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smacking the cutting board with a knife

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 

so ive noticed and seemed to have picked up the habit of smacking the cutting board with my knife really fast when im cutting lettuce or mushrooms leaving me with incosisent cuts.  Ive noticed a lot of cooks do this when trying to ether look cool or do somthing fast.  is this frowned upon by good chefs? how do i cut somthing large like lettuce when the tip of my knife cant touch the cutting board and make a good rocking motion? 

post #2 of 26

Maybe they simply wanna' clear off the accumulated crud from their knife!

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post #3 of 26

Hm, I rarely use a "rocking motion" any more, for me, the "glide", either forward or reverse, is more efficient and less stressful on the wrist/arm/elbow.

 

Of course, that necessitates a "French profile" at the minimum crazy.gif
 

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post #4 of 26

ddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddeleete

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post #5 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by PeteMcCracken View Post
Of course, that necessitates a "French profile" at the minimum crazy.gif

 

French profile, what's that?  Triangular blade versus one that has a curved aka camber at the distal end?  I really like rocking my blade at the camber.


Edited by kokopuffs - 5/9/13 at 8:44pm

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post #6 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by kokopuffs View Post

French profile, what's that?
http://www.cheftalk.com/t/62065/french-and-german-chefs-knives-profiles-in-cutting
post #7 of 26

Far less "belly" than the traditional German profile, which lends itself to the rocking motion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kokopuffs View Post

French profile, what's that?  Triangular blade versus one that has a curved aka camber at the distal end?  I really like rocking my blade at the camber.

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post #8 of 26

Like I assume most in here, I use 3 or 4 diff tecniques dependent on what

Im cutting, and how. E.G., strip cutting lettuce or fine slicing zucchini etc, I'll

run a quick-hone and use Chef Pete's  gliding motion--it's slow and precise.

 

I'll go nose down and really go to town with just the tip, open-chop really fast for

fine dicing things like small herbs etc.

 

If I need to dice up a bunch of onions, say for sauteing where I dont need great size consistency,

I'll pin the tip to the board with left hand, and do the "swivel-cut" from left to right, pretty

quickly, and you can do a big, tear-jerking pile that way.

 

Point is, I dont know if there's a "wrong or right", depends, so long as you're not destroying your

knife in whatever process youre using.

And sure there are actually names for some of these actions, but dont ask me...been too long.crazy.gif

post #9 of 26

As a home cook, this may not be relevant -  I watched julia child as a teenager and learned how to chop (the first one below) and maybe picked something up from the galloping gourmet and extrapolated from there:

 

for chopping, e.g parsley, flattened garlic, etc, I keep the point end of my blade in my left finger and thumb and use that as a "hinge" and loosely hold the right hand mainly at the blade, also somewhat as a hinge,  to chop small things very quickly and evenly, crosshatching first in one direction then in the other.  .

 

For slicing smaller carrots, celery, and other low objects, especially if they're cut lenghthwise and don't roll around, with one hand on the handle, fingers holding on the blade to hinge with, and slice even slices. 

 

But if the carrot or celery is thick, I use a whacking method, holding the carrot with one hand and whacking with the knife hand and get very even cuts that way.  It would be too big a distance to keep one end of the blade on the board to slice a thick thing.  I think it's almost the same as crosshatching lines in drawing, once you master the parallel lines and the distance between them, it goes very quickly.  I don't have to aim for perfection, since i'm cooking at home, but i must say it works with a pretty good consistency. 

 

If it's really big (an onion, a potato) i hold it in one hand, and hold the knife by the handle, sliding it forward (pushing) on each slice. 

 

If i'm at someone's house and they only have a crappy knife that has a curved blade I slide it back and forth and i find that that's the only way to get a lousy blade to slice.  Takes more time though but not that much if you;re fast. 

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #10 of 26

Smacking the blade edge down dulls it faster because you are bending the serrations at the edge over.

post #11 of 26

serrations?  as in serrated knife?  i don;t use a serrated knife

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #12 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by siduri View Post

serrations?  as in serrated knife?  i don;t use a serrated knife

 

She may mean the micro serrations that make up the cutting edge of your blade.

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post #13 of 26
Quote:

I keep the point end of my blade in my left finger and thumb and use that as a "hinge" and loosely hold the

right hand mainly at the blade, also somewhat as a hinge, to chop small things very quickly and evenly,

crosshatching first in one direction then in the other. .

 

Quote:

I'll pin the tip to the board with left hand, and do the "swivel-cut" from left to right, pretty

quickly, and you can do a big, tear-jerking pile that way.

Pinch for pull....pretty much the same principle.smile.gif And now that I think about it,

I may well have learned that technique from Graham Kerr too, say circa 1970 or so?

post #14 of 26

Yup all blades are serrated, micro serrations are what actually do the cutting on a chefs knife for example. In a dull knife these get bent over.

post #15 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by MaryB View Post

Yup all blades are serrated, micro serrations are what actually do the cutting on a chefs knife for example. In a dull knife these get bent over.

 

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Gebe Gott uns allen, uns Trinkern, einen so leichten und so schönen Tod! Joseph Roth.
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post #16 of 26

Mary is safe with me. 

 

Serration and micro-serration:

The micro-serration explanation has been around for a long time.  It is a very popular and seemingly understandable explanation if you say it fast and don't give it much thought.  It's sufficiently ubiquitous that it's not fair to call someone "wrong" for repeating it.  However, people who understand the process of how a knife works do not use the micro-serration model.  The simple physics of cutting with a knife is that the edge acts as a wedge and pushes things apart. 

