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The gift that revealed my inner foodie

Updated on August 19, 2014
ecogranny profile image

A long-time whole grain baker, Kathryn discovered the thrill and ease of cooking with whole, fresh foods decades ago. Still chopping!

Who knew a set of knives was all it would take to make me love the kitchen and cooking?

I'm the woman who for forty years blanched at the phrase "pot-luck." My idea of a pot-luck dish? A big bucket of take-out chicken. I didn't even like the stuff, but it always went fast at community meals.

At home, we took most of our meals out. It was cheaper than buying groceries we never bothered to cook.

Then I started thinking organic and paying attention to where my food came from. That narrowed my take-out choices to almost nothing. I had to cook.

Ugh! Or so I thought. That same year, my daughter and her hubby gave me my first set of knives. I know! Until then I used paring knives from the supermarket kitchen aisle. Bought a new one every few years when the old went dull.

How could I have imagined a set of sharp knives could make such a difference?

Cooking is three, four, maybe even five times as fast when you have the right knife and it is sharp. Slice, dice, mince, cut. It's all super easy. And the scents and colors! Cooking is sensual business.

Suddenly I was spending time in the kitchen, perusing recipes, watching cooking shows, and thinking about what I'd fix for dinner that night.

The note that came with the knives said, "Mom, these aren't the best knives, but they're better than that old paring knife. Maybe someday we can get you a better set."

I need a new set of knives, and this one looks just about right

Well, they were right. It's been several years, but that old set is worn out. I need a new one. I can't afford a master chef's set of knives, but this ChicagoCutlery Fusion 18-piece set with its honey maple block gets such good reviews--count 'em, 222 5-star reviews and only 5 1-star reviews--that it's my choice for next set. Besides, it's just so pretty.

(Hint, hint to any of my family members reading this. You can all go in together and it will cost less than supper at a drive-through.)

Who knew a set of knives would change my life and reveal an inner foodie? Today I write about food more than any other topic. I read cookbooks for pleasure and make up a lot of recipes on the fly.

All thanks to a the gift of a set of knives to the woman who always said she hated to cook. I love my kids!

The right cutting board ups the pleasure ante loads

Once I had those knives, my teeny, tiny little cutting board just didn't, well, cut it anymore. I did some research and settled on this handsome 20"x15" Boos reversible maple cutting board. It's so big I can chop several vegetables at once and mix and match them in their piles as needed.

John Boos RA02 Maple Wood Edge Grain Reversible Cutting Board, 20 Inches x 15 Inches x 2.25 Inches
John Boos RA02 Maple Wood Edge Grain Reversible Cutting Board, 20 Inches x 15 Inches x 2.25 Inches

If you're going to work with nice knives, you need a good-sized cutting board that responds well to all that cutting.

John Boos Butcher Block Board Cream, 5 ounce Tube
John Boos Butcher Block Board Cream, 5 ounce Tube

Every now and then, feed your cutting board a little cream and sugar, I mean beeswax, and it will last and last.

Norpro Stainless Steel Scraper/Chopper
Norpro Stainless Steel Scraper/Chopper

One of the best inexpensive purchases I've ever made for my kitchen, this little bench knife is indispensable for scooping your minced and chopped veggies into the skillet, bowl or kettle, and it does a great job cleaning up the bits when you're ready to clear the board.


Slicer? Paring knife? Chef's blade?

What's the right knife for the task, and how do you use it most efficiently? Alton Brown takes us through the most common kitchen knives and shows us how to make the most of them. Carve a roast, slice and dice a red bell pepper, or chop an onion into even bits.

Ever entertaining, Alton shows us the Knife Stuff with typical blustery, breezy humor

Got a foodie story to share? I'd love to hear it.

Any way you slice it, a good knife--the right knife--makes the job easier. Would you agree? What's your favorite kitchen tool?


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    • ecogranny profile image

      Kathryn Grace 3 years ago from San Francisco

      @RinchenChodron: You're welcome. Thank you for taking a look.

    • profile image

      RinchenChodron 3 years ago

      Yes, good knives can make a huge difference in the pleasure of cooking! Thanks for the recommendation.

    • ecogranny profile image

      Kathryn Grace 3 years ago from San Francisco

      @Elaine Chen: You will be thankful every time you use it, if you're anything like me.

    • Elaine Chen profile image

      Elaine Chen 3 years ago

      My best friend used to complain my knife when she come and prepare meals in my kitchen. Good knife is really makes job easier and save time. It's time for me to grab the quality one.

    • ecogranny profile image

      Kathryn Grace 3 years ago from San Francisco

      @Sable: I think I tried celeriac in a recipe years ago, but that image and the one about adaptive aids both come from other Squids whose articles were automatically featured here by Squidoo. I'm interested in learning more about celeriac as well.

    • profile image

      Sable 3 years ago

      I love the Chet's blade too . I'm glad to see you added a link to adaptive aids! And I've never tried celeriac... You? How do you use it! I love your posts!

    • smine27 profile image

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      Yep, a good set of knives is probably the most important tool in my kitchen.

    • ecogranny profile image

      Kathryn Grace 3 years ago from San Francisco

      @MaggiePowell: It's one of those "Doh!" moments for me, every time I think of all those years I got by with nothing more than a supermarket paring knife.

    • profile image

      MaggiePowell 3 years ago

      The right tool for the job makes any task easier... and more pleasurable. I can't imagine trying to prepare food without a decent set of knives.

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