A Great Kitchen Knife

2014-01-29 — 7 Comments
Art by Nancy Gail Ring although this painting is of a paring knife  her work of art sends me to summertime

Art by Nancy Gail Ring
while my post is about a chef’s knife and this is of a paring knife
Nancy’s work of art sends me to summer and I wanted to share it

Having at least one quality chef’s knife is essential for any home cook. And once we have one, let’s remember and practice these important safety tips.

Never Put It Down.

Okay, sure we occasionally have to put it down to answer the door or stir a pot and the knife will be left [as in these paintings by Artists Nancy Gail Ring and Patrick O’Driscoll]. In these instances we leave the knife on the cutting board where we’re working and return to it promptly. If there are children in the home, push the board and knife back from the edge of the counter and let’s teach them to respect our working area.

Art by Patrick O'Driscoll

Art by Patrick O’Driscoll

A quality knife is a terrific tool, but it can be a risk if left on the counter or dropped into soapy water. I like to give my kitchen knives the O.H.I.O. treatment: Only Handle It Once. I hold onto it for chopping, julienning, dicing, mincing and crushing, and when I’m finished I clean, dry and store it immediately. It’s a good habit. I encourage you to make it yours too.

Another tip that I find really helpful with utilizing my kitchen knife is something I learned from chef Alton Brown. Here’s his one short comment that really stayed with me as I mulled over the implied riddle, and then I understood it!

“Any knife works best when going in two directions at once.” ~ Alton Brown

See what I mean? Seems like a riddle, doesn’t it? That is until you hold this sentence in mind while using your kitchen knife to break down a large butternut squash or whole roast into cubes for example. Applying firm pressure while moving both down and forward, or down and backward, is an excellent way to use a knife. It’s utilizing force and momentum to the best advantage. If you don’t already think about this as you use your knife, give it some attention and you’ll see why Alton’s tip is a good one.

Also, here’s a Good Eats one minute video with Alton Brown on why Happiness Is A Sharp Knife, as well as a pdf from chef Jamie Oliver on knife safety. This post is my celebration of owning and caring for at least one excellent kitchen knife. Spend for the highest quality you can afford because a well-crafted knife is an excellent investment. Chef’s knives of quality that are well cared for become heirlooms. And taking care of my well-appreciated knife helps me spend joyful time in my kitchen peacefully.

Knife safety Jamieshomecookingskills 700

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7 responses to A Great Kitchen Knife


    Great post, Gina. I am in such accord with this. We actually have several really good knives (Henkels) that we adore. Good knives are so important for the wonderful job of preparing food!


      Thanks Cathy! I’m so glad you enjoyed this and know where I was going :). They help us do the job right, don’t they? Joy up – stress down! Your wonderful comments mean so much, my friend. Thank you again. Cheers, Gina


    Ha, my first thought with the “never put it down” and then talking about answering the door was this awful and hilarious image of someone answering the door, chef knife in hand. “They told me not to put it down” as the person at the door goes running away screaming! 🙂

    And I love the O.H.I.O Treatment. We do that here too. Great post Gina full of really helpful tips and information!



      Oh man, you made me laugh in seeing how I put that now. Ah, I never proclaimed to be a good writer 😉 just a cheerful peaceful person. Maybe I’ll add that as a disclaimer “No, wait! I mean PUT THE KNIFE down… before answering the door”. Ya screaming guests are not so good for keeping joy up and stress down! LOL 😀
      Thanks so much for visiting and commenting Kenley. Great to have you here. Cheers, Gina


    Thanks so much for including a link of mine in your wonderful week review J! You rock. 😀

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

  1. Outstanding Onions | People Excited About Co~Existence - February 10, 2014

    […] or work under a fast-running vent fan. Those all sound good to me! And using a sharp, quality chef’s knife helps as well. Also, try to use them before they grow long sprouts like the front onion in this […]

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