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Old 02-15-2010, 10:09 AM   #1
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Do I need a 7" knife?

I've recently started getting into serious cooking.
I love home cooked meals but my wife prefers take-out over cooking so it's become a necessity for me to get into the kitchen.
As timing would have it, last month's GQ magazine had an interesting article:
GQ Cooks: Eat + Drink: GQ

Regarding kitchen basics. One thing that caught my eye was their recommendation of a Wusthof Santoku knife. It looks like my choices are a 5" and 7".
I would think the 5" would be more useful, but at a hundred bucks a pop, I'd like to make sure I get one that wouldn't limit me.

So, the question is - is a 7" knife more useful than a 5"? Will I tend to reach for a 5" more if given the choice? Or will the 7" cover my needs for everything?

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Old 02-15-2010, 10:15 AM   #2
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I'm not experienced with that style of knife, but with a traditional chef's knife, I find an eight inch knife to be infinitely more usable than a ten inch. In the end, it's all about what you're comfortable with.
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Old 02-15-2010, 10:22 AM   #3
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I looked through the 10 tips you linked and didn't see anything about a knife.

Anyway, why do you think you need a santoku? What do you have for other knives? I have two chef's knives - a 6" and an 8" and no santokus.
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Old 02-15-2010, 10:46 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M. View Post
I looked through the 10 tips you linked and didn't see anything about a knife.

Anyway, why do you think you need a santoku? What do you have for other knives? I have two chef's knives - a 6" and an 8" and no santokus.
Hmm...I guess the bit about the knife was just in the print magazine.
Under the heading "The Five Tools You'll Need Constantly" they list a fish spatula, metal tongs, microplane grater, metal whisk and finally, a Santoku knife. "Knifemaker Wusthof's best seller in the company's history. Good for every task in the kitchen," it says.

To answer your other question, though...just a hodgepodge of kitchen utensils bought over the years. I actually like the 5" Rachel Ray (made by Furi) knife I have but it's not an expensive one. I'm just looking to get a quality kitchen knife.
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Old 02-15-2010, 10:56 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ElectricPotato View Post
Hmm...I guess the bit about the knife was just in the print magazine.
Under the heading "The Five Tools You'll Need Constantly" they list a fish spatula, metal tongs, microplane grater, metal whisk and finally, a Santoku knife. "Knifemaker Wusthof's best seller in the company's history. Good for every task in the kitchen," it says.

To answer your other question, though...just a hodgepodge of kitchen utensils bought over the years. I actually like the 5" Rachel Ray (made by Furi) knife I have but it's not an expensive one. I'm just looking to get a quality kitchen knife.
OK. First of all, I have lived a long time without a fish spatula or a santoku.

If you fry a lot of long fish filets in a skillet, a fish spatula might be a good tool to have. I use regular spatulas.

There is a lot of debate over whether a chef's knife or a santoku is the better choice. What you have to do is go to a kitchen store and handle both to decide which is better for you. The chef's knife will probably be heavier than the santoku.

A forged blade chef's knife is sturdier so can be used to chop through small bones as well as doing all the chopping and slicing you will ever need. The same goes for the santoku except it's probably not hefty enough to regularly chop through bones.

I recommend you don't go by a magazine article that tells you what you should own when they don't know you, what you already have or how you cook.
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Old 02-15-2010, 11:03 AM   #6
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Take a few minutes to scan through our knives forum to see some great info on types of knives and their benefits.
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Old 02-15-2010, 11:10 AM   #7
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If your cutting surface / boards are large enough I'd go with the 7". For breaking down large pieces like 5 pound slabs of pastrami, I use a heavy 290 - 300 mm (~12") forged chef's knife.on a 18" x 24" x 2.25" cutting board.
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Old 02-15-2010, 03:15 PM   #8
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First of all, before you buy any knife, I would look around to see if there is a local knife skills class you could sign up for. When I teach classes like that, I try to have several different kinds of knives available for folks like you to try.

Rachael Ray uses and promotes Santokus, hence, many neophyte cooks think that is what they "should" have, and maybe that is right, but trying a few before you invest in a knife is a good idea.

Personally, I only own and use 10-inch chefs knives. (I have 3). My sister prefers a 7-inch Santoku, which I find completely awkward.

Whichever knife you choose, the knife needs to feel like an extension of your arm. In a knife skills class you will be taught the correct way to HOLD the knife so that it CAN feel like an extension of your arm.
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Old 02-15-2010, 03:56 PM   #9
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And you can get quality knives for a lot less money.
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Old 02-15-2010, 04:44 PM   #10
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If I were in your position, I would take Andy's advice and look at the knife threads here. Junes advice and enroll in a knife skills class if one is available, and Grillin's advice and look further at what is available in the hundred dollar range. From your reading of GQ, I am assuming you are male, and therefore have larger hand and knife weight is not an issue. A 5" santoku would not be my first choice.
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