AndyTalk: Errant Knifery

Categories: Chow Bella

3.5-inch Paring Knife.jpg
Andy Broder
See also: AndyTalk: The Five Most Common Kitchen Mistakes, Starting with Gray Meat

I have a drawer at AndyFood labeled "shot glasses."' That's where I keep all of the more esoteric knives. More to the point, that's where I keep those knives away from the unknowing. I watch people use a paring knife for everything from to peeling an apple and to butchering a chicken to dicing vegetables for stir-fry. You can do all of that with one knife, but ideally not a paring knife.

9-Inch Chef's Knife.jpg
Andy Broder
It's ironic that most of the paring-knife-fanatics know they're using the wrong knife. They're afraid of big knives - which is actually a good instinct. But, using the wrong knife is risky. Here's a short list of the wrong knives:

  • A knife that's so big it hides the food you're cutting,

  • Any knife that's not at least an inch or two longer than the width of the food you're slicing (Turkeys and huge cuts of meat excepted),

  • A dull knife,

  • A knife in bad repair (i.e., the rivets are loose), and

  • A knife that looks cool, but that you have no idea what it's designed to do.

Thin Cleaver.jpg
Andy Broder

The right knife is

  • Sharp. Sharp knives easily glide into the food you're cutting. Dull knives require a lot of pressure to do the job. As you struggle you risk being cut.

  • Comfortable in your hand. If you're five feet tall a 7-inch chef's knife is probably just your size. If you're over six feet tall you might enjoy a 10-inch knife. A chef's knife is an extension of your arm - and if you have short arms a shorter knife is in order. For most people an 8 or 9-inch knife is perfect.

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Woohoo! Awesome video w/ great tips!

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