julia child, mastering the art of french cooking, julie powell, french cuisine

That’s Not a Knife…THIS is a Knife!

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“A knife should be as sharp as a razor or it mashes and bruises food rather than chopping or cutting it.” – Julia Child


I’ve always been a frugal shopper and try to buy things only out of necessity. Looking around my kitchen, the majority of the nice things I own are items that I’ve received as gifts – my pots and pans; the KitchenAid mixer; my Cuisinart food processor; our dishes. Everything else is pretty generic because, after all, when the most effort you put forth in the kitchen is to toss some ingredients into a crock pot (also a gift), what do you really need?

Dollar General's Finest

Take my knife block, for instance. The block itself was a Christmas gift last year, and is actually nicer than the knives inside of it. Our steak knife collection came in a package from the Dollar General, as did our butcher knife (which has been used for everything from chopping veggies to slicing meat to opening the occasional stubborn package). In fact, I think our nicest knife was liberated from a local Outback Steakhouse – how it fell into my purse I’ll never know, but it sure cuts like a dream.

The thing is, like most “Aha!” moments in life, I didn’t know how bad off I was until I had a taste of something better. My first inkling that my current knife situation just wasn’t cutting it (ha!) was during my recent battle with a filet of rainbow trout. As I wrestled with this piece of fish, all I could think about was the high school shop teacher who only had three fingers on one hand. If I wasn’t careful, that was going to be me! Somehow, I don’t envision the Food Network picking up a show called “The Three-Fingered Chef”…I don’t know, something about credibility.

Which is why, after several concerned and frustrated comments from the peanut gallery (“We have GOT to get some better knives!”), the peanut gallery’s birthday yielded some very positive results.

Ta-daa!! Our very own 7-piece set of Wusthof knives!! Holy moly…no onion is safe, no filet is too thick, no spinach leaf left unturned! These. are. amazing. Here’s what’s included:

What's Included

  • 3 1/2″ paring knife – a general purpose knife used for small intricate work like peeling and coring.
  • 6″ utility knife – handles any small-scale kitchen cutting need from chopping to peeling and slicing
  • 8″ chef’s knife – an evolution of the butcher knife, this was originally designed primarily to slice and disjoint large cuts of beef. Today it is the primary general-utility knife for most Western cooks.
  • 8″ bread knife – serrated edge is perfect for slicing through loaves of bread
  • 10″ honing steel – used for aligning metal from the microscopic edge of blades
  • Stainless-steel pull-apart shears
  • 13-slot storage block 

Wusthof 7-Piece Knife Block Set

I’m sure none of you will be shocked to learn that I’ve never heard of this brand before. But after one use – just one carrot sliced – I was completely sold on this product. Slicing through that carrot was like slicing through butter, so smooth and easy with very little effort. My old knife was ridiculous in comparison – I had to saw back and forth to get through that carrot, and put a lot of pressure on the handle to get anything accomplished. Next I tried mincing some green onions. On my favorite food shows, I always see chefs rocking their knife through something like this to get it nice and fine – I’ve mimicked this with my old knife, never producing such graceful results. But with the new knife? I looked – and felt – like a pro!

Wusthof knives are crafted in Solingen, Germany, and this particular set has specially formulated high-carbon-steel blades that keep a nice, sharp edge and resist stains and corrosion. (I have one knife from the Pampered Chef – a gift, of course – that is now speckled with red rust. I have to say that I don’t care much, but it’s kinda gross when I use it to serve others.)

Knives in Action

It’s funny how you can maintain an ideology for so long, and then one day you realize the error of your ways and would never go back. Lesson Learned: sometimes it’s okay to splurge on the nicer things, because the improvement they make in your life really is worth it. I never would have imagined a knife would make such a difference in food prep – but now, I can’t believe I ever managed the things I did with my old one.

I’m not saying you need to go out today and buy a set of these knives. But I do challenge you to look around your kitchen and ask yourself, “What would make my job easier?” What have you deprived yourself of that could lessen the work load in the kitchen and make cooking less of a chore and more fun?

We could all use a little more fun in our lives – and if that means you get a new kitchen toy out of the deal, all the better!

Happy food prepping!


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2 Responses to “That’s Not a Knife…THIS is a Knife!”

  1. Rachel says:

    yes, we learned the greatness of GOOD knives when my brother sold CUTCO for awhile. SO expensive, but it does make things a little easier.
    The ONLY reason I know about your brand is b/c they are CUTCO’s leading competitor.
    Happy Chopping, Dicing, etc. to you too!!! (:

  2. Mary says:

    I have cutco also–since 1995–just sent them to be sharpened for the first time–and immediately sliced my finger!!(6 stitches!) Watch out for the bread knife–it didn’t know my finger was meat not bread!!

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