One thing I’ve learned from teaching workshops in other people’s kitchens is the value of a sharp knife. At home, it can be easy to ignore the dullness of a blade because we’re used to the feel of it in our hand. We think, “Oh, I just want to finish cutting this tomato and eat; I’ll sharpen after I clean up” (and then rarely do). When I’m in someone else’s kitchen, and especially if I’m trying to show off neat, clean slices, dullness becomes obvious—and embarrassing if I brought my own knives.
So I started paying more attention to the knives I own and how I treat them. I offer one of my favorites in my recent piece for The Spruce Eats: a Misen Chef’s Knife. I’ve relied on it heavily through canning and teaching, cooking and testing, for the last 18 months, and I still can’t believe how sharp it was out of the box and how easy it is to keep sharp. I’m such a fan of this knife that I gifted it (and its smaller sibling, the paring knife) to family last Christmas, along with ceramic honing rods for continual sharpness.
Learn more about why I love this knife in this article.
Twice as Tasty
Don’t misunderstand: Misen’s knives are supersharp out of the box, but keeping them that way requires regular honing. Honing differs from sharpening. Sharpening gives a dull knife a new edge by removing a bit of steel every time. Honing a still-sharp knife between uses simply realigns the edge, avoiding the dull-knife issue before it starts.
When I ordered my Misen knives, the company followed up with an email that woke me up to the importance of honing. Really, I should have already known this: As an oboist in high school and college, I made my own reeds, which requires ultrasharp knives to shave off tracing-paper-thin layers of bamboo. But when I moved on from performing, I packed away all my whetstones and ceramic honing rods instead of using them to maintain my kitchen knives.
The ceramic honing rods now live in my kitchen, poking out of their holder at the 15-degree angle that matches Misen’s blades. This reminds me to regularly run my knife along them.
So how do I use the Misen Chef’s Knife? It’s my favorite tool for rock-chopping garlic and herbs to put on Sourdough Garlic Knots. It’s strong enough to smoothly slice through a pumpkin before I roast it, and it’s even sharp enough to cut the finished Creamy Roasted Pumpkin Pie. With this knife, I can cut the ends off a bundle of asparagus or thinly slice onions for pickling.
Want more Twice as Tasty recipes? Get my books! Click here to order a personally signed, packaged, and shipped copy of The Complete Guide to Pickling directly from me. I also share tasty ways to use pickles in The Pickled Picnic; it’s only available here.