Make food involve toys, and for me it's more interesting

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, July 17, 2007, 4:16 PM | comments: 7

I learned this weekend that I have shitty stuff in the kitchen, especially when it comes to knives. I have one chef knife that is fairly new, but already quite dull because, and I didn't know this, I'm cutting on a glass board. Oops.

I've come to realize that the thing that gets me into food is making it myself. I think in the last two years the only thing I've really endeavored to make is a burrito. But it was a pretty exciting "discovery" to mix certain things and come up with what I did. The next incarnation may even involve, gasp, peppers!

But it was the toys that started to inspire me. A rice cooker, a method to warm tortillas (wet paper towel between them in the microwave)... pretty simple stuff really. Seasoning elements are like toys too. In this case, cilantro and salt. All very simple, but I get to create something, and that motivates me.

So when I learned that I had shitty tools, it made me realize that I'd probably be more motivated to experiment if I had better tools. This has been true in most other areas, like video (camera), podcasting (good audio gear, 81 episodes to date), computers (more code), vacuuming (Dyson, baby!)... and I'm sure I could come up with more examples. So it stands to reason that if I had better tools (or toys, if you will), I'd push my limits more with food.

I started reading up on knives as the first point of entry. Read some reviews, chose a starter set, and I'll be on my way. I'm going to hold off on cookware, because it's a whole lot more expensive, and I want to understand how to take care of it first. As much as I like to buy toys, I'd rather not buy toys I don't understand. Knives are a lot less expensive.

Partial motivation is my forthcoming party too, because I want to make some things that kick ass for my guests. I'm not a gourmet, but I can fake it a little.


Neuski, July 17, 2007, 8:24 PM #

Glass cutting board? So disappointing!

CPLady, July 17, 2007, 8:54 PM #

The best knives I've found are the Wustholf-Trident knives. My mum-in-law purchased the large set for me when Gordon and I got married in 1980 (well before Emeril) They are STILL sharp.

One thing to remember...dishwashers and the strong detergents you use in them will dull knives very quickly. All of my "good" knives are washed by hand.

I've also got a set of Cutco Table Knives that serve triple duty and are wonderful as steak knives. Of course, they are also pretty expensive, but I've had mine since 1988 and they are still sharp as the day I bought them. Again, they never see a dishwasher cycle.

Neuski, July 17, 2007, 9:02 PM #

I recommend a Boos cutting board.

Catherine, July 17, 2007, 9:05 PM #

Yeah make sure you get a nice cutting board before the new knives. We have one up here that comes in two pieces - one is the UP and one is the Lower.... very nice and would remind you of your Michigan friends!!!

Jeff, July 17, 2007, 9:17 PM #

Based on reviews from the Web and people here at work, I ended up settling on a set of Henckels knives. The five-star line yes, but only a few.

Neuski, July 17, 2007, 9:28 PM #

Good call. You don't need 10 knives.

CPLady, July 18, 2007, 1:33 AM #

Good choice, Jeff!! Henckels would have been my second choice had I not gotten the Wustholf knives from my mum-in-law. Both are german companies, and my MiL was born and raised in Germany and swore by both brands as "good german steel".

You really only need three good knives...a very large one for cutting meat (I've got an 8 inch carving knife), a 5 or 6 inch utility, and a paring knife.

I've got two cutting boards...a wooden one for veggies and a soft plastic for chicken (you never want to cut raw chicken on wood). Just keep the wooden one well seasoned by rubbing olive oil into it every now and then.

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