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Old 12-05-2008, 09:30 AM   #1
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Knife set for X-Mas

My daughter is asking for new knives for Christmas. She is not a foodie, she would not benefit from anything exotic, not is a lot fo $$ in my budget. She does not need a large ste of knives.

Would anyone have any suggestions along those lines?

Thank You

AC

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Old 12-05-2008, 09:34 AM   #2
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I have never used them, but Chicago Cutlery is a well know inexpensive brand name that a lot of people seem to like.
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Old 12-05-2008, 09:37 AM   #3
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I would just buy the essentials: Chef and/or santoku, paring, bread, utility, boning. In that order of importance. Any forged brand name will do.

IMHO.

Edit: Maybe one of those orange Rachel Ray jobs.
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Old 12-05-2008, 12:25 PM   #4
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Edit: Maybe one of those orange Rachel Ray jobs.
I'm no chef, far from it, but I got a set of the Rachel Ray knives (Furi) and after getting them sharpened, I like them just fine-I've got the scarred fingers to prove it!!

Bonus, you can always add to the basic set as your needs grow.
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Old 12-05-2008, 07:10 PM   #5
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Check out these Cuisinart knives:

http://www.amazon.com/Cuisinart-14-Piece-Triple-Riveted-Forged-Santoku/dp/B0002TU4ZA/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=kitchen&qid=1228521084&sr=1-2

For the price, they are great knives. I have two knive sets which are used every day in my home - a set of Wusthofs (priced at about $350) which are my personal knives that nobody else is allowed to use, and a set of these Cuisinart knives which are used by our cook, my family and guests.

We've had the Cuisinarts for over three years and they receive very heavy use (and abuse). They aren't of the same quality as the Wusthofs, but they've held up fine, keep a decent edge, and are attractive and well-balanced. I can recommend them without reservation.
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Old 12-05-2008, 07:20 PM   #6
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I have never used them, but Chicago Cutlery is a well know inexpensive brand name that a lot of people seem to like.
I use them, and would not recommend the new, made in China ones. I stick with the older CC. made in the USA. Better steel. I get them in thrift stores.
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Old 12-05-2008, 07:54 PM   #7
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My brother-in-law loves Chicago Cutlery Onyx knives.
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Old 12-06-2008, 02:41 AM   #8
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The simple things first.
1) Set a budget.
2) Remember that you get significant savings buying knives as a set rather than individually.
3) Get the set with the fewest knives in your price range. A few good knives will be much better than a large set of poor knives.
4) As a chef I use 4 knives almost exclusively, being a chef's knife, a bread knife, a paring knife and a boning knife. I have another half dozen knives but they don't see light of day very often, and I've worked in jobs where I haven't used the bread knife.
5) Only do it on the condition that your daughter learns how to hone (use a steel) and sharpen (use a stone or something similar) the knives. If she doesn't take care of the knives they'll be blunt and useless in no time flat.
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Old 12-06-2008, 07:46 AM   #9
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The simple things first.
5) Only do it on the condition that your daughter learns how to hone (use a steel) and sharpen (use a stone or something similar) the knives. If she doesn't take care of the knives they'll be blunt and useless in no time flat.
I disagree with this statement. As the OP stated, his daughter is not a foodie so someone who cooks for enjoyment. She is just like the majority of people in this country who cook because they have to. For these people, their knives will not be taken care of the way someone who cares would take care of them. While it would be great for them and their knives if they learned things like honing, it should not be a condition of giving a gift of knives. Yes the knives will not cut well after a little while if they do not hone them, but lets be honest here. I think it would be safe to say that 90% of people in the US do not know how to hone their knifes let alone do it. That does not mean they should not own knives.
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Old 12-06-2008, 08:02 AM   #10
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The Forschner knives-- either the Fribrox (textured plastic handle) or the slightly more expensive rose wood handled versions. The Fbribox handle knives frequently are the recommended knives from Cooks Illustrated with good reason. They are light, comfortable for most people, will take a good edge, and aren't terribly expensive. You could assemble the most used knives and a separate storage system, a block, knife roll , or magnetic bar to complete the set. If budget allows(and if not, there's always next Christmas) I'd add a Chef's Choice electric sharpener.....then they'll always be sharp.
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Old 12-06-2008, 08:35 AM   #11
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I disagree with this statement. As the OP stated, his daughter is not a foodie so someone who cooks for enjoyment. She is just like the majority of people in this country who cook because they have to. For these people, their knives will not be taken care of the way someone who cares would take care of them. While it would be great for them and their knives if they learned things like honing, it should not be a condition of giving a gift of knives. Yes the knives will not cut well after a little while if they do not hone them, but lets be honest here. I think it would be safe to say that 90% of people in the US do not know how to hone their knifes let alone do it. That does not mean they should not own knives.
Actually, I agree with both of you. It's important to keep your knives sharp, but most people don't know how to use hones and stones. However, there's a solution.

There are lots of sharpening systems and gadgets for sharpening knives. Unfortunately, most of the decent sharpening systems are expensive and complicated and most of the inexpensive gadgets for sharpening knives either don't work very well or damage the blade.

The notable exception is the Lansky Turn Box ceramic rod sharpening system. It's inexpensive, easy to use, and will properly maintain a good edge on almost any knive. I highly recommend them. Here's the product link on Amazon: Amazon.com: Lansky 4-rod Turn Box Crock Stick Sharpener (LCD5D): Sports & Outdoors . If you aren't familiar with them, read the user reviews on Amazon.

