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eGullet Society staff emeritus
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Everything posted by Chad

  1. Well, you could start with the eGullet Knife Maintenance & Sharpening tutorial. It's a pretty good introduction to sharpening your knives yourself -- and keeping them sharp in between sharpenings. Finding someone else to sharpen your knives is like finding someone to cut your hair -- you can go through a lot of expensive mistakes before finding the right person. A real pro may or may not use a grinder. The really good ones will fix edge chips and major damage with a wet-wheel grinder or belt sander but do the actual edge by hand. If you don't have a place locally that specializes in kitchen knives, you might consider mail order sharpening. Dave Martell at D&R Sharpening in Philadelphia is truly excellent as is Bob Kramer at Kramer Knives in Olympia, Washington. You can't go wrong with either one and both are reasonably priced. Take care, Chad
  2. Doh! Late to the thread. Of course you need to know everything about the worlds oldest tool . Who doesn't? How-to, history, anthropology, wacky anecdotes and touching stories -- you'll laugh, you'll cry, it will become a part of you. "Why, yes, Oprah, I'd love to show the audience how to slice that." Bwahahahaha! Oy, back to the keyboard and cutting board. Take care, Chad
  3. I just realized that my reply seemed like a direct response (and challenge) to your post which immediately preceeded it. Sorry 'bout that. I meant it to be more general. I agree that a good slicer is a great thing to have. I also agree that a good boning knife is a nice thing to have. This thread started, however, with the idea that JohnSmith was looking for a "good, cheap set of knives." I'm suggesting that rather than buy a cheap set, he spend the same amount (about $60 as I recall) on one good knife and then build from there. While doing everything with a chef's knife isn't as convenient as having a dedicated slicer, boning knife or cleaver, it's still better to have one really good knife than four or five crappy ones. Take care, Chad
  4. Not a bad article. Nice intro to Japanese knives, both traditional and western-style. The gyuto is the equivalent of a chef's knife. You can do anything with one. They differ from the German knives we're used to seeing in a couple of major ways. They don't have as much belly as a German knife, but a little more than a traditional French knife (like the Sabatiers), which are more triangular in profile. Most important, though are the weight, steel and edge geometry. Gyutos are significantly thinner and lighter than their German counterparts. For example, I just did a quick check of a couple of knives in my rack at the moment. The German-style 10" chef's knife is 13oz and 5mm at the spine. The 270mm (10.6") gyuto weighs in a 9.5 ounces and 2.25mm at the spine. That lighter weight makes a huge difference when you're going through a case of beets or dicing 25lbs of apples (which I did last week). Gyutos also don't generally have the full bolster of German-style knives, which makes sharpening them much easier. As an aside, the notion that a full bolster is a sign of quality is pure marketing bullshit. The bolster is a side effect of the drop forging method, nothing more. German makers tout the bolster as a way of balancing the weight of the blade, but that's just as easily accomplished by changing the weight of the tang or handle. Bolsters are evil. The steel in a gyuto is generally going to be of higher quality and be significantly harder than the German or German-style equivalent. Many, like the Shuns and Hattori/Ryusens, have a VG10 core at 60-61Rc wrapped in layers of softer stainless steel. The softer steel gives the knife added toughness to make up for the slight brittleness of the core. My 270mm Masamoto is pure VG10, a stainless ubersteel that I absolutely love in the kitchen. Other gyutos are high carbon steel and are not stainless. They require a fussier level of maintenance but are great performers. Some, like the Tojiro DP line, have a hard, high carbon core with a jacket of stainless so only the edge takes a patina. All of them have much higher carbon levels and are much harder than their German or German-style counterparts, which come in at 54-56Rc (generally). The added hardness of the gyuto allows the edge to be much, much thinner, which raises the performance level of the knife greatly. It also makes gyutos harder to sharpen. If you're used to just swiping your knife down the steel a couple of times, you're in for a rude shock. The thin, hard edge of a gyuto is prone to chipping if steeled with a western style grooved steel. They need a high grit ceramic to align and lightly hone the edge. Sharpening by hand takes a lot longer, too, and the hard steel hangs on to the burr/wire edge more tenaciously than the softer German steel, which can be extremely frustrating. One exception to this generalization is the Chef's Choice line of knives. They are made of a higher quality steel than most German-style knives and are hardened nearly to the level of the Japanese gyutos. They are excellent performers, though the edge is a little obtuse for my taste. Hope this helps, Chad
