I had some friends over the other day and finally got to use one of my Christmas presents: a cheese knife from my husband’s aunt and uncle in Wisconsin. When I opened the gift (which also included some distractingly yummy locally produced goodies), I didn’t think much about the knife, even though Aunt Jane mentioned in a note that some of her friends swear it is the greatest cheese knife ever. I put it in the kitchen gadget drawer and hadn’t thought about it since.
When I opened the drawer last Friday to cut the literal cheese for my little gathering, I saw the knife in there and reached for it. Holy cow! Now, let me explain something: I have about five other cheese knives (no kidding), but none of them works like this one! Apparently, the folks in Wisconsin really do know their cheese—and how to cut it. I swear it was an experience akin to using a brand-new, laser-sharpened pruning saw after you’ve been using a rusty, old hacksaw your whole life. The knife cut right through in one smooth motion with very little effort, and more importantly, the cheese didn’t stick to the blade even one iota. I cut a whole block of Gouda in 20 seconds flat.
This little discovery really got me thinking about tools and how good ones can make all the difference in your ability as a cook—or a gardener or a butcher or a pirate or whatever. So I went through my drawer and pulled out all my favorite knives. I lined them up and took their picture. I’m attached to them each for a different reason, but I can’t imagine my everyday life without them.
On the left is my serrated blade Ekco Waverex. It’s a great little paring knife that never ever gets dull. If I had a nickel for every potato I peeled with it, I’d be a quarter of a millionaire.
Next in line from Rada Cutlery is, in my opinion, the world’s best tomato-slicing knife. I got it at Baker Creek Heirloom Seed’s Spring Planting Festival in Missouri a few years back. It’s way better than even the Ginsu knives from the old TV commercials, though I have yet to try it on a tin can.
Third is my chef’s knife. Perfect for chopping onions and herbs for my homemade marinara. I won’t be in the kitchen without it.
Next to that is the citrus knife I bought from a small farm in Florida. It’s made by Capco in Japan and has a double-serrated edge and a curved-up tip. It was born to section off a grapefruit lickety split.
Its neighbor with the yellow handle is said cheese knife. It’s plastic resin and is made by Ultem. (I found it online at The Cheese Knife.)
And last in line is my bird’s beak knife by Calphalon. This is my favorite garden knife. The curved blade is perfect for beheading cabbage, harvesting broccoli and cauliflower, and for peeling kohlrabi.
Good knives belong in every cook’s kitchen and every gardener’s shed. And, even though those lousy Wisconsin cheese-heads are headed to Dallas to battle my beloved Steelers this weekend, I’m showing them some love … and a lot of sharp, pointy objects.