The first time I took my paring knives to a knife sharpener, I felt almost embarrassed. These are cheap-o little things with plastic handles and stamped-metal blades. It seemed silly to hand them over for professional sharpening along with my big chef's knife.
I'd wager that paring knives are the real workhorse of many kitchens. I know my three spend more time in the dish drainer after being cleaned than they do in the drawer with the other knives. Cheap paring knives aren't that sharp to begin with, and months of slicing apples, cutting sandwiches in half, and sawing through plastic packaging (What? How do you get the plastic ring off the mayo jar?) don't improve anything.
The cost of sharpening these paring knives is probably equal to what I paid for them to begin with. But to me, it's worth it. I like these knives, and replacing them when they get dull seems wasteful. I'll also bet your paring knives will never be so sharp as when they're professionally sharpened. Those stubborn plastic rings on jars don't stand a chance.
In short: even the cheapest paring knives in our drawer deserve love, too. Go ahead and get them professionally sharpened.
(Image: Emma Christensen)