Monday, March 16, 2015

My Three Knives

I was at the Home Show recently and passed a knife display. Salesmen were extolling the virtues of their lovely wooden handled sets. Then I heard one of them make a faux pas. At least, I would think it was a foolish thing to say considering they were trying to sell their inventory of knives.

He said, "All you really need are three, just three knives."

I'd heard that before. In fact, there are sites that tell you which are the only three knives you need. Some claim that expert chefs use only a paring knife, a chef's knife and a serrated bread knife. On other sites, three different knives are offered up. I suppose it's personal preference. I have two which I deem essential and use consistently and one other which I use from time to time.

"Where's my little knife?" I bellowed about a week ago. "I need it and it's been missing for days. I can't function without my little knife."

I thought that "little knife" was enough information for anyone who had ever seen me working in the kitchen. My essential paring knife had come home with me from Europe many, many years ago. It was Henckel or Zwilling brand or some combination of those names. Now, it was gone...possibly tossed out inadvertently with a pile of recent peelings.

I searched and I searched. Several other knives were offered to me but of course, they were not my knife. How could someone think I could just use any old knife? I tried to peel and cut using one of the dozens of other utensils in our kitchen drawer. It just didn't work as magically as my little knife. My perfect parer fit my hand as if it had been made for my palm and I loved it.

Finally, after an adequate amount of whining and mourning, I made a decision. I would go out in search of a replacement. It wasn't going to be easy. My knife was special.

I went downtown to the local kitchen shop and stood before the vast locked display case of Henckel knives. I saw none for less than $89.95 with prices ascending into the hundreds of dollars. Disturbing. I proceeded to tell the sales clerk about my knife. How is it possible to describe something so near and dear...such a part of the family?

I was immediately told they had no such knife. I needed to be certain. I began with essential details. I described the front as slightly lunar shaped and the handle as small, black and comfortable. I demonstrated how well it fit into my hand using an imaginary knife. Then I moved my fingers to simulate the metallic curve at the front of it. Suddenly, as I looked hopefully at the clerk, I could see that a lightbulb had gone on. Either that or she thought I was totally crazy. As she turned her back and walked away from the vault of knives my heart sank. Then, all of a sudden, she reached behind the counter and returned carrying this model, identical to my parer!  

"That's it!" I announced joyously, tears forming in my eyes. (Ok, I'm being overly dramatic).

"Actually", she said. "This one's made in China."

 I didn't care. It was close enough. I was overjoyed. Then, I asked the price.

"$6.99", she announced. 

That certainly explained why it wasn't in the padlocked area of knife storage.

"Seriously? I'll take two." I said since I wanted to be sure I was prepared should another mishap ever occur.

My parer has been replaced. My chef's knife which I use for chopping and dicing veggies is safely stashed away. Instead of a bread knife, I use a slightly smaller slicer which could double for carving meat if necessary. Those are all I need. They're my three knives. They are the ones I use almost exclusively.  If I had a choice of only one, however, the decision would be simple. You now know which one I would select.

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