Murray Carter, salsa, and “Knife-vana” – a personal observation

This is anything but a complaint, because if anything my situation is an embarrassment of riches. I spend a fair amount of time cooking with knives that are not necessarily kitchen knives. Many knives I have reviewed perform quite admirably in dicing onions and peppers, but they are not the pinnacle of the art. An example of this is when I used my Caleb White Penance to make an entire batch of salsa last year. It did a solid enough job that it was not a chore, but one easily forgets what it is like to use the proper tool.

I used my Carter Cutlery Funayuki to make a double-batch of salsa for canning the other day. It is one of the finest examples of a kitchen blade you will find anywhere. Using it again was like climbing out of my Subaru Outback and into a Ferrari.

The Caleb White Penance did a nice job when I used it for salsa, but it is no dedicated kitchen knife.

As I diced 22 cups of tomatoes, peppers, onions, and garlic, I was struck by how incredible of an implement my Carter is. It was “knife-vana”, having exactly the right tool at the exactly right moment, operating at peak efficiency. Even my “good-enough” kitchen knives – the Wusthofs and ESEE Becker’s, which are great knives and serve me well, do not give me the feeling I get when I break out the Funayuki.

I don’t always use my Carter. It gets returned to its box after post-use hand-washing. So for everyday cooking, where I might just be cutting up one or two things, I simply grab the proper knife from the block. It always performs well, but there is no magical feeling. Just comfortable utility.

I break out the Carter when I am going to be working for a while. The efficiency of the tool coupled with abovementioned feeling of knife-vana, make the otherwise tedious task of processing a counter full of produce a joy.

14 pints of freshly canned salsa

Last year I canned 56 pints of salsa. I have had a down-year in the garden this year, and am going to fall short of that number. But I did take one pint of last year’s salsa to BLADE Show and give it to Murray Carter. I would say that I traded it to him in exchange for sharpening my knife, but he actually does that for all his customers. Truthfully, I just wanted to share my story with him and show Murray the year’s worth of patina on the blade. I have logged many hours with this knife in the year I have owned it.

I guess in closing, I will ask if any of you have ever experienced “knife-vana”? Let us know in the comments.



  1. Sam L. says:

    It’s kinda like whatever you’re cutting has been pre-sliced and falls off at the merest touch of the blade. Or maybe, just before the merest touch.

  2. stuartb says:

    I have experienced “axe-vana”, just like, totally, so in the zone – choppity chop Brah!

  3. Brad Griffin says:

    When I was gifted an Opinel No8. The first time I cut the tip of my thumb while closing it. Weird huh?

  4. Chase M. says:

    I have a laminated steel Tojiro chef knife that makes that magical leap to cutting knife-vana as well. But I am sure it’s no Murray Carter!

  5. Gareth Alexander Baus says:

    The first time I broke down a box(a task i do frequently) with an Opinel had roughly that affect and since that day it has been rare that i don’t have one on me.

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Murray Carter, salsa, and “Knife-vana” – a personal observation

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