The Knife

The Knife - A good knife (kind of like a good wife) can make a happy life.  But, choosing a good knife can be a little more complicated.

Hopefully, I can help simplify the process for you.

Many people ask me "what is the best knife to buy?"  there is no simple answer to this question, as it is a very individual process.  I am going to focus on the "workhorse" of knives; the chef knife.  This is a great knife to start your collection with as it is suitable for about 80% of your jobs!

Here are three things you should consider:

1.  Weight - When picking a knife, think of it as an extension of your hand.  Grasp the knife as if you are shaking someone's hand.  It shouldn't be too heavy, nor too light.  Place your index finger on one side of the knife and your thumb on the other side (right where the blade and handle meet) as if you are pinching the knife.  Gently grip the knife with the rest of your fingers.  Your grip should be light but firm.  It should be comfortable and easy to handle.

2.  Balance - A balanced knife will not tip when balanced with one finger where the handle meets the blade.  When a knife is well balanced, you can work for hours chopping, slicing and mincing and your wrist won't feel tired or sore.  Generally, look for a wood handle, as plastic tends to be too light and metal tends to be too heavy.  Again, this is just a suggestion to get you started.

3.  Size - It is important to pick a knife that fits your hand (larger hand, larger knife).  There are several sizes of chef knives, 6", 8", 10", etc.  I have small hands, so I love my 6" knife.  You may need a 10".  This rule is not hard and fast, you may have large hands and love a 6" knife.  It's just a guideline.

Once you've selected a knife you love, you must keep it sharp. A sharp knife makes chopping and slicing easier and it is actually much safer to work with, as you are not using as much force when working.  Find a good sharpening service.  There are several that will come right to your home or place of business (if you are a keener and want to pack your knives to work) and sharpen all your blades.

Let's break it down.  Look for a knife with a wood handle where the blade goes all the way into the handle.  Check for weight, balance and size.  Looking to start your set?  Check out places like Big Bend Market.  They can give some expert advice and be sure to "try them on" to find the best match for you.