Friday, December 7, 2007

Juggling with Knives

My dear friend John and I were struggling through Sur le Table, the schmancy kitchen equipment store in the Ferry Building, today after a fabulous lunch of chopped beef barbecue sandwiches. I know I said I was attempting to eat more healthfully, but I was lying. Shut up. At least I passed on the custard filled Italian doughnuts, because I am filled with virtue. And barbecue.

So anyway, we were considering knives, beautiful German knives, for John to get his boyfriend for Christmas. The choice had come down to an 8 inch chef knife and an almost identical one with a hollow blade, a Santoku. The salesgirl swore it was the best for slicing. I'm very skeptical of specialized equipment, it seems like a solid chef's knife, a serrated one, and a smaller paring blade is plenty, and falling for a knife that specializes in slicing (as opposed to focusing its talents on interpretive danse, I suppose) is just another step along a path that leads to drawers full of dubious purchases. But John was very taken with both (I think he mostly liked saying the word Santoku, with increasing gusto) so he sprang for them. I supported him despite my doubts because what else can you do when you're out shopping but spend money?

John was also interested in another Japanese knife, one with a ceramic blade. The salesgirl was willing to go along with this, not just because it's her job, but because John's charm involves everyone around him in his world, and his world right then included ceramic blades, dammit. She pulled one down and let me tell ya, it was just weird. Knives are simply not supposed to have white blades. The clerk held up a piece of paper for John to slash through, which I thought was very brave of her, but probably only showed how little she sensed John's lack of self control.

He was on his way to a cutlery threeway when the salesgirl casually mentioned that the knife breaks if you drop it. We were both taken aback by the idea of an expensive knife that could take off the tip of your finger, but couldn't stand up to the rough and tumble of kitchen work. We passed.


  1. There's a moral in there, somewhere.

  2. yeah - the moral is easy:

    get your ass some cheap ass knives from target

  3. Oh honey, I can't begin to tell you how much it made me laugh to think of dear John interacting with the sales folk at surly table! And joe, sweetie, cheap ass knives . . . . well.

  4. Only a few days ago there was an entire hour-long program about blades on one of those educational channels where they talked about those ceramic ones. They neglected to mention how fragile they are.

  5. S. Ricko-
    That's what I'm here for sweetie, news you can use.

  6. I think that the Sur La Table person really misled you. Ceramic blades can break or chip but they are not so fragile that any fumble will cause them to shatter. They are not fragile like glass. They are more like high fired porcelain- you have to throw them with a lot of force to get them to break. But my only experience is with the ones from Kyocera. I am not sure if all brands are the same.

    That said, I think that most people would be happier with a 8" chef's knife with a metal blade just because they are more versatile. Santoku blades are trendy (or were) and are great for chopping but not so great for cutting meats, etc.


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