Knives and Their Most Basic Uses
Paring ...a small knife to hold in your hand as an extension of your fingers, enabling you to do fine work such as peeling, garnishing, etc. Not a good choice for board work. Two kinds, one has a straight edge, and the other has a curved tip which is really great for peeling small foods and for garnishing, etc.
Utility knife...a knife with a longer blade than a paring knife but still small enough to do hand work rather than board work. Also dubs as a steak knife, picnic knife, etc.
Filet Knife...a longer blade than a pairing knife and has a curved blade and a bit of flex in the blade, so that it is perfect for cutting around bones, etc. I use this a lot for prepping meats for cooking, deboning chicken and etc.
Chefs Knife...the classic chopping and dicing knife and suitable for all board work. Has a thick blade and the handle is designed so that there is room for your hand and fingers for chopping. The whole blade can be used in one cut or chop, if necessary. Not suitable for hand work or for thin slicing. When they are well used and getting a little curvy from years of sharpening, it may be time to replace it as one has a hard time using a sway back chef knife.
Santoku...a classic knife that is wonderful for both a slicer and a chopper. It looks a bit like a cleaver, but has chef knife qualities. Use this fine style knife for dicing and chopping, as well as for slicing roasts and such.
Slicer...a long and thin blade, great for slicing meats, turkey, vegetables, etc. into neat slices, etc. Do not use for chopping and hard items, as the blade is intentionally thin for ease in slicing.
Bread knife...has deep serrated or scalloped edges and should be used for soft foods only, such as breads, cakes, tomatoes, etc. Try not to let family members use this one for hard vegetables or meats as the edges can get damaged. There is nothing quite like a wonderful bread knife in the kitchen.
Tomato / Cheese Knife...has a serrated edge and hopefully some holes in the blade so that the cheeses do not adhere to the blade when slicing, etc. Great for all soft items you wish to slice thinly, such as the cheeses, tomatoes, peaches, more.
There are other style of knives that are useful, but these are the ones I find most helpful.
Recipe created 1998-07-18.
© 1996-2013 Dorothy McNett. All Rights Reserved.