
I was a good cook, in the sense I prepared a variety of basic food that people enjoyed eating. But nothing that lived up to the expectation the cleaver gave.
I used the cleaver for preparing almost everything. That’s what one does when lacking any other decent knife. Steak, sausages, tomatoes, oranges, even olives were subjected to its thick blade.
Twenty years later and the blade still survives. I’d give a shout out to the brand, but it’s worn away. Over time I used the knife less, relegating its existence to chopping meat and bones, cracking open coconuts, and slicing pizza. The high grip, relative to the blade edge, makes it ideal for pizza cutting. The blade stays above pan edges and applies even pressure.
A Spyderco kitchen knife is the second one I have in memory. Its name also wore off, but I recall talking about it and buying a second one many years later. This knife had a serrated blade. It was an excellent general purpose kitchen knife. I’ve since moved to straight edges, but the constant need to sharpen can be frustrating. I recommend serrated blades for people looking for an easy option. This is especially true if you’ll be cutting a lot of tomatoes, a key ingredient to many of the recipes which will appear on this site. The handle on the Spyderco eventually fell apart, but unlike the clever, it endured over a decade of daily use.
More importantly, this knife was a gift. A friend of mine loved collecting knives, mainly the folding kind. It’s one of those rare dual-personal presents, having meaning to both the giver and the receiver. I was highly appreciative of the gift. Of course, one evening he caught me using the clever to cut some meat and demanded answers! I needed to prove that meat is the one thing a serrated blade is terrible at cutting — it’s more like ripping. I added some more vegetables to the meal, to show off his knife.
Unfortunately, my good friend survived only a few years more than the blade. Even though we lived on different continents now, I think it’s the first death that really hit me. I kind of wish I still had one of those serrated blades, even if not the exact same one. Though emotional, having connections to one’s past can be reassuring.
This year I bought two decent quality chef’s knives. I’d gone years using random gifts and budget items. I won’t be claiming one needs top quality equipment to produce high-quality food. But you do need at least a few capable knives. One of my new blades is visually equipped with a fine Damascus steel. It reaffirms the impression that “this guy knows how to cook.”
That said, you might think I’d choose a knife for the logo of my site. I’ve opted for a spatula instead. It looks less aggressive.
Welcome to my kitchen.