Caution: Caveman Cooking

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Caveman Cutlery

While it is true that Cave-people used crude, rudimentary tools to cook, we have evolved over the years and have adapted to modern conveniences. One of those newfangled devices we have come to appreciate is the knife. Any cook, Human or Cro-Magnon, will have a tough time in the kitchen without a good set of knives.
There are many parts of the kitchen where you can get away with buying on the cheap. But, there are two areas where you need to consider a top-shelf product … pots/pans and knives. The quality of the steel and the integrity in manufacturing processes are crucial when it comes to cutlery. So, chose a brand with a reputation and history of making a quality product. My personal choice has always been Sabatier Diamant. While there has been much confusion about the Sabatier brands, the Diamant line is definitely one of the original lines and still manufactured in Thiers, France using time-tested techniques and designs.
No matter which brand you choose, there are two things you want to look for in a quality knife. One is forging. You want a knife that is “fully forged”, which means that the blade, bolster and tang are all made from one piece of steel. The other thing to look for is a “full tang” No, we’re not talking about the favorite breakfast drink of astronauts. The tang is the part of the knife steel that forms the handle. Usually two pieces of Micarta, or other durable material, is riveted to the tang to make the handle. A full tang extends all the way to the end of the handle which provides greater stability and better balance in the piece. A top quality knife is also hand shaped and sharpened after it is forged and riveted.
Another consideration is the type of knives you need. While there are now specialized knives for just about every possible culinary application, you can get away with as few as four types to cover any situation you will face: butchers knife, slicing or filet, paring, and serrated. Throw in a good pair of kitchen shears and a quality steel to hone your knives and you should be ready for any cutting, slicing or chopping procedure you are called upon to perform. Plus, you’ll be comforted in the knowledge that you’re a quantum leap ahead of the traditional caveperson’s cutlery cull.

©2009 Caution: Caveman Cooking/UHearMe, Inc. All rights reserved. This originally appeared on the Caution: Caveman Cooking blog at https://cavemancooking.wordpress.com authored by Caveman. This may be shared and reprinted as long as this entire copyright message accompanies it.

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11 Responses to “Caveman Cutlery”

  1. Vendela said

    What oh caveman can we do about keeping knives sharp??? The commercial offerings are bad for good cutlery Help…

    • Great question, Vendela. A good sharpening stone (whetstone) is always a valuable tool. Unfortunately, using one is sort of an art that has been lost on modern Cavemen and women, and the better ones aren’t cheap. You can spend the money once or twice a year to get them professionally sharpened and then hone them with a good steel to keep the edge. Most of the electric and handheld sharpeners aren’t worth the money. A decent compromise is the Mino Plus or Mino 3 Stage knife sharpener. The former can be found for around $40 and the latter around $60. They do a nice job of sharpening any knife, other than one-sided or serrated, and make it easy to keep the knife at the proper angle when running the edge across the stones. I have the Plus only because the 3 Stage wasn’t available when I bought mine. IMHO, the extra money is worth it to have the polishing stage stone.

  2. Vendela said

    Thanks for the info — but I know for a fact that anything other than a stone will destroy your knives. Electrics are not only NOT worth the money, they’ll ruin ghe edge esp if you own Japanese forged knoves like Global or Shun. I have a great stone but you are correct, sir — hard to use. I nearly ruined my fave knife — a Global snub-nosed parer. I got it as a gift and it’s not replaceable….C

    Could you do a video on whetstone sharpening??? PLease??? Pretty please!!!???

  3. Global actually makes the Mino Plus and Mino Stage 3. So, I’m pretty certain they will work well on the Global knives. They work fine on my Sabatier’s.
    As for the video, it’s a great idea. I will try to do one sometime early next year.

  4. boredcook said

    Excellent post and I couldn’t agree more with the importance of a good set of knives in the kitchen.

    My father has always been very particular about all of his knives. And I married a man who is the same way. My father is an avid fisherman, and a great cook so that’s where his love for knives and the proper care of them came in. He has always used a stone and also a long leather strap. My father has always used J.A. Henckels knives and when my husband and I got engaged, before we had even set the date, he came home with a full set and a knife block of Henckels Classic Forged knives for us.

    My husband is a big hunter and fisherman, and he too is very particular about how he keeps our knives. He too uses a stone. In fact, it’s funny you posted this on two accounts;

    1. I just told him the other night two of my knives needed sharpening and guess what he was doing earlier this afternoon? He’s been cutting up deer meat for the past several days (he has an extra set of knives he uses just for that) so while he had the stone out, I figured it was a good time to ask!

    2. Every year at this time (last week to be exact) Henkels has an outlet that they open to the public. Every year my father goes and adds another new knife to our collection. I haven’t seen him since he went so I don’t know what this years new piece will be. I’m hoping it’s a second Santoku knive, since “someone” (my hubby) likes to steal mine and it drives me nuts.

    My father cracks me up. All the time I lived at home and went to grab a knive to cut something up I would hear; “Nope. That’s not the right knife. You want this one.”

    I’ve been married over 16 years and I have only just recently began using my meat cleaver that came with my set. My husband has used it plenty, but that knife always scared the heck out of me. After using it I realized how much I love it!

    Thanks for the great post.

    Pam

  5. Kathy said

    It’s Thiers, with an h, and you’re right about the quality. I have 2 Sabatier knives that I bought there. They are really worth the money

  6. Kathleen said

    Hey I just found your blog while I was checking out chili recipes on Epicurious. Putting your blog name in your review was very clever my friend. Anyway glad to find your blog!

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