  5. Yup, all of the Tojiros are real bargains. If you are interested in western-style Japanese knives, you might also take a look at JapaneseChefsKnife.com. They are in Japan but shipping to the US is only $7 and your stuff arrives startlingly quickly. They generally have great prices on everything. You do have to negotiate a clunky and slow website, though. That seems to be the case with most Internet knife stores. Fit and finish on the Tojiros is said to be somewhat variable. The three I have on hand at the moment are all excellent, easily rivaling any big name German brand. However, the one thing the Japanese makers are going to have to get better at, though, is finishing their knives to German standards. I have a couple of $200-$350 knives where the handle slabs aren't smoothly blended into the tang, the bolster is sharp edged and pokey and are the knives are just plain uncomfortable to use. That's why God gave us Dremel tools . That sloppiness is just not going to fly with the Williams-Sonoma crowd, even if the performance of the knives is head and shoulders above just about anything out there. Take care, Chad
  6. <shrug> Dunno. I've spent the last couple of weeks in the prep kitchens of a couple of high end restaurants. Nothing but chef's knives in sight. I've done everything from fine brunoise to skinning and portioning 50 pounds of snapper and salmon each morning and never touched a slicer, parer or anything else. All of this is done with knives that are significantly worse than what's found in the average eGulleter's kitchen. The prep cooks love it when I bring my knives in. You definitely don't need a heavy cleaver. Even a soft edged Wusthof or Henckels will cut through a chicken's ribcage with aplomb and need little, if any, touchup. A harder edged gyuto, unless it is bizarrely thin, will not even notice the difference between the ribcage and the softer breast meat. If you are cutting through hocks or trotters you'll probably do what real butchers do and use a bandsaw. It's just not the sort of thing you do at home. As for boning knives, I use a 4" paring knife or a 10" chef's knife with the same results. The paring knife is a little easier on weird pocket joints, but that's about it. I have a couple of Japanese honesukis -- poultry boning knives -- that have a very slight advantage around the shoulder and thigh joints where there is more connective tissue, but not enough advantage that I'd recommend that someone on a budget buy one. You can get the same results with a paring knife with relative ease. You also don't need a dedicated slicing knife. They are indeed nice to have and I love my Chef's Choice 9" Granton edge slicer, but you can get by quite easily without one. The MAC bread knife/slicer and Wusthof SuperSlicer both have a reverse scallop pattern and do double duty as bread knives and slicers better than just about anything else out there. You can have as many knives as you like. I currently have about 40 on my countertops and in various storage systems, more if you count the Chinese cleavers. I love them. I really enjoy having a wide variety of knives to play with. But if I were in the classic "dessert island" scenario I could get by quite easily with just one knife. As a matter o' fact, I have to remind myself that my job at the moment is to test knives so I need to spread the workload around. Otherwise I'd just reach for my favorite and use one 270mm gyuto for just about everything. Take care, Chad edit: spellig
  7. Actually, it was Cutco and not Chicago Cutlery. Anybody like Cutco? ← Well, if you can ignore: the very cheap, low carbon steel the "double D" edge that has to be sent back to the factory to be resharpened the hideously inflated prices the deceptive recruiting practices that have earned them lawsuits from three different state attorneys general, and the exploitative and cultlike marketing program, you have . . . well, knives that aren't any better than the no-name stamped garbage you can buy at any grocery store. Friends don't let friends buy Cutco. Hell, I wouldn't let anyone buy Cutco. Chad
  8. I forgot one of the "bargain" contenders -- the Warther's knives. These are pretty odd looking, but the steel is excellent. If you can get past the mid-60s metal shop finish (it's called engine turning and was very popular among watchmakers in the 20s and 30s) and the basic, functional handle slabs, they're pretty damn good knives. Especially for $58 for the 9" chef's knife. Packaging is atrocious and dangerous. Mine came with the tip of the knife poking through the side of the box, and I'm not alone. Among several folks who've ordered these knives, they've all come this way. Your postman or UPS person will hate you. In spite of all that, the D2 steel and blade geometry are unique. I've never run across anything like them. The D2 steel is a point shy of being "stainless" but it is extremely stain resistant (11-12% chromium versus the technical 12-13% chromium requirement for "stainless). It has 1.4 -1.6% carbon (versus .4-.6% for the big name German knives), a good percentage