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Bill Spohn

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Additional Knifery

by Bill Spohn » Sat Dec 28, 2019 6:42 pm

Bought myself a Christmas present. My knife drawer sometimes seems to harbour secret multiplication of inhabitants according to my wife as she thinks that every time she goes into it there are new residents.

I decided that I needed, no, deserved a Nakiri slicing knife for vegetables, meat etc. there are times when slicing things that a long point just gets in the way and the Nkiri shape is just handier. So I ordered one from Amazon and was interested to note that although the manufacturer is Japanese (Keemake) the steel is German, indicated to be high carbon stainless steel but in appearance a stainless steel. I'll report back on how much the added chromium affects sharpening - it certainly aids appearance, although half my existing knives are high carbon steel that discolours but has a superior edge so I am used to swapping looks for performance.

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Larry Greenly

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Re: Additional Knifery

by Larry Greenly » Sat Dec 28, 2019 6:51 pm

Nice looking knife.

I've bought a number of different knives over the years, but I always seem to go back to my #4 Chinese carbon steel cleaver, which I bought at a garage sale in Minneapolis. It has a right-hand bevel. I'm thinking about buying a replacement; after three decades the blade is not as wide as it used to be. The ones at the Wok Shop in CA look pretty nice for a replacement.
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Re: Additional Knifery

by Bill Spohn » Sat Dec 28, 2019 6:59 pm

Ever watched a Chinese butcher shop (we have a bunch of them up here) - they do just about everything with one sort of cleaver or other..

I actually own another cleaver, a Henckels, but it is heavier by far (maybe just the thing if I ever need to decapitate a buffalo or something) and I never use it. It also fails to hold a good edge for long.
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Re: Additional Knifery

by Jenise » Sat Dec 28, 2019 8:03 pm

Bill Spohn wrote:I actually own another cleaver, a Henckels, but it is heavier by far (maybe just the thing if I ever need to decapitate a buffalo or something) and I never use it. It also fails to hold a good edge for long.


Ever see a buffalo around my house? That's why. :)
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: Additional Knifery

by Larry Greenly » Sat Dec 28, 2019 9:08 pm

I own several cleavers that came with knife sets; none are great. My garage sale buy was an Atlas #4 w/wood handle, made in Hong Kong. Not made anymore, but you can find them online occasionally. I'm going to get one as close to it as I can.

It's carbon steel and has always kept its edge. It's razor sharp and agile in the hand. Once in a great while, I'll sharpen it with my Chef's Choice sharpener (love it) with 15 degree bevel.

Tonight I used it to slice up veges for my salad. One main thing I like about a cleaver is that you can use it to scoop up stuff; a chef's knife isn't as wide. The most common knives I use are my cleaver, a pairing knife (another that I plan to replace sometime), and once in a while, a boning knife.
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Re: Additional Knifery

by Paul Winalski » Mon Dec 30, 2019 2:47 pm

I own two Chinese cleavers: a very heavy one for chopping through bones and a lighter one. I use these two knives almost exclusively. I also have a long knife with a serrated blade that I use for slicing bread and cheese.

-Paul W.
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Re: Additional Knifery

by Larry Greenly » Wed Jan 01, 2020 1:29 am

Oh yeah, I forgot my Sabatier bread knife. Sometimes I also use it for scoring bread loaves.
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Re: Additional Knifery

by Bill Spohn » Wed Jan 01, 2020 12:16 pm

Gee - I hadn't realized that Sabatier even made a bread knife - my old Wusthof has served me well in that capacity, but lives in the overflow knife drawer.

Funniest thing I saw was a Damascus bread knife. What next, Damascus butter knives? Just doesn't seem right somehow.
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Jeff Grossman

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Re: Additional Knifery

by Jeff Grossman » Wed Jan 01, 2020 3:39 pm

I have a Sabatier "Chinese" cleaver. I use it occasionally, especially for cutting larger things into smaller things. :mrgreen:

But I get along just fine with a 6" and 8" chef's knife, ably assisted by a slicer (long and thin), a bread knife and a tomato knife (the two serrated edges). I don't seem to have much use for a paring knife.

