There are what seems to be an endless amount of kitchen gadgets, tools, and devices claiming to make your life easier. You can find anything from an electric dip warmer and pasta-measuring tool to a specialized asparagus peeler and an avocado slicer. I like my VitaMix and Food Processor like anybody else, but if you ask me what would be the ultimate tool in the kitchen, the answer is straightforward. You cannot do much without a knife. Having a good kitchen knife is a big part of your success with healthy meal preparation. I am not talking about those “smart and lean” frozen meals, which are destined to be completely destroyed by a microwave. Those have nothing to do with healthy eating. Fixing food from scratch will always be a better way.
If you have a bad knife you will struggle and avoid fixing even a simple salad. That is why I would encourage you to spend some time and money getting two good knives: one Chef’s knife and one paring knife. Later you can expand and add a slicing knife and a bread knife to your collection. It is nice to have these types of knives as well, but you can live without them.
A Chef’s or Cook’s knife is a large knife commonly used to cut almost everything. You can do it all: mince herbs, dice tomatoes, slice carrots, or carve a melon. I prefer my Chef’s knife to be a bit heavy. The weight of the knife can save your energy while cutting, as you do not have to apply as much pressure with every slice. The knife “goes into” your fruits and veggies almost by itself under its own weight. A slightly heavy knife will also help you cut hard objects like a butternut squash with better precision. A slightly heavy Chef’s knife will not move to one side as you cut into something hard, which is very common with lighter slicing knives.
A paring knife is usually used without a cutting board. It’s used in the hands to peel as well as to cut fruits and veggies, which is difficult to do with a big Chef’s knife. However, I use my paring knives to cut with a cutting board all the time. There are many different types of paring knives and they vary in size and weight just like any other type of knife. I have recently gotten a parking knife called a “bird’s beak”. Its blade is slightly curved to resemble a bird’s beak. I have been enjoying it very much. It is perfect for peeling onions and other round vegetables and fruits.
1. Cutco Bird’s Beak Paring knife
To choose a good knife go a store where you can hold them if you have a chance. Selecting a knife online will not give you the possibility to feel it in your hands. The handle should be big or small enough for your hand so that you can comfortably hold it for a long time.
When working with a knife make sure it is sharp. A dull knife is more likely to cut you because you have to push harder and it tends to slide off the food you are cutting.
2. Messermeister San Moritz Elite Chef’s
3. Wasabi Japanese Slicing Knife
My absolute favorite couple of knives are the German Messermeister San Moritz Elite Chef’s and Wasabi Japanese Slicing Knife. I have been using the German knife every day for a few years now. Wasabi Slicing knife came into my life recently. The blade of the German Chef’s knife is thicker compare to the Japanese Slicing knife. I do not usually need the ultra thin slices you can achieve with a razor sharp Japanese knife. But it is very nice to have this possibility. I found that I like using the Wasabi Slicing Japanese knife for cutting tomatoes, oranges, a roll of sushi (of course) or anything else that is juicy, gentle or can easily be squished. Overall I prefer a German Chef’s knife to the Wasabi Japanese knife because you can do so much more with the German knife. The Japanese knife is absolutely fantastic but for a smaller amount of tasks.
Before I was lucky enough to acquire the wonderful Messermeister and Wasabi knives I used Farberware Pro Stainless Steel Santoku Knife. I have to admit that this inexpensive knife served me very well for a number of years. It is very light with a thin blade. At some point the blade chipped. After all it was only a $10 purchase.
Here are my other favorite paring knives: J. A. Henckels International and Japanese Sho. The J. A. Henckels International paring knife has a very comfortable handle. The Japanese Sho paring knife is also very comfortable and the longest paring knife I have. I use it not only for paring and peeling, but for cutting as well. Its medium size is perfect for many small tasks such as slicing a cucumber for a quick snack. I can peel and then cut right away without switching knives.
4. J. A. Henckels International Paring Knife
5. Japanese Sho Paring Knife
I cannot find the link to this knife anywhere. If you know where to find it online, please let me know!
Whatever knife you have keep using it to cut healthy foods like veggies, fruits, nuts, good breads, and pies!