In total I have 3+1: a 14″ Chef’s Knife (Wusthof), a small Japanese Paring knife and a bread knife with a serrated edge. The +1 is a Ceramic workman’s knife which I use for the really really fine work. I’ve had them for the past 10 years.
The 14″ Wusthof is wonderfully handy because of the length. I can slice through large roasts easily without having to slice at various angles with a shorter knife. And it has a nice weight to it.
The small Japanese paring knife was something I picked up for $29. It’s a stamped blade (c’mom, at $29 you really shouldn’t complain) but it maintains its sharpness quite well.
I’ve recently thrown away my bread knife because it got rusty after a long hibernation in the drawer. I got it for $15 eight years ago. Now I just use my Chef’s knife to slice bread.
In general I think Ceramic knives are a waste of money because after the initial factory edge is dull, there’s no way you can get a sharp edge easily again. And ceramic knives are expensive. So after my first one, never again.
So what’s with the Ceramic workman’s knife? Well, I use one because it allows me to do fine work like removing the skin off pork loins to crackle separately and whatnot. I like it ceramic because I can wash and clean the blade easily without fear of rust and if it gets dull, I snap off the dull bit and, behold, a new sharp edge appears.
Of course, you should never neglect to give all your knives the proper care and attention. I like to sharpen them at least once a fortnight and use a steel (I have a cheap ceramic one frok Ikea) before every prep. They’ll last for another 10 years.
And before you ask, I get all my knives from Razorsharp.
I love cast iron cookware. I have 5 in various shapes and sizes.
The non-enamel ones require seasoning and there’s no better place to learn how to do this than Sheryl Canter’s blog post: Chemistry of Cast Iron Seasoning: A Science-Based How-To.
Kenji Alt-Lopez dispels some myths about Cast Iron pans here and, as always, he’s a great read.
And if you want more reading up, Dave Arnold has additional insight here.
Busy. Back soon.
Just a quick observation: I watched Julie & Julia the other day and I didn’t enjoy Julie’s scenes. Anyway I noticed that when she made Julia Child’s Boeuf Bourguignon, her casserole (or Dutch Oven or whatever) was very messy and dirty. In fact a lot of photos I’ve seen of other people’s attempts at Julia Child’s Boeuf Bourguignon show the same mess.
If you really followed Julia’s directions carefully, the sides of the Dutch Oven should be clean or at least without that gunk.
It’s near the end of 2014 and I’m still seeing people using the old “authenticity” stick to win arguments about cuisine. It’s a meaningless label because authenticity in cuisine is a sham. And it can be a millstone hanging around a cook’s neck.