If I have any significant vegetable chopping to do I fetch the mandoline.
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Re: Additional Knifery

by Larry Greenly » Thu Jan 02, 2020 5:34 pm

How do you de-stem a strawberry w/o a paring knife?

Somehow my carbon steel cleaver seems to keep its edge for a long time. It's razor-sharp, and I can slice vegetables like a microtome. And having only a right-hand bevel works for me--no wandering through the cut. I even use it as a spatula sometimes to flip burgers or pancakes, etc.

My wife bought a set of Cutco knives before we were married. I virtually never use any of them, except for the bread knife, which is pretty decent. It has more serrations than my Sabatier; FWIW, counter-intuitively, the fewer serrations (in general) the better the knife cuts bread and leaves fewer crumbs behind.

To add to my collection, a couple of years ago, I bought a Victorinox chef's knife, which was insanely sharp with a 15-degree bevel. Really nice to use, but I always seem to go back to my cleaver.
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Re: Additional Knifery

by Bill Spohn » Thu Jan 02, 2020 6:04 pm

Larry Greenly wrote:How do you de-stem a strawberry w/o a paring knife?



Stocking stuffer for SWMBO this year:

https://www.amazon.ca/Strawberry-Huller ... B07CPHJ4F7
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Re: Additional Knifery

by Larry Greenly » Thu Jan 02, 2020 8:08 pm

I have one of those somewhere, but it's faster for me to grab the paring knife, stick the point in near the stem and twirl the strawberry around until a cut-out cone appears and the stem falls off. Whew! Long sentence.

I may be purchasing a Victorinox paring knife in the near future. The one I've had for over three decades is losing its curved cutting edge due to multiple sharpenings.

Speaking of which: Two years ago, I got a Chef's Choice electric sharpener with a 15 degree sharpening angle. I really like it. What do y'all use?
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Re: Additional Knifery

by Jeff Grossman » Fri Jan 03, 2020 1:46 pm

Larry Greenly wrote:How do you de-stem a strawberry w/o a paring knife?

I don't stem strawberries very much: HWMBO hates them, and I am willing to pick it up by the greens, chomp it off, and chuck the stem.

And I didn't say I have no use for a paring knife... I said I didn't have much use for a paring knife.
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Re: Additional Knifery

by Larry Greenly » Fri Jan 03, 2020 8:53 pm

It was my inference. Strawberries are relatively low in carbs, which is one reason I like them. OTOH, blueberries are high enough, I eat them sparingly.

Like I do sometimes, I found myself tonight using my cleaver as a pizza cutter. I was too lazy to clean my pizza wheel cutter.
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Re: Additional Knifery

by Bill Spohn » Fri Jan 03, 2020 8:56 pm

I often just use my largest chef's knife as a pizza cutter. Faster to get out and dos just as good a job. As Alton Brown says, unitaskers are anathema!
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Re: Additional Knifery

by Larry Greenly » Fri Jan 03, 2020 11:48 pm

I agree with Alton.

BTW, I can't quite make out the car in your avatar. What is it?
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Re: Additional Knifery

by Jeff Grossman » Sat Jan 04, 2020 1:10 am

Bill Spohn wrote:As Alton Brown says, unitaskers are anathema!

Pish on Alton Brown. There are indispensable unitaskers:
-- a spiral slicer (really hard to cut potatoes for Chateaubriand with a regular knife)
-- a citrus zester (the one that is a wooden handle with a metal end with four angled holes in it)
-- apple corer (the one you press down on the apple and it cores + cuts into segments)

One might also observe that things like a coffee-maker or an ice cream machine are pretty Johnny One-Note.

Finally, I know he makes fun of 'bear claws' for pulling pork but I have seen them in action: if you have a whole pork shoulder hot out of the smoker you do not want to try to pull that baby with a pair of forks! Claws make short work of it.
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Re: Additional Knifery

by Larry Greenly » Sat Jan 04, 2020 2:41 am

Lately, I've been using orange zest in several recipes, including some breads. For a citrus zester, sometimes I use my microplane, but my fave is a Titan swivel peeler with micro-serrated blades. I can peel off the zest in one piece from an orange. Then I dry the zest and grind it in a dedicated coffee grinder. Way cheaper than store bought.

