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Old 07-21-2005, 03:41 PM   #1
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Santoku...where did it come from???

A friend of mine, for whom i haven't seen in years, had just came over and started antagonizing me about the way i cook.
What he was getting at is the Santoku knife i was using, and asked if i remembered doing the same to him 15 years ago.
Then finally, i did remember because he was the first person i had ever seen use a santoku knife and wondered how in the heck he had come accustomed to using it?
Well, his family is from Japan, and he told me the true meaning behind why he, and his culture came up with the knife.
First he said that there are many areas of cooking as we all know. But in japan, there are usually "specific" areas cooks go, but the different areas of the kitchen determines what knife to use.
My friend grew up being a cook, but in many different areas and when he 14 y/o his family handed down one, of the many knife sets they inherited over the years to pass down as well. His set included a santoku, honsuki, and paring knife because this was all he was supposed to need in his style of cooking.
Anyway, he explained that because he more "multi-tasked" while cooking, the santoku was given to him because of it's meaning of "three parts" intended for cutting meat, fish, and vegetables, without having enough time to change knives often, because you were too busy. He really didn't give a description on the history or meaning of the others, (or the honsuki) and we all know what a paring knife is for, but i thought it would be interesting to tell ya'll what i just learned today.

Peace

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Old 07-21-2005, 04:56 PM   #2
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Thanks! That's an interesting subject that I had never really looked up. Now Im about to do a search or two since Im thinking of finally giving in and buying myself one.
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Old 07-21-2005, 09:58 PM   #3
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Yeah, my husband had researched and read the same thing when he was researching what type of knife to buy for us. I was skeptical also at first, but now I wouldn't never trade in my knife and can't believe I used the cheap store bought ones for so long!

I do find their reasoning interesting too and if you think about, very accurate.

Thanks for sharing!
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Old 07-22-2005, 12:46 AM   #4
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Does a Santoku have any advantage over a chef's knife? Because it sounds like it can be used for most anything, which is the way I use my chef's knife.
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Old 07-22-2005, 12:09 PM   #5
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Is santoku a brand or type of knife?
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Old 07-22-2005, 12:14 PM   #6
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It's a style of knife, not a brand. Check the link for an example-it's just the first one I could find.

http://www.surlatable.com/common/pro...8431&CGRFNBR=2
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Old 07-22-2005, 12:19 PM   #7
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I thought it was pretty interesting myself, especially the culture side of it. I was also told by my friend, Erik, that there is no translation for this in english, however they don't use steels/stick sharpeners at all in his family for some reason dealing with fear, and beliefs!?

college_cook: I, as well as Erik, honestly do think it has an advantage. With less of a curve at the tip of the knife, you rock the blade less.
Then, if you are cutting an item larger than usual, the blade angle of a santoku's tip will grab the board, giving you a sort of leverage, as a chef's knife angle would have to be near perpendicular to do the same.
And yes, some use santoku's for everything.

There WILL be many that agree to disagree this subject of my interpretation of the last 17 years, and my friends in his culture. Weather a Chef's or Santoku is used, it is solely up to the individual person, and what feels right/comfortable in his or her hand, as well as in his or her style of cooking.

peace
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Old 07-22-2005, 01:17 PM   #8
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I hardly ever use my chef's knife anymore - it's Santaku for most everything. When there are many people prepping for something at the house they are very happy with a chef's knife as I'm not sharing my Santaku
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Old 07-28-2005, 09:21 PM   #9
 
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Put on your hip waders and a raincoat . . . *G*

Anyone even vaguely familiar with Japanese culture/history knows that the Japanese have a tradition of copying, reverse-engineering, "knocking off" sucessful designs from any and everywhere.

Crucial design elements from the Russian MIG aircraft show up in the Japanese Zero. Early Japanese computers look suspiciously like the stuff coming out of Intel . . .

The "Santoku" is an 8" French Chef.

Don't buy a blade with a "scalllop" or "serrated" etc. You want a straight edge on a balanced blade. Don't fall for any of the "hollow ground" crapola either.

8" French -- You can go 6" to 10" just fine, but the 8" French will do ya for most stuff in the kitchen.

That and a paring knife -- straight edge, sharp.

You need to bone or butcher, we can get into specialized blades for you.

But you don't need no stinkin' Santoku.
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Old 07-29-2005, 11:39 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daphne duLibre
Anyone even vaguely familiar with Japanese culture/history knows that the Japanese have a tradition of copying, reverse-engineering, "knocking off" sucessful designs from any and everywhere.

The "Santoku" is an 8" French Chef.
This is where i agree to disagree.....First, who doesn't try to "Copy, reverse-engineer, or knock off" another product to "try" to better it or make it cost effective?
I know i have!

And history, or Japanese culture will tell you that way back when swords were the preferred method in war, the Japanese were on top with design, sharpness, and blade retention. In figuring how that was possible, is with the old forging process they used. By this process the Japanese were the true makers of "Damascuss" style blades, or what they call "Hada" and are still the best in my eyes today (however, very expensive)!

A Santoku is NOT a "French Chef" or commonly known as a "Chefs knife" at all! Even watching Julia Child in the 70's with her "French Chefs" knife and her referring to it that way as well, was not in any way, shape, or form, a Santoku. Americans dropped the "French" pre-fix to the French Chef knife, and just started calling it a Chef's knife as i recall (and started cooking) in the 80's.

Lastly, a Sclloped edge does work. When you cut larger items it almost seems like it suctions to your knife, right? In the same sense however, if you have kids and they get a hold of a suction cup, they stick it on the fridge, oven, or anything with a flat or enamel surface. When they figure out it doesn't stick on a grout line in the bathroom, it's a pretty fascinating thing to them, isn't it? No, not all scalloped knives are/work the same. But yes, well engineered ones do.

Peace
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