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Old 02-19-2017, 07:01 PM   #1
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Knives

Hey guys. I just got into this cooking experience, and I'm having lots of fun creating new recipes. I know that knives make the cook. What are the best kinds of knives to get that aren't super expensive?

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Old 02-19-2017, 07:41 PM   #2
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People new to cooking tend to go nuts about knives. You really only need a few, and they are kind of a personal thing.

I think a lot of people will agree that you should get a good chef's knife to anchor your knife collection. It is the most versatile. Buy that first.

I have had good luck with Henkel's International series of knives, which are generally made in Spain, instead of Germany, and do a pretty good job for a reasonable price. I've heard really good things about Victorinox knives, but have not used any.

I also have a few really cheap Chicago cutlery knives from an old block set. They are high carbon knives, so they can stain, and need to be maintained, but they take an edge very well.

I bought a Cuisinart chef's knife for my camper, and IMO, it sucks. It feels good in my hand, but I just can't get a good edge on it. It always seems dull.

Anyway, those are the knives I have personal experience with -- except for the Victorinox.

Where knives get personal, is how they feel in your hand. It is totally subjective, but if you do a lot of cutting and chopping, it makes a big difference.

I expect to see a lot of replies in this thread. Knife threads tend to be a post magnet.

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Old 02-19-2017, 07:49 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by msteve14 View Post
Hey guys. I just got into this cooking experience, and I'm having lots of fun creating new recipes. I know that knives make the cook. What are the best kinds of knives to get that aren't super expensive?
Just noticed that statement. I can't say I agree. Some others may differ.

Off topic, but the one thing that took MY cooking results up several levels was when I learned about mise en place. Google it. Way more important than good knives, IMO.

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Old 02-19-2017, 07:59 PM   #4
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Americas Test Kitchen tests knives of different types. The Victorinox Forschner chef's and bread knives are always rated at the top. The price can't be beat.

I suggest you go to a cutlery store and handle the knives to be sure the one you buy is comfortable. I recommend you start with the V/F and move up if you feel the need. Victorinox Forschner Knives - Forschner Cutlery & Victorinox Knives | cutleryandmore.com

In addition to chefs and bread knives you should consider a paring knife. These three are considered the basics that you will use the most. You can always add more later.
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Old 02-20-2017, 06:05 AM   #5
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As Andy said, ATK recommends Victorinox knives with the Fibrox handle.

You also need to keep knives sharp. Some opt for a local knife sharpening service, others sharpen them at home. Here's ATK's knife sharpener review, along with another video on knife sharpening:



https://christopherkimball.wordpress...arpening-tips/

I have the Trizor and am quite happy with it.

Another very important tool (more important than knives) is a meat thermometer. A Thermopop from Thermoworks is a great inexpensive choice. I've had a few thermometers, and the Thermopop is the best one I've owned. Very fast.

ThermoPop® Digital Pocket Thermometer from ThermoWorks
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Old 02-20-2017, 06:40 AM   #6
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Willingness to play with your food makes the cook...knives are needed to help you play with your food. Pick knives that fit your hand and are balanced in YOUR hand. As Andy said, a chef's knife, bread knife and paring knife are the basic set, everything else is extra. Don't get a set, you will not use most of the knives in a block set. Build your set up from the basics to specialties.
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Old 02-20-2017, 08:06 AM   #7
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As far as a chef's knife goes, you will definitely need to decide if you want a traditional one with a slightly curved blade, or a santoku. The grip and hand/wrist motion is very different.

My wife prefers a santoku, but I like a curved blade. We have 2 knife blocks on the counter, and I try to grab "my" knives, but when I use a santoku, I have to remind myself to change my grip.
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Old 02-20-2017, 11:54 AM   #8
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Knives

A word of caution about America's Test Kitchen. I don't think those people sharpen their own knives. I think they throw them out when dull like many commercial kitchens these days. So their reviews tend to be largely reviews of the factory edge. Imo, their reviews could be improved by getting someone on board with the skills to hand sharpen an edge (no gadgets).
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Old 02-20-2017, 12:05 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stock Pot View Post
A word of caution about America's Test Kitchen. I don't think those people sharpen their own knives. I think they throw them out when dull like many commercial kitchens these days. So their reviews tend to be largely reviews of the factory edge. Imo, their reviews could be improved by getting someone on board with the skills to hand sharpen an edge (no gadgets).
Interesting. So on what are you basing this statement? Also, I've never heard of any commercial kitchen throwing out knives when they go dull. That makes no sense.
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Old 02-20-2017, 12:17 PM   #10
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Sharpeners

