The Kitchn Cure Day 15: Sharp Knives and Wooden Utensils

The Kitchn Cure Day 15: Sharp Knives and Wooden Utensils

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Dana Velden
Sep 25, 2015
(Image credit: Henry Chen)

The Kitchn Cure Day 15: Focus on your knives and wooden utensils.
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I'll cut straight to the punchline: The most important thing in your kitchen is the sharpness of your knives. I was going to add that maybe running water is more important, but after careful thinking, I still come back to sharp knives. You can haul in water if it comes to that, but you can't cut a tomato with a dull knife. So in honor of this revelation, today we're going to focus on our knives and cutting boards — and while we're at it, we may as well throw in all our other wooden utensils.

I don't think I have to explain how important and happy-making it is to keep your knives sharp. Those who already do it don't need to hear it, and those who don't will quickly be converted. I do want to raise caution about post-sharpening mishaps. If you're used to a dull blade, proceed carefully the first few times you use your newly sharpened knife — it's a whole other beast, and if you're not used to handling it, you can potentially cut yourself. That said, sharp knives are much safer than dull ones because they require less pressure to execute the cut. Once again, pay close attention and you'll be fine!

Sharpen your Knives

If you don't have the equipment to sharpen your knives at home, seek out a reputable knife sharpener in your area. Gather together all of your knives and bring them in. Job done!

  1. To sharpen your knives at home, follow Emma's tutorial.
  2. To keep your knives sharp in between sharpening, remember to hone them. Don't have a honing tool? Then add it to your shopping list. It's a must-have for any serious (and not-so-serious) cook.

Clean and Condition Your Cutting Boards and Other Wooden Utensils

Since we're giving our knives some love, we should also take care of our cutting boards.

  1. For plastic cutting boards: Make a paste from 1 tablespoon each baking soda, salt, and water. Scrub your plastic boards and rinse with hot water. Let drain until dry.
  2. For wooden cutting boards: Use the salt and lemon method, followed by spoon butter, as outlined in this post. (These days I like to use coconut oil instead of sunflower oil for the spoon butter.) I often do this in the evening, letting the spoon butter soak in overnight and wiping away any excess the following morning.
  3. While I am at it, I also condition all my wooden spoons, pestles, and other wooden cooking tools with the spoon butter. This conditions the dry wood, helps to prevent cracking, and makes them look gorgeous.

Weekend Projects

Are you on a roll and want to keep going? Then here are a few tasks to keep the momentum over the weekend.

  1. Sort through your kitchen towels, cloth napkins, and hot pads. Toss (or turn into cleaning rags) any ones that are tattered and stained. Wash and dry if needed (hot pads are usually in need of a good wash) and return everything to drawers, neatly folded.
  2. Sort through your tea collection. Toss old teas. Put any opened teas into airtight jars. Arrange selection according to use.
  3. Sort through and purge your junk drawer.
  4. Sort through and purge your plastic containers. While you're at it, take on your aluminum foil/plastic wrap drawer, too!
(Image credit: Henry Chen)

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(Image credit: Dana Velden)

Find Dana’s Book:

Finding Yourself in the Kitchen: Kitchen Meditations and Inspired Recipes from a Mindful Cook by Dana Velden

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