Knives 101I'm going to revive this thread again for a couple reasons. First, I'm a newbie to this forum, not the biz and second, it is a very important subject near and dear to just about any BOHer.
A knife, simply put, is a piece of metal or ceramic, which has been forged or shaped with particular attributes which have evolved over time.
There are two primary types of knives which include straight edge and serrated edge. Of the straight edges, the Chef's knife, a filleting knife and paring knife are predominant. Most others are variations of these. The chef's knife can vary in size from 6-10" (or more depending on what brand you buy and what function you want). The filleting knife blade can be either very firm or exceedingly flexiable, again, depending on the use. The paring knife is the short little all around utility knife that gets hours of use and little glory.
Within the serrated egdes are the ground 'thumbprint' (my word) and the true serrated blade. These are used for salmon/ham and breads respectively although the 'thumbprints' can be used interchangably.
Discounting ceramic knives which are an animal to themselves, the metals used can range from carbon steel to stainless steel. They can be solid, hollow or folded. Carbon will hold a much better edge but not for long. It also discolors when used with acidic products. Stainless is typical to most knives for it's overall durability, the ability to hold an edge and not discolor. The choice is the users; ease of use or use with a lot of maintenance.
Several posters noted that by starting off with a lesser quality brand such as Mundial, etc., is a good way to get used to a knife and it's maintenance. I agree only due to the price involved. However, to me that's like saying, "I'll only own a Ford because I can't drive a Porsche." You might not be able to afford the Porsche, but the actual task of driving is identical.
People should purchase knives that are comfortable in their hands. If they are uncomfortable with a 10" chef's knife, it's use is more likely to cause an accident. They should always 'optest' a knife before buying. Buying an unfamiliar knife from an online source is akin to pointing and saying, "I'll take that." You don't know what you're getting and how it's going to feel to you. You may get lucky or you may not.
Natalie was very fortunate that she found a place that let her testdrive her knife and also provides support. It's really nice to see those places are still available.
For anyone who lives in the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina, there is a man who goes to the state fair grounds flea market on the weekends. I believe he charges a buck a blade, but does your smaller ones for free. I take mine to him (it's over an hour away) every six months or so, drop them off and pick them up when they're ready.
Order In/Food Out ~ It's NOT magic.
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"It's not getting any smarter out there. You have to come to terms with stupidity, and make it work for you." Frank Zappa