 

A serrated blade (aka "saw") works in the same way; that is, by acting as a series of wedges.  So, by introducing the concept of micro-serration you're not really explaining anything. 

 

All edges are micro-serrated to some extent, because in the real world, even in the best of circumstances, no edge can ever be made perfectly fine.  There are always some ups and downs.

 

Similarly few good sharpeners actually use the micro-serration hypothesis anymore for explaining what goes on in terms of a knife edge getting bent by impact or truing the bend with a steel, stone or strop. With truing the micro-serration explanation is especially unhelpful because saws cut better with some "set" to their teeth, rather than having them perfectly aligned. 

 

Grip:

Gripping the blade between thumb and forefinger is called a pinch grip.  You can understand the pinch as a "hinge" or not.  A good pinch grip is the hallmark of using a chef's knife properly.  Getting a Grip on a Good Pinch should help explain how a better pinch will make you a better cutter.

 

People use all sorts of different actions when they chop.  Sometimes it depends on what they're chopping, and sometimes it's a product of training.  The most popular actions are the "rock chop," the "push cut" and the "glide."  Each of them can work very well.

 

"Rock chopping" is done by keeping the belly of the blade in contact with the board (as much as possible), lifting the handle as high as necessary to get what's to be cut under the flatter part of the blade, and "rocking" the blade down using its belly as a fulcrum.  Almost everyone -- with the exception of some really dedicated push cutters using very flat knives -- rock chop with their offhand on the top of the knife near the point when mincing.  German profile chef's knives are especially suitable for rock chopping. 

 

"Push cutting" means lifting the blade straight up and down.  Any blade with a long-enough flat section can be an effective push-cutter.  French and Asian profiles work better than German for push cutting.  When you see cooks "speed chop" they're almost always push cutting.  

 

Gliding means approaching the cut with the knife off the board but the tip down.  When the cut begins, the belly contacts the board; and at the moment of contact the cutter pushes the knife forward or draws it back (depending on whether cutting something hard or soft).  The hall marks of the glide are silence and precision.  If you've trained in a French kitchen you almost certainly glide.  Otherwise, probably not.  French profile knives are the most helpful.

 

You can use any type of profile for any of the actions.  However, most cutters find that if they use a particular knife (or knife type) long enough, the knife will greatly influence their action.     

 

BDL

post #17 of 26

Hubert Keller does that and it drives me nuts . . . he taps the board two or three times in between each slice. 

post #18 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike9 View Post

Hubert Keller does that and it drives me nuts . . . he taps the board two or three times in between each slice. 


Seriously. I hate that too.

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“After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relations.”
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post #19 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by kokopuffs View Post

Maybe they simply wanna' clear off the accumulated crud from their knife!

I concur - it doesn't do the knife any favours though...

 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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post #20 of 26
Actually....I do that. Difference being I have no idea why. And I drive myself crazy when I do.
I dunno...a nervous tapping maybe? Or did I just pick it up from another chef subconsciously...
like osmosis? I've taken to laying my knife down when I catch myself doing it. Its..strange, as
I see no logical reason to go banging my blade against nothing. A mind control thing maybe?
Arrrgh. Get OUT OF MY HEAD!!
post #21 of 26
Lol
post #22 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Meezenplaz View Post

Actually....I do that. Difference being I have no idea why. And I drive myself crazy when I do.
I dunno...a nervous tapping maybe? Or did I just pick it up from another chef subconsciously...
like osmosis? I've taken to laying my knife down when I catch myself doing it. Its..strange, as
I see no logical reason to go banging my blade against nothing. A mind control thing maybe?
Arrrgh. Get OUT OF MY HEAD!!


Did you ever notice blacksmiths would hammer the iron and then tap the hammer on the anvil, then hammer the iron then the anvil - i think there's something about the rhythm, and if it works why not.  There may be a reason in the physical sense rather than in the verbal and logical sense, and if it gives you the rhythm you need, then do it.  why not????  Many things we do have reasons we don't know or couldn't verbalize, but they may be right.  And what harm does it do?

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #23 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by siduri View Post


Did you ever notice blacksmiths would hammer the iron and then tap the hammer on the anvil, then hammer the iron then the anvil - i think there's something about the rhythm, and if it works why not.  There may be a reason in the physical sense rather than in the verbal and logical sense, and if it gives you the rhythm you need, then do it.  why not????  Many things we do have reasons we don't know or couldn't verbalize, but they may be right.  And what harm does it do?

When forging iron a black-slag forms on the surface of the metal (mostly impurities).

 

They tap the hammer on the anvil to shake off these flakes of slag so as not to re-introduce it into the metal.

----

 


"Plus, this method makes you look like a complete lunatic. If you care about that sort of thing".  - Dave Arnold

 

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----

 


"Plus, this method makes you look like a complete lunatic. If you care about that sort of thing".  - Dave Arnold

 

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post #24 of 26

...and the beat goes on....

 

-Nancy S.

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
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post #25 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelGA View Post

When forging iron a black-slag forms on the surface of the metal (mostly impurities).

 

They tap the hammer on the anvil to shake off these flakes of slag so as not to re-introduce it into the metal.


Interesting Michael.  I think i've seen people do this in other contexts too, though, like hitting a chisel or something. 

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
post #26 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelGA View Post

When forging iron a black-slag forms on the surface of the metal (mostly impurities).

 

They tap the hammer on the anvil to shake off these flakes of slag so as not to re-introduce it into the metal.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by siduri View Post


Interesting Michael.  I think i've seen people do this in other contexts too, though, like hitting a chisel or something. 


WOW!!!!!!

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
Reply

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
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