November 07, 2016

This knife.



My son gave me Alton Brown's new book: Everyday Cook. It's great. Chock full of good ideas. But I got stuck, joyously, on the page with all the things he uses to get where he wants to go. Like Binder clips. It's about the second or third page. I've been peeking and then surfing to see if I have what I need. Mostly I do, but I upgraded a knife so far. (Not the one pictured.) And I have perused the interwebs for some of his recommendations.

Alton certainly said it loudest, or to the biggest audience, but I have almost always held that point of view -- everything in my kitchen should have more than one function. No gadgety gadgets for me. Years and years ago when I went to cooking school, friends and family loaded me up with this and that. All intended to make the kitchen easy and fun and what I found was that I didn't really end up using all of it. I'm fall-over grateful for every consideration, I just didn't use some of the pieces. I shared a bunch and kept a few. An example of one I don't really need? Turkey forks.  They look smart, but really, you use them once or perhaps twice a year when you make a turkey. And my dear, dear friend Jemma, who loves the Joy of Cooking, method for turkey (me too!) reminds me, you just need a couple of paper towels. I still have my Turkey forks. I use 'em, but you get that they live rent free in the kitchen all year.

My son, who loves all things Alton, gave me the Original Bear Claw pulled pork shredders for those days when I have no forks available. Ha. I got the joke right after I opened the package. He was quite proud of himself. (They turned out to have more than one application and one is actually a garden application.)

What I love is a well-considered tool. Like the knife you see in the picture. It was the first I bought, about a day after the introductory meeting at UCLA for my professional cooking course. I was so excited. And decided to be slow and careful to only buy knives I need. Really good knives and really serviceable knives. So this one had my name on it. An 8" Zwilling JA Henckels Chef's knife. About a week later I bought a 4" paring knife, then a boning knife. These were my companions and made it into my knife bag which went with me just about everywhere I went. (In my car. Is that legal?) I was thrilled, then, and am now, to have the tools of the trade in my hand.
I'm reading a book about a girl completely dedicated to cooking great food -- Kitchen of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal. And I'm reminded of how cooking is always new, with portent of magic and good problem-solving, just around the corner.

My knife, that should never have doubled as an opener for a lid of some kind, reminded me of that, too.

Just like writing, I'm called back onto my path.

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