Choosing and buying knives is simple right? Not if you are inclined towards them like I am. Over the years I have bought, and had gifted, so many differing blades. And truth is most of them sit unused in a draw.
My father favoured a Global knife, but I just could not get on with its metallic handle. And that’s what you need to pay attention to when buying a knife: you want the grip to fit your hand comfortably, so that it feels snug and well balanced.
I use each of my favourite knives for specific reasons but one stands out in a ‘use me for everything and anything’ kind of way. To find out which, read on…
Small knife – Wusthof
I have two of these but they do more or less the same thing. They’re incredibly useful for popping out tomato stalks, hulling strawberries, topping and tailing gooseberries, and de-stringing beans – otherwise I’m never seen using them to prepare vegetables. In fact, if I’m watching someone cook and they pick up a small-bladed knife to peel a spud or dice an onion, I leave the room.
Sausage knife – Wusthof
When my bloke bought me this serrated sausage knife, I thought what the hell am I gonna do with this? It’s designed for cutting through tough old salami skin (and who knew you needed a specific knife for that?)
Well, I’ve never wielded it at a sausage but let me tell you: this is a wee gem. And it is sharp – very. Whenever something has a very robust skin I reach for this. I use it to peel and slice butternut squash and swedes and yes, dear reader, I have all my fingers intact.
It also makes an amazing screwdriver. Why do I need one of those in the kitchen? There’s a little screw at the business end of my Kitchen-Aid that constantly needs tightening.
Bread knife – Ikea
Have you ever made a great big three or four storey cake that you need a ladder to climb and really dread cutting? Well I don’t, because I have this lovely long-bladed bread knife that ensures the cream doesn’t squish out! Whenever I have a biscuit base or flapjack that needs to be cut rather than torn, I also reach for this.
Oh, I cut bread with it too – it’s great for crusty loaves.
Flat bladed knife – vintage
I have tonnes of these. I use them for everything from buttering bread to getting that last sticky bit out of the jar, and from cutting pastry to chopping potatoes. They make great palette knives as well, for covering cakes and buns with icing or cream cheese. I also have a funny looking version where the blade isn’t fully formed – it’s great for shucking tarts from their tins or peeling eggs.
But if there was some sort of disaster and I was only able to keep one knife with me, I’d choose my very large chopping knife. For years I favoured Wusthof, then one day I went into Ikea, bought a knife and honestly haven’t looked back…
Santoku – Ikea
I fell in love with Ikea’s standard santoku knife a couple of years ago. I bought them when I was I was working in the pub. It’s my complete favourite, used for everything: chopping veg, slicing tomatoes, crushing garlic cloves, fine dicing herbs, cutting cake, levering the lids off tins that have gotten stuck… this may be why I have moved to knives that are much cheaper to replace than Wusthof. Whoops!
So you are welcome to take all the other knives away, but I’ll stick with this big chopper. Thank you.