I like labor-saving kitchen gadgets, and I’ve used a variety of them through the years. When it comes to preparing raw food, some gadgets are really a great help in the kitchen. A Vitamix or something comparable is endlessly useful, and gadgets to peel and pit fruits and vegetables are also worth their salt. I use a food processor from time to time too.
Probably the tool I use the most, though, is my trusty knife. You’re just not going to get too far on a raw food diet without a knife unless you liquefy all your food in the Vitamix.
I confess that I am not any kind of a knife expert. In fact, the first knife I bought many years ago still sits in my kitchen drawer mostly unused, despite the fact that it was a well-known brand and high quality. That’s because I never considered what I was going to be using it for before I bought it. I just knew I was buying a good knife. I also didn’t realize how important it was to buy a knife that feels good in your hand. That’s the first thing I look for now.
Other than one knife I like that I bought myself, the knives I like the best came in three sets that my brother gave me as gifts more than 30 years ago. They were Case knives. One set was steak knives, although I used them for other cutting tasks too. The other two sets were kitchen knives in various shapes and sizes. These knives are all comfortable to hold, have very sharp blades, and cut with precision.
When you use a knife, it becomes an extension of yourself. You have to be able to hold the knife comfortably, so you need a knife with a handle that fits your hand. The knife’s grip has to feel good in your hand, and you need to be able to hold the knife securely without having to grip too tightly. If the knife does not feel good in your hand or it slips around in your hand when you try to use it, it will become a drawer decoration. If you have trouble gripping, a knife with a more substantial handle may be the ticket for you; thin handles are notoriously hard to grip, even for many of those with normal dexterity.
The other factor in choosing a knife is durability. When you’re cutting up something, you don’t want the tang to break, so choose a knife with a full tang. This simply means that the knife’s blade is one piece with the part that goes to the very end of the handle. When the tang extends from the tip of the blade to the bottom of the knife, you have a full tang.
Naturally, you want to use your knife as it was intended to be used. Don’t try to use a paring knife to cut a hard spaghetti squash in half, for example. Even a high-quality paring knife will probably break in that situation. Use each knife for the type of task it was designed for, and you will enjoy your knives for many years to come. To cut my spaghetti squashes, which tend to be quite hard, I use a large, heavy-bladed knife that can withstand the pressure needed. A butcher’s knife or a large cook’s knife can do that job.
My go-to kitchen knife is an 8” knife that I picked out, with a full tang and a comfortable finished/polished wood handle that fits my hand perfectly. I use it for a lot of everyday cutting tasks. When I want to do superb cutting, though, I get out the Case knives my brother gave me, two of which are pictured in the photo. Then I feel like a vegetable surgeon.
You may have noticed that I didn’t say anything about the looks of the knives you buy. I’m one of those people that can’t stand having things around that I find really visually unappealing, so the way a knife looks does matter to me. But it’s not the top criterion. There are gorgeous knives that I would not buy because they are either not comfortable for me to hold and use or not designed for quality cutting; they’re made just for looks. A knife you have trouble using is a dangerous knife.
When you pick out your next knife, choose it the way you would choose a good friend. Make sure it will have the durability to stick with you long-term, the full-tang integrity that will keep it from breaking, and the comfort to make it a good fit for every day.