How are your knife skills? If they’re anything like mine, they’re absolute bobbins. Although I have a cool 5-knife set in the shape of a man being stabbed five times, I only use one of the knives on a regular basis – the utility knife. I like this knife because it’s not scarily big like two of the others in the set and it’s not too small like one of the others. The remaining knife in the set – the bread knife – does get used now and then on bread because even I prefer to actually neatly slice bread with a knife with a serrated edge and not just drag a blunt butter knife into the bread, forming two misshapen lumps.
My knife skills fall into two categories:
1. Things I can use a knife for
- spreading spreadable things like butter, jam and pickle
- puncturing the tops of tomato sauce bottles
- opening paint cans
- dismantling the cordless Dyson to clean the roller brush
2. Things I am hopeless using a knife for
- finely chopping
- roughly chopping
- slicing thinly
- slicing evenly
I am in awe of these cooks and chefs you see on the telly chopping, dicing and slicing with the speed and skill of an orchestra pianist, while keeping their fingers and other sticky-out-bits intact. I have all the dexterity, speed and skill of a toddler with a tambourine and the only reasons I don’t buy the ready-sliced, diced and chopped fruit and veg in the supermarket are because of a) price; b) freshness; and c) the erroneous assumption that it’s for lazy bastards.
I used to be among those who thought the ready-sliced, diced and chopped fruit and veg was purely for lazy bastards who couldn’t be bothered to chop an onion until someone pointed out it’s great for people with arthritis or other mobility/dexterity issues and, so although I don’t personally buy it, I no longer walk smugly past it thinking, ‘ha, I’m not a lazy bastard – I can (badly) chop an onion myself, thank you very much’.
If you’re like me and have no knife skills, you need this infographic by Daniel Scott Kitchens. I especially love the tips for the cherry tomatoes, and the butternut squash (spoiler: put the squash in the microwave first. I usually put it in the oven for about half an hour to make it choppable. Putting it in the microwave will be so much quicker and cheaper).