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Kitchen Knives for Every Kitchen

Jan 13, 2008
Any knife used in the preparation of food is the definition of a kitchen knife. And today there are more than a handful of kitchen knives that qualify. There are knives for just about every item of food, or so the cooking shows would have you believe there are.

The Chef's Knife -

To begin with, a chef's knife is a must have for even the novice cook. It's a multi-purpose knife that minces, chops, dices, and slices along with all your other slicing duties. Its possibilities and help in the kitchen are endless. This is a knife you want to keep sharp at all times. Sharpening your knife can be done by hand with a honing stone and oils or water or with an electric or hand-held sharpener.

The Bread Knife -

The bread knife or offset serrated knife is also something one might consider as somewhat of a must have. The serrated edges, or a 'saw-like' blade will cut bread and other delicate food without having them collapse into a pile of crumbs. It's the back and forth motion that helps with the cutting when using a bread or offset serrated knife. Offset serrated knife refers to the handle placement and insures the cook's hands and knuckles will not touch the food while slicing through the food.

Paring and Peeling Knives -

A paring knife and a peeling knife do basically the same thing. A paring knife consists of a simple blade edge and is great for small and intricate work, such as de-veining shrimp or making fancy garnishes. This knife can also be used for peeling things, such as apples or other fruit skins. A peeling knife has a hook or bird's beak at the end and is great for slicing soft fruits or making imaginative garnishes in carrots or tomatoes. There are countless websites and books to teach garnishments with vegetables and fruits, as well as how to use a peeling or paring knife.

Utility Knife -

The utility knife, which is approximately 4 to 7 inches long, is a medium sized knife. However, its thin blade and short length makes it difficult for many of the uses it's built for. The utility knife has been declining in popularity in the past several years and top chefs have touted the use of a combination of a chef's knife and a paring knife instead as the best due for your kitchen cutting needs.

Meat Knives -

In the meat knife division there are a few knives that will cover everything you will need. The carving and slicing knives are similar knives for cutting meat. The carving knife is a huge knife at between 8 and 15 inches long. This knife will cut thin slices of meat such as ham, beef and poultry. The spine of a carving knife is much thinner than a chef's knife and will allow it to carve exact slices. The slicing knife is sometimes serrated and can be more narrow and thinner than the carving knives. They also have a blunt tip and can be more flexible and cut more precisely than the carving knives.

Boning and Fillet Knives -

The boning and fillet knife are similar in that they are both thin, sometimes curved knives that are meant for removing bones - mostly small ones such as those in fish - and filleting fish.

A big, rectangular shaped knife, the meat cleaver is designed to cut large chunks of meat in one slam. It's a thick blade that is between 5 and 6 inches long and very heavy. The heaviness and thickness allows for ease of cutting through bone and joints.

Trimming, fluting and decorative knives are all comparable in size, at approximately 2 to 4 inches in length. They do a lot of the same tasks. From making decorative roses out of tomatoes to peeling vegetables, these knives are very versatile.

Cheese Knives -

Not necessarily a must have, but a nice addition to any collection of kitchen knives is a set of cheese knives. Hard, soft and Parmesan cheese knives do basically the same thing, but each is designed for a specific kind of cheese.

Steak Knives -

Steak knives are usually placed on the table and are a serrated and smaller version of the bread knife, but are a lot tougher in order to handle the meat. Butter knives are also placed on the table and are a wider, thicker version of the steak knives but without the serrated edges.

There are several 'specialty' knives that would only be needed if you use these types of foods. They are the chestnut, oyster, grapefruit, mincing, de-veining, and tourner and tomato knives. Each is built according to the need of the fruit, vegetable or nut it's designed to cut.
About the Author
William "Cole" Doggett is a knife expert and owns an Internet knife shop, Knife & Supply Company, LLC at Pocket Knife | Hunting Knife | SOG Knife. His website is devoted to all things pocket knives, swords, kitchen knives, sharpeners, machetes and a wealth of information. Stop by!
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