Professional cooks know the importance of having high quality tools in their kitchen, the most important of which are knives. However they’ll tell you that having good knives is just the first step. Often overlooked is the equal importance of sharpening and properly maintaining your knives.
To quote from a memoir of the same title by Kathleen Flinn, “the sharper your knife, the less you cry”. Using a dull knife crushes the onions while cutting them and draws out more of the tear causing oils, making you cry more than if you had used a sharp knife. Of course, you could just use onion goggles to solve that particular problem, but I digress.
In addition to crying a little less while chopping onions, a sharp knife is much safer to use than a dull knife. For example, a fingertip cut by a sharp knife heals faster than a jagged gouge from a dull knife. Statistics show that far more kitchen knife injuries are caused by a dull knife. Dull knives require the use of more pressure to cut. Because the edge of the blade will not easily penetrate the food, there is a chance the knife will lose traction and slip, potentially landing in the cook’s (or an unsuspecting bystander’s) unfortunate foot. Using a sharp knife helps the cook to maintain control, requires less pressure and will ultimately be safer and more efficient than a dull knife. Continue reading