I really should be doing something else…
Posted May 11, 2012on:
like downloading and completing May’s preschool registration package to meet the June 1st deadline… It’s such a painless task but for some reason I’m so reluctant to do it. Maybe it has something to do with hauling the big ass printer out from its storage location… who knows… I’m hoping to drag it out until Sunday, when we end up at Helen’s house and then I’ll just print it from her printer… Even though Thien says I can use her compact printer ANYTIME. I’m just making up excuses for dragging this out…
But I have another product recommendation which may be appropriate for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. And I really want to get that picture of the ugly nasty thing in the last post off my front page – ugh. Meet my first Shun knife, which is turning 6 years soon (same age with my nephew).
(image from amazon.com)
My sister and brother in law were the first people in my family to have stumbled upon this brand by way of their wedding gift. I was there when they opened up a box and were like “what the heck is this? who gives out knives for a wedding? Isn’t it bad luck??” (I’ve researched this topic since, and the right protocol for knife-gift-giving is this: you have to allow the receiver to give you back a coin or some money as if it’s “payment”). A year later, shortly after the birth of their first child, I came for a visit, cooked for them everyday while I was there, and I was like, holy crap, I want to marry this knife. When I was nearing the end of my stay, my brother & sister wanted to buy me the same knife as a token of their appreciation. That’s how a few weeks after I returned to Berkeley, a shinny knew Shun Classic 7″ chef Santoku knife was waiting for me. It has been my best friend in the kitchen ever since.
It’s hard to convince people when they say what can the $$$ knives do that the $ don’t ? The answer is probably endorphin release??? I didn’t really know about high quality knives until the summer of 2004, when I visited my sister in Boston and met up with Thien, who was living near Boston then. I went over to her house, and she had a old weary looking nakiri knife hangout in her kitchen. It was pretty dull, but as soon as I held it in my hand, it felt so good. The weight was right, the feel was just right. She didn’t have a sharpening stone, so I had to make do with the bottom of an earthenware bowl. And oh boy did that thing rock once it was sharpened – even with just a bowl’s bottom. I used it to slice some raw pork, and it cut thin slices as if that block of pork were butter. Slicing meat into thin pieces, especially when it hasn’t been semi frozen in the freezer, really sucks. Even with my kiwi knives properly sharpened, the palm of my hand would get so tired after a while. I checked the blade and noted the name of the maker (a Japanese brand etched in Kanji). Years later, when I held the Shun knife, the same feelings returned. I was happy. I felt like the weight of that knife, the sharpness, the feel of it, they all maximized my potential, making me more efficient and proficient in what I do.
Two years ago Amazon.com had a crazy sale going on around Christmas time. Although we hardly had any money back then, I couldn’t resist the crazy sale, and I mean knives were like 70% off or more. I ended up buying 2 Shun Santoku identical to mine for about $65 each and giving them out as gifts, one to Les (his collection of expensive high end knives with unbelievably dull edges drove me insane when I cooked at his house, all the more because he didn’t have any sharpening tools I could use. Finally after receiving my present and he himself having fallen in love with Shun knives, he was inspired enough to take all of his cutlery to the shop to be sharpened) and the other to my mother in law (she also fell in love with my Shun knife while cooking at my house). I also bought two 5″ Wusthof chef knives (from the forged quality line, not the crappy mass produced line) for less than $30 a pieace, and gave one to my mother in law, keeping one for myself. Now the Shun and the Wusthof are my most used knives. I can feel the difference between the Shun and the Wusthof knives. I think it’s what they talk about when the knives people compare German blades vs. Japanese blade. They both work, but I think for the type of cutting & slicing I do (I hardly chop), the Shun feels like a better fit.
Last week I finally caved and bought 2 more knives to update my set. I got my own Nakiri, just because I can’t forget how happy I was when I held that old japanese nakiri in Boston 8 years ago. Williams-Sonoma has it for 50% off plus free shipping. I also bought a much coveted sashimi knife (Yanagiba) at 50% off. Williams-Sonoma has several more Shun knives (as well as other lines) on sale for 50% off, you just have to browse through their site – and these knives are not listed under sale/clearance.
I still keep my Kiwi blades around, sharpened and all, but I hardly use them anymore. What I do use are tons of Miracle Blade steak knives. Son and I got suckered into buying 2 sets of the Miracle Blades (the knife that fillet the fillet!”) 10 years ago. Served us right for waking up early on the weekend just to watch infomercials. While we trashed most of the set, what we absolutely love are their steak knifes. They are really really awesome, I use them in place of the paring knife. You can do yourself a favor and grab a set of 8 from ebay for ~17 bucks including shipping. They work well as steak knives too, but their main function in my kitchen is peeling and cutting fruits. And cutting May’s sandwiches into 4 strips to make it easier for her to bite. They can cut bread pretty well. I haven’t sharpened them in 10 years but they are still sharp! Their bread knife totally sucks. Their fillet knife is… interesting. I still don’t know what to make of it, it’s usable, but I kind of use it to cut bread on occasions (I hardly buy bread) or as a back up to the steak knives; not for peeling though.