Regarding coffeemakers. My friend recently acquired a Keurig. I know some people love 'em, but I have some philosophical and practical problems with them. Number one is the amount of waste they produce; even the inventor said he's sorry for inventing it for that reason. Two, both the machine and supplies take up a lot of space. Three, it's expensive for the amount of coffee per cartridge.

Regarding spiral cutters. I have two different kinds. One is a blade with a hole on one end for your finger, and the other end has a plastic screw. The other is a crank type that operates like a wood lathe.

Regarding apple corers: sometimes I use the same kind of corer you have, sometimes I just use a paring knife and quickly cut a cone around the stem and blossom end, and then either slice the apple in half and use a butter baller to remove the seeds or cut it into quarters and use a paring knife to cut out the seed core.

One exclusively single-use tool I have is a pineapple peeler and corer. Even so, sometimes I just use a chef's or boning knife.

FWIW, we had a memorable Chateaubriand for Two in Zermatt on our honeymoon. It's our favorite wine. :wink:
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Re: Additional Knifery

by Jeff Grossman » Sat Jan 04, 2020 3:32 am

Re pineapple corers: I once saw a watermelon corer... same device but much larger! :lol:
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Re: Additional Knifery

by Jeff Grossman » Sat Jan 04, 2020 3:36 am

Larry Greenly wrote:Regarding spiral cutters. I have two different kinds. One is a blade with a hole on one end for your finger, and the other end has a plastic screw. The other is a crank type that operates like a wood lathe.

I mean the former. The latter has always struck me as a little weird.

Regarding apple corers: sometimes I use the same kind of corer you have, sometimes I just use a paring knife and quickly cut a cone around the stem and blossom end, and then either slice the apple in half and use a butter baller to remove the seeds or cut it into quarters and use a paring knife to cut out the seed core.

See, this is why I like the unitasker: Your process requires many cuts, many repositionings of the fruit, and possibly a second tool. My version is push, done. Speaking as The Cook, I've got a million better things to do than stand here and fart around with one piece of fruit. :?
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Re: Additional Knifery

by Larry Greenly » Sat Jan 04, 2020 11:41 am

When I used to help at my uncle's food stand at the state fair, we had a motorized version of the lathe mentioned below. We used to make a spiral potato chip from a potato that we then deep fried before serving in a paper boat. That was 20 years ago, when my uncle used to brag he could take a single potato and turn it into $3.50. Now they're probably twice as much.

My crank type has different blades to make a flat spiral cut of veges or even spaghetti-type threads. Works nicely with squash.

Two masters of knifery, IMO, are Ken Hom and Jacques Pepin.
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Bill Spohn

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Re: Additional Knifery

by Bill Spohn » Sat Jan 04, 2020 12:23 pm

Larry Greenly wrote:I agree with Alton.

BTW, I can't quite make out the car in your avatar. What is it?


That is a 1956 MGA that was rebodied with an aftermarket body in the 1960s
More details than you'd ever want unless you are a car geek, here https://www.rhodo.citymax.com/Jamaican.html
(That page also contains links to three magazines that have featured it, which give a rounded account of my restoration) Proof that I don't sit around drinking wine ALL day..... :mrgreen:

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Re: Additional Knifery

by Jenise » Sat Jan 04, 2020 2:18 pm

Jeff Grossman wrote:See, this is why I like the unitasker: Your process requires many cuts, many repositionings of the fruit, and possibly a second tool. My version is push, done. Speaking as The Cook, I've got a million better things to do than stand here and fart around with one piece of fruit. :?


We eat 1-2 raw apples EVERY day. My Global chef's knife gets the job done fast. I would not want an apple corer in my drawer. But speaking of unitaskers I do appreciate: my asparagus (spargel) peeler. It's absolutely indispensable for white asparagus--what it does with those brittle white stalks nothing else can do. There isn't even a good long way around it. Not that I can get it often, but I never pass on buying it when I see it.
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Bill Spohn

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Re: Additional Knifery

by Bill Spohn » Sat Jan 04, 2020 2:39 pm

Jenise wrote: But speaking of unitaskers I do appreciate: my asparagus (spargel) peeler. .


Which one do you have? I have two sets of silver asparagus tongs but no peeler......
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