Kitchen Knives

How to chose your first kitchen knife – from Federalist of all places

The Federalist is an unlikely source for knife advice.

While The Federalist is a great site for news and commentary from a libertarian-tinged paleo-conservative perspective, it is not where I typically look for knife-buying advice. In fact, I was surprised to find lifestyle pieces at all, let alone a fairly well written piece on how to chose your first kitchen knife. Not groundbreaking stuff by any means, but I was particularly impressed with the author’s concise descriptions of the difference in German and Japanese blades.

From The Federalist:

German blades are generally made of a more durable steel than their Japanese counterparts. They are thicker, have a wider cutting angle, and stand up really well to the rough and tumble American kitchen. This also makes it easier for you to push through a thick bone joint with a German knife because you have some serious weight behind your blade.

Japanese blades can be thought of as miniature Samurai swords, the descendants of mighty blades used to slice through your enemies. In this case, your enemy is that filet of beef on your cutting board, and your blade is a thinner, lighter, harder knife than you would find in Germany. Japanese knives generally have a higher carbon content in their steel. This allows them have a thinner blade that stays sharper longer, but also means Japanese knives are not as durable. They can rust more easily and need a little more care than the average Henckel. Some Japanese blades are single bevels instead of the typical double-bevel knife you’ll see, but you can easily avoid them and as a layman cook, you probably should.

As I said, this won’t cover much new ground for most TTAK readers, but we always like to disseminate good information, especially when it comes from an unlikely source.

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