Quality, not quantity should be your guide. A well-made set of 3-4 knives is plenty for a beginner or intermediate home cook. If you want to splurge, by all means check out Korin’s astounding knife collection.
Investing in Knives
Every kitchen should have at least three knives. The chef’s knife, usually 8-10 inches long, is the knife I use every day and the workhorse in anyone’s kitchen. It is used for chopping, slicing and dicing, basically it’s the all-purpose knife. A serrated knife, 8-10 inches long to use on bread, and hard to cut items like squashes, vegetable stalks, and for slicing roasts. Lastly, a paring knife, usually 3-4 inches long, for peeling, coring, and slicing small items like cherry tomatoes!
How much do you cook?
Most home cooks who prepare between 5-7 meals at home each week only need 3-4 knives. Each knife, like a set of ratchets or make-up brushes has it’s own purpose. Now men – I know some of you want to reach for those hefty cleavers, but my advice is to keep it simple when you make your first purchase. If you’re not going to be filleting fish or chopping bones, stick with a few solid all purpose knives.
Don’t be wowed by the big, shiny racecar models, think about comfort. How does the handle feel in your hand? Is the knife too big for you to handle, or are you concerned about cutting yourself when you hold it? Most shops or department stores have floor models of each knife so you can inspect it before buying. Definitely hold the knife for comfort but also take notice of the weight and size. I prefer smaller models since I chop several hours per day, especially when I’m hosting large events, so the lighter the better! I can’t stress quality enough when buying knives and these are the knives I’ve used and loved over the years.
I know it’s tempting to toss them in but please don’t put your knives in the dishwasher – it damages the handle and may warp the blade. But if you respect your knives and hand-wash them, they will last forever. Try not to drop them on the floor – whoops!- or toss them into the sink! If you do happen to chip the blade, they are still quite usable but have a tendency to drag when slicing. Keep them sharp – there are plenty of easy ways to do it.
View Jen’s favorite knives in this related post.