Originally Posted by ironchef
For the average home cook, I still believe you only REALLY need two knives. When I cook at home, 99% of the time I only use one of these two knives:
8" or 10" Chef's Knife
As long as you invest in a sharpening steel and good quality sharpening stone, you can do pretty much anything and everything with those two knives. Well ok, what about other knives?
Utility Knife: It's basically a shorter Chef's knife. Unless you don't feel comfortable wielding an 8" knife, then this might be better although you'll be handicapped when tackling larger items
Paring Knife: Do regularly make turned vegetables at home? Do you only peel your potatoes or fruits this way? If the answer is no, then you don't need this knife.
I very much agree with you ironchef, but I would make the number 3 and include the paring knife as an essential :) I really feel a lot more comfortable using a short (3"-4") paring knife for tasks like splitting a red chilli in half, taking the guts out of a red pepper and all sorts of other fiddly vegetable tasks where a 8"-10" chef's knife becomes a bit unwieldily IMO (and potentially a bit more dangerous unless you're careful). In fact, what you call paring knives are called "vegetable knives" in Norwegian :)
Oh, and one more tool I really like having around in the kitchen, although not really a knife, are some good shears!
In my block knife-set I would say my only "pointless" knife is a 6" utility knife which I very rarely use (I think the only use it sees is if there's more than one cook in the kitchen and there's a lot of slicing to be done :))
That cleaver of yours looks quite suited for slaughtering a mammoth