Also, there are several demonstration videos on YouTube showing how to use them. Here's one:
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Old 12-06-2008, 08:42 AM   #12
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I disagree with this statement. As the OP stated, his daughter is not a foodie so someone who cooks for enjoyment. She is just like the majority of people in this country who cook because they have to. For these people, their knives will not be taken care of the way someone who cares would take care of them. While it would be great for them and their knives if they learned things like honing, it should not be a condition of giving a gift of knives. Yes the knives will not cut well after a little while if they do not hone them, but lets be honest here. I think it would be safe to say that 90% of people in the US do not know how to hone their knifes let alone do it. That does not mean they should not own knives.
That being the case (if it is) she would be best off with a few inexpensive Chinese made serrated dishwasher safe stainless steel knives because under your description of the "majority" they would be just as well off using butter knives.
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Old 12-06-2008, 08:42 AM   #13
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That Lansky system (which I owned and liked) is a sharpener. It is not a hone.

The thing I am trying to point out is that for the majority of people, they do not care enough to take care of their knives. If they cared then I would agree that they should be honing. I hone my knives before ever single use. Before I cared about cooking and my cooking tools, I had a knife set that probably cost $20. I treated the knives horribly. They did what I needed them to do though and if you ever told me I needed to hone them before each use (no matter how easy and quick it is) I would have said forget it I will go out to eat instead. The person the OP is buying for sounds like she is not into cooking at all. Will she really take the time to take care of tools she does not care about?
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Old 12-06-2008, 08:44 AM   #14
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That being the case (if it is) she would be best off with a few inexpensive Chinese made serrated dishwasher safe stainless steel knives because under your description of the "majority" they would be just as well off using butter knives.
I don't disagree with this. Maybe something like a Ginsu knife would not be out of the question. I would never in a million years use one in my kitchen, but I have different needs for my kitchen knives then the OP's daughter.
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Old 12-06-2008, 08:48 AM   #15
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I like the Cuisinart set and will probably order that as it is in my price range. Thank You FincaPerlatis.

My daughter is not one who does not care for her things. The knives that she has are most likely a hodge podge gathered over 20 years of marriage. Most likely one at a time. I have a really cheap knfe that I like a lot and cannot sharpen it to save my soul. I can keep my Henkles just fine. We (my daughter and me) are blessed with a kind of special relationship and I know that these will be more than just knives. Besides, if she manages to dull them, I can visit them and sharpen them for her, that is not such a bad thing.

AC
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Old 12-06-2008, 11:14 AM   #16
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Huh??? For the life of me I can't figure out what I said in my suggestion that made you think I was implying anything about your daughter, her habits, or your relationship with her. Forschner's are inexpensive work-a-day knives that do work. It's not just a cheap knife. As a system, with a electric sharpener it's incredibly easy for someone who's not a hobbyist to always have a good sharp knife with a minimum of fuss.
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Old 12-06-2008, 11:38 AM   #17
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We (my daughter and me) are blessed with a kind of special relationship and I know that these will be more than just knives. Besides, if she manages to dull them, I can visit them and sharpen them for her, that is not such a bad thing.

AC
Ditto. I have the same kind of relationship with my daughter, very close, and very special. I've given her some knives that need specialized attention. She has been taught to keep the edges going with a borosilicate steel (picture), but when it comes to resharpening, that is Dad's responsibility until she and/or her husband learns the art.



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Old 12-06-2008, 11:50 AM   #18
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I think your daughter will really like the Cuisinart knives. In my opinion, they're better quality than the comparable Chicago Cutlery Centurion knives (I own both) and the price is almost the same.

If you can afford the extra $18, I do recommend that you consider getting the Lansky sharpener. My Cuisinart knives came with a pretty good factory edge, but a light touch up made it much better. If you maintain a good edge on your knives by regular sharpening, it takes almost no time or skill. However, if you let them get dull, it takes much more time and skill to resharpen them.

I don't do any honing of my knives other than a couple of quick strokes with a butcher's steel before use. The steel that comes with the knife set is fine for this purpose.
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Old 12-07-2008, 01:24 AM   #19
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I disagree with this statement. As the OP stated, his daughter is not a foodie so someone who cooks for enjoyment. She is just like the majority of people in this country who cook because they have to. For these people, their knives will not be taken care of the way someone who cares would take care of them. While it would be great for them and their knives if they learned things like honing, it should not be a condition of giving a gift of knives. Yes the knives will not cut well after a little while if they do not hone them, but lets be honest here. I think it would be safe to say that 90% of people in the US do not know how to hone their knifes let alone do it. That does not mean they should not own knives.
I think we're a little at cross-purposes here. For a home cook there are many perfectly acceptable sharpening solutions that require little effort. For professional use you pretty well have to learn to use a stone, but we're not talking that level of dedication.

There's no point buying someone a Ferrari if all they're going to do with it is go down to mall and do the weekly grocery shopping. In a similar vein there's no real point in buying someone a set of expensive knives that requires honing and sharpening to get the best out of if the maintenance work isn't going to be put in.
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Old 12-07-2008, 01:29 AM   #20
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That is my point exactly jpaulg. The OP stated that the person who will be recieving these knives is not a foodie and would not benefit from anything exotic. She is (from what I can tell and please correct me if I am wrong Adillo) an average person who probably occasionally cooks just to feed themselves. She probably will not be interested in treating her knives the way people who get excited over a kitchen knife would. To do along with your car analogy, she just needs a commuter car to get her from point A to point B. She is probably no someone who will care to hone a knife each time she uses it. The majority of people never hone a kitchen knife or even know what that means and has not desire to do so. Why put a condition on a gift for someone if it is not something they want to do?
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