Kitchen knives

The more cooking I do the more fussy I get about kitchen equipment and Christmas brought home to me the need for good knives. We’ve had plenty over the years but I’ve never really been happy with any of them. The most recent acquisition was made in Rome a couple of years back when we bought the “multiple stab wounds guy”. He’s fun but it stands to reason that the knives in such a set are not likely to be high quality and they weren’t. I’ve casually glanced at knives whenever in a shop that sells them and the prices for good ones are high, upwards of 250 PLN each and I’ve been reluctant to splash out. However, spurred on by my own Christmas dinner dissatisfaction I went hunting yesterday and I think I stumbled across a bargain.

I went to Makro to look at some knives I’d seen in there that were suggesting they were professional quality but it seems they are supposed to be purchased at a discount using their equivalent of Green Shield Stamps, which I don’t have, but hanging on the end of a different aisle I saw a collection of Richardson Sheffield R-Vision knives at what seemed like silly low prices. I bought a set of five leaving out the bread knife as we have enough good ones of those.

Having had a chance to play with them they appear to be everything I want – very well made, great balance in the hand, collection of useful shapes and sizes and incredibly sharp. Also, having checked the prices elsewhere it does seem I paid less than half what you would pay elsewhere. What I paid 62 PLN for is for sale on a Polish website for 165 PLN and what I paid 30 PLN for are for sale at 95 PLN. I don’t know if Makro just want to get rid of them or if they made a mistake with the pricing but hey, who cares!

I did toy with the idea of ceramic knives but the prices are crazy and having read a lot about them they are clearly not everlastingly sharp and when you do need to sharpen them you’ve got a problem. Because the material they are made from is super hard, the reason they stay sharp longer, the only way to sharpen them is using diamonds wielded by Thorin Oakenshield and his mates. I decided not to bother.

I’ve kept the stabbed guy as a holder.

Another kitchen tip is cutting boards. It is bad news to cut things on our granite work surface as it will dull the knife edges. Also not a good idea, nor does it feel right, to cut on those colourful and hygienic glass cutting boards, of which we now (thanks to Santa Claus) have two looking for a use. I’ve tried big wooden ones, like the one from Ikea I wrote about earlier but the larger they are the more they curl up. I’ve seen a few wooden composite boards that I’m sure would hold their shape better but they were all over 1,000 PLN, which is silly. Recently though I found a range called “BernOnTable” that I’m happy with. It looks like one guy who chops up bits of trees and makes chopping boards, each with an individual shape and colour. I got a small one and then another medium sized. Their large ones also curl so I’m avoiding them. You can buy them in Red Onion and the medium sized one, darker one in photos, was about 165 PLN.

Richardson Sheffield R-Vision

Richardson Sheffield R-Vision

The stabbed man

The stabbed man

Boards and knives in natural habitat!

Boards and knives in natural habitat!

Knife and chopping board

Knife and chopping board

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5 thoughts on “Kitchen knives

  1. Paula and I bought a large plastic cutting board awhile back (from Makro) to accompany the wooden cutting board as you aren’t supposed to cut stuff like chicken (salmonella) on the wooden boards. The plastic board has little rubber feet so it doesn’t slide around. I don’t remember where we got the wooden cutting board we currently have, although it was probably from Makro. The current wooden cutting board is fine but we’ve generally had terrible luck with them warping fairly quickly.

    We happen to like knives by Fiskars but you need to be careful about not washing them in the dishwasher – although this is generally good advice anyway. Tescoma has also sold us a few good knives – their bread knife in particular is still going strong after about eight years.

    I also like Benchmade’s field sharpener – I picked mine up when I was still working for them in Oregon – for sharpening knives. http://www.benchmade.com/products/983902X

  2. I use a traditional steel for sharpening and it works pretty well. Yours look handy too. I actually bought a couple of Fiskars products at the same time, a peeling gadget and a small curved peeling knife. Also have a large Fiskars knife in the drawer and it’s pretty good, mostly gets an outing for pineapples for some strange reason.

  3. my last addition was one of those sodoku knives. I can’t believe what a difference it makes and how much easier all goes with the correct and better weapons of choice in the kitchen. Makes you actually want to cook up a storm.

  4. BTW one of my favorite knives that I bought at the State Fair couple decades ago was an all around knife that was supposed to cut through anything, frozen or steel. It kind of looks like a long bread knife with serrated blade. Only paid 10.00 for it and has a life time guarantee. Still sharp after all these years. I’d say I got my money’s worth.

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