book: knives cooks love
I am slightly behind on a few reviews, primarily because I was packing up our lives and planning the adventure of a lifetime! As you now know, we left Seattle in the latter part of May, and are cycling across Holland and parts of Belgium and France. By we, I mean our family of four: husband James and sons Anthony and Caleb. For excerpts on our adventure visit www.familyfrolics.com.
I had a few lovely cookbooks that I kept stacked on my kitchen counter, with great intention to inhale and absorb them from cover to cover. But in the end---the day before the movers came---they went into a box marked 'cookbooks.' I am still sad that there are beautiful photos and fantastic recipes tucked away in library fashion, beyond my half-a-globe-away reach.
I did manage to sneak a hearty peek at the book on knives. I had seen it on store shelves, but put it out of my mind, figuring I didn't want to read about the history of knives. But was so glad when the offer came to me to review it, because it forced me to take a closer look. It is so much more than a historical account of the evolution and use of knives. (Which, by the way, really is fascinating).
The book informs the reader re: knife care, proper sharpening and honing, various ways to hold knives and clean them, and progresses through all sorts of knife cuts. It shows pictures of cutting vegetables like carrots and onions, sifts through the quagmire of how-to slice mangoes and avocados, and shows you step by step how to butterfly a chicken.
I love this because one of the reasons I went to culinary school was to learn about cuts. I learned how to fabricate a chicken, julienne vegetables, flute mushrooms, and how to finely dice an onion without sacrificing my fingers. It offers a play by play that I spent big bucks on; but you can take the lessons from this book and learn just as easily. My chef at school used to say: practice. Know the proper cuts, go buy a bag of onions or a bag of potatoes and practice.
And the book convincingly emphasizes that knives are a tool we use so frequently, why wouldn't we want to know how to hold it, use it, wield it and come to love it?
So yes, I do recommend this book. It may appear to be a book of the coffee table genre, but in fact you can use it as a resource and tool that will offer much more than a historical account of the culinarian's most common tool. You will learn a thing or two, and upping your knife skills, in my opinion, ups your good sense and good feeling in the kitchen. And I am all for that!