An Essential Gift for Cooks: The Pocketknife

Because they've somewhat fallen out of fashion, many cooks don't realize how important a pocketknife is to a culinary life. Sure we have our chef's knife and our paring knife safely ensconced in the home kitchen. But a cook should always be ready for whatever delicious opportunities are thrown her way and a pocketknife is essential for that readiness. Plus, a pocketknife is a thing of beauty and as such should always be encouraged.

Do you have a pocketknife? What do you use it for?

There are countless uses for a pocketknife. Just to name a few:

• Foraging mushrooms while on a walk in the woods
• All manner of foraging on a walk in the woods, actually.
• Opening oysters on the beach.
• Prying open nuts in an orchard.
• Harvesting a few vegetables or herbs while on a stroll through the garden.
• Slicing up an apple as you walk and talk with an old friend.
• Dozens and dozens of uses as a picnic implement.
• Anytime you're stuck in traffic with a car full of groceries and sudden hunger strikes.
• Filleting a just-caught fish on the beach.
• Opening a can of beans while camping, among dozens and dozens of other camping tasks.
• Spying a field full of wild fennel while on a car ride through the country and jumping out for a quick harvest.

Due to circumstances beyond my control, I do not currently have a pocketknife. This is a somewhat traumatic situation for me, so I did a little vicarious shopping on the internets and came up with this small selection.

Pattada Shepherd's Knife from Orvis, $79
Japanese Folding Knife from Best Made, $60 (currently on backorder)
Limited-Edition Case Canoe Knife from Orvis, $129.00
Opinel No 9 Carbon Steel Folding Knife from Opinel, $12.95
Single Blade Pocket Knife from Cooper-Hewitt, $99
Hand-Made German Anchor Knife from Garrett Wade, $39.70
Buck 110 Folding Knife from Amazon, $30.98

Related: Weekend Meditation: The Romantic Notion of a Pocketknife

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