btw, I had seen their knife sharpener review video before and it is a good review of gadgets. But gadgets aren't as good as hand sharpening if for no other reason than the "fine" side of the gadget is still pretty low grit, probably 800 to 1,000 grit equivalent . There is misinformation there, too. They imply that ceramic stones leave a jagged blade. In fact, if you want to get up to a 2,000 or 3,000 grit, ceramic stones or Japanese water stones are about your only choice. Diamond is great up to a point- very fast and aggressive- but I've never seen a diamond stone higher than about 1,000 grit equivalent. If they make them they are probably very expensive.
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Old 02-20-2017, 12:25 PM   #11
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Old 02-20-2017, 12:37 PM   #12
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Quote:
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btw, I had seen their knife sharpener review video before and it is a good review of gadgets. But gadgets aren't as good as hand sharpening if for no other reason than the "fine" side of the gadget is still pretty low grit, probably 800 to 1,000 grit equivalent . There is misinformation there, too. They imply that ceramic stones leave a jagged blade. In fact, if you want to get up to a 2,000 or 3,000 grit, ceramic stones or Japanese water stones are about your only choice. Diamond is great up to a point- very fast and aggressive- but I've never seen a diamond stone higher than about 1,000 grit equivalent. If they make them they are probably very expensive.
You should consider that ATK is aimed at the 99% of people who love to cook that are not knife geeks. The average person who has a good knife will never go to hand sharpening with stones. As a result, the best possible practical solution is what's presented.

I have what I consider to be a good collection of knives that I sharpen myself with manual sharpening kits. They are not the best knives available but hold a nice edge for a long time and make my kitchen life easy.
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Old 02-20-2017, 01:05 PM   #13
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Interesting. So on what are you basing this statement? Also, I've never heard of any commercial kitchen throwing out knives when they go dull. That makes no sense.
I'd like to know, too. I went to culinary school for a couple of months (had to withdraw for medical reasons) and on the first day in the kitchen, we were taught how to sharpen our knives. Professional chefs and cooks are very particular about and proud of their knives. I can't imagine them throwing them out because they get dull.
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Old 02-20-2017, 01:34 PM   #14
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To the original poster. Start with answering simple question, how much do you want to spend? Then with that money buy just two knives, a chef's knife and a paring knife. You can even find sets that sold like that. For sure Wusthof has one like that. There are a lot of good quality knives on the market right now. Just go to a good store, not Target, or Walmart G-d forbid. Go there take the knife, see how it feels in your hand. If it doesn't no matter how great or expensive the knife is it is not going to work for you, and that is most important thing.
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Old 02-20-2017, 03:37 PM   #15
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msteve, your height also can play into the blade length. I'm average height (and getting shorter ). Himself got me a nice chef knife with a 10" blade. Our 6'1" son now has it. I then started to use my Mom's 9" blade...and gave it to our 5'9" tall daughter. I got a nice Dexter-Russell almost-8" one at their warehouse store. It's nice, but the blade isn't as curved as I like. I think I'm done shrinking, so I have my eye on a 6" Wusthof with a well-curved blade.

I guess my point is look around. You can check knives out online, but head to a store to handle them. Sur La Table has a nice selection, are helpful and let you handle everything, and don't give you a hard time if you end up not buying. Just tell them you need to think about it...and think all the way to your computer where you can buy for the best price.
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Old 02-26-2017, 04:21 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Stock Pot View Post
A word of caution about America's Test Kitchen. I don't think those people sharpen their own knives. I think they throw them out when dull like many commercial kitchens these days. So their reviews tend to be largely reviews of the factory edge. Imo, their reviews could be improved by getting someone on board with the skills to hand sharpen an edge (no gadgets).
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M. View Post
You should consider that ATK is aimed at the 99% of people who love to cook that are not knife geeks. The average person who has a good knife will never go to hand sharpening with stones. As a result, the best possible practical solution is what's presented.

I have what I consider to be a good collection of knives that I sharpen myself with manual sharpening kits. They are not the best knives available but hold a nice edge for a long time and make my kitchen life easy.
I've hand sharpened and I've gadget sharpened, and I'll take the gadget any time. I don't have the skill, technique - or really the interest - to put a good edge on by hand. My Chef's Choice does just fine, thank you very much.

My knives are acceptably and functionally sharp. I don't shave with them, so I don't care if I can remove arm hair with them or not. They'll slice and dice just as effectively as any hand sharpened knife, especially any knife that I've hand sharpened.
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Old 02-26-2017, 05:34 PM   #17
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Yesterday, I got a package in the mail. It is my new Victorinox 8-inch chef's knife. I have not used it, yet. It will have its kitchen debut tonight -- lots of veggies to slice and dice.

I will try to remember to come back here and tell you what I think of it.

CD
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Old 03-10-2017, 05:56 PM   #18
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For people who like to cook knives are a personal choice. I don't see a need to buy a complete set of one brand. What I use the most is a 8" chef its old beat up but takes a licking and keeps ticking. The only others I use are paring, boning, bread, and on occasion a carving knife. It's not odd to mix and match brands if it works for you.
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Old 03-10-2017, 07:46 PM   #19
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Yesterday, I got a package in the mail. It is my new Victorinox 8-inch chef's knife. I have not used it, yet. It will have its kitchen debut tonight -- lots of veggies to slice and dice.

I will try to remember to come back here and tell you what I think of it.

CD
I do like my new Victoinox chef's knife. It is very sharp, and feels good in my hand. It weighs less than my old knife, too (which goes into my next garage sale).

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Old 03-10-2017, 08:15 PM   #20
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I do like my new Victoinox chef's knife. It is very sharp, and feels good in my hand. It weighs less than my old knife, too (which goes into my next garage sale).

CD
Glad you like the new knife. Consider keeping the old one for a backup or to take on vacation.
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