My cooking-buddy and mentor, Emile offered me his carbon-steel chef’s knife. I took one look at the ratty condition and politely declined. He explained that it was different to a stainless steel knife, that carbon-steel looked bad but was harder and kept a better edge longer. I continued my polite refusal and he shrugged in that way that only a Frenchman can shrug. In my memory he also uttered that one syllable French condemnation “boh!”, but I cannot be sure if this is a true memory or one of my story-embellishments.
I had a good set of knives already. In what was a strange gift at the time, my parents had bought me top-of-the-line Sabatier knives as a gift for struggling through two degrees in three years. I was slightly non-plussed at the time (I would forgive you for reading “seething”). I have come to really appreciate that gift. Over the years I have used them to cook for money in a variety of kitchens and pleasure at home. Two of them have made it to the ripe old age of 33 – for those of you for whom this is significant, that is the same age as Jesus Christ, Alexander The Great, John Belushi & Chris Farley, Eva Braun, and Van Gogh (from syphilis!).
What happened to the chef’s knife? Well, my then mother-in-law – despite being forbidden to touch my precious knives – used my chef’s knife to dig up a daisy from the lawn. In doing so, she snapped the blade in half. Obviously, there was no deniability and a punishment had to be administered. She was commanded to buy me a 12″ carbon steel, Sabatier chef’s knife. It sits in my drawer and is my go-to knife. I have had it about ten years. It looks like shit, but it is very hard and keeps an edge for a long time. Thanks, Emile.
Here it is:
So, send us a photograph of your favorite kitchen knife and let us know why. Take a photo or two and send them with any stories/explanation to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please understand that any submissions become the property and copyright of feralcooks.com.
First to contribute is Karl:
My utmost favorite knife is a 10-inch Sabatier that Philip sent me as a blog-launching gift.
– Handles well (well balanced)
– Arrived sharp, and stays sharp long after being sharpened
– Perfect shape
– Allows for good rocking motion for certain kinds of cuts
– Forged—blade travels up the handle, so it’s a single piece
– Made with/from carbon steel
– Nice patina after years of use
– Stains easily—not a particularly handsome blade after a few cuts
– Must be cleaned and dried after EVERY use