The importance of knives

Any good kitchen needs a selection of knives to be able to function properly. There is no point is setting about trying to fillet a mackerel with a blunt blade. It won’t be sharp enough for a clean cut and you will end up having to hack at it to even make a start at piercing he skin and you will end up with a ragged torn strip of fish.

Over the years we have built up an odd selection of kinves. the most recent addition are two stumpy wooden handled Opinel Inox knives. They were a gift from my sister Anne-Marie have have quickly developed into our daily work horses. Regularly sharpened they are keen enough to quickly cut through the skin of a tomato, slice onions and garlic  and make light work with meat and fish.

When not on the chopping board the knives live  in a knife block next to the basket of oils. There re one or two in there that hardly make it out.

My favourite knive is a long steel blade that I stole from my mother when I left home. I can remember as a boy taking out into the garden to peel the bark from pieces of wood I was trying to turn into bows and arrows. It can be made ferociously sharp when it will make light work of anything I put it to. It needs a certain amount of respect shown to it and periodically the kids will be astonished by my yelping as I take another small slice of skin off the top of a finger and I hold my hand high in the air to try and reduce the flow of red blood. The blade itself is stained and pock marked with age – it must be at least fifty years old.


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