of Moly and a very nice Vanadium content. In short, this is some serious kick-ass steel. It is usually hardened to 59-60Rc, but I don't know what the Warther's folks take it to. Feels about like 59-60% to me but without further testing I can't say for sure. Mine came with an overly obtuse edge that was slightly rolled. However, both problems were easily and quickly remedied. The obtuse edge was about the same as the big name showpiece knives. The rolled edge was annoying but straightened out with a couple of swipes down a high grit ceramic steel. After that, I ended up with a well crafted (yet ugly, in my opinion) chef's knife with great steel. So it depends on what you're looking for. If performance and steel are more important than looks and conspicuious consumption quotient, then the Warthers could be serious contenders. Take care, Chad
  9. We're moving shortly, so I'm desperately clearing out the freezer. I've done the basic pork sausage from Charcuterie, but with triple the garlic in both link and loose form, smoked bacon and the chicken/basil/tomato sausage. The chicken sausage is amazing. We've had it in a variety of forms but the best is homemade pizza -- hands down. For the dough 22oz bread flour -- 5 cups if you use the spoon & level method, 4 cups if you use the scoop & sweep-against-the-side-of-the-bag method 1 Tblsp honey 3-4 tsp kosher salt (2 tsp table salt) 1 pkg yeast or 2 tsp instant yeast 3 Tblsp olive oil 1/3/4 cups water (70-110 degrees F) Mix on 2 on KitchenAid stand mixer with dough hook for 4 min. or until the mixture forms a coarse ball. Let rest 5 min. Then mix 2 minutes longer or until the dough cleans the sides of the bowl. I've had the best luck dividing this dough into 2 pizzas or 5-6 calzones, so, if making pizza, divide dough into 2 equal pieces, coat with olive oil and let rise for at least 1 hour & degas (punch down gently). For even more flavorful crust, refrigerate overnight & let the dough sit for at least an hour before rolling out. For the Sausage I don't do much other than give it a quick saute in a pan. I don't want it to overcook and lose flavor or get grainy. The chicken/basil/tomato sausage needs to reach a temp of 160, but it certainly doesn't need to go too much over that, so I prefer to saute gently until just under, trusting to carryover and oven baking to do the rest. For the Sauce I generally use San Marzano tomatoes w/basil & puree them with a stick blender, but you can use your favorite tomato sauce recipe or even jarred sauce (the Barilla brand doesn't suck). Just disperse lightly around the 14" pizza round you've rolled or cajoled out of each section of dough. You've preheated your oven to 500 or 550, right? You have a pizza stone, right? If you don't have a stone, change "peel" to "sheet pan" and you'll be in great shape. Coat your peel with semolina/polenta to act as tasty ball bearings for transfer. Roll out or press out the dough to slightly larger than the desired size. Transfer to the peel or sheet pan. Slide the peel or sheet pan around to make sure the dough isn't sticking. That's a major pain in the ass and will necessitate serious oven cleanup. Trust me. Make sure your dough round will slide around on the peel or sheet pan. Give the dough round a light coat of sauce, add the browned (but slightly undercooked) chicken sausage & sprinkle on a mix of asiago, mozarella & parmesan, slide onto the stone & bake for 7-10 minutes until the outer crust is bubbly. If you don't have a stone, slide the sheet pan into the oven as-is an check in about 7-10 minutes. When everything is GBD (Golden Brown & Delicious), let cool, slice & serve. Works for me. Chad
  10. First -- and most important -- you don't need a set of knives. You need two, maybe three, tops. You'll need a chef's knife. I prefer 240mm/9.5" or 270mm/10.6" personally, but 8" is really the minimum. Anything less than that and you'll have trouble reaching all the way across a potroast. You may need a paring knife. I don't generally use one, but I also share the kitchen and having a 3" to 4" parer available helps distribute the work and promote marital harmony. A lot of people like them for small vegetables and fruits. Lastly, you may want a serrated bread knife. For a bread knife the general rule is to buy one like you're casting the male lead in a low budget porn movie -- you're looking for long and cheap . Go to the restaurant supply store and spend $9 for a 10" Russell, use it for a couple of years and replace it when it gets dull. Serrated knives are, by and large, throwaway items. The exception to the rule is the Wusthof Super Slicer and the MAC bread knife -- both have reverse scallops and are remarkable bread knives. The Forschner 40520 8" chef's knife is indeed the best bargain knife out there. The others you can pick up at restaurant supply places (Russell, Mundial, et at) are well and truly garbage with cheap, nasty steel and bad grinds. The Forschner, however, despite its weird Fibrox faux bolster, is pretty well made. It'll take and hold a decent edge. The examples I have on hand all came with the edge slightly rolled, requiring a quick touchup with a fine grit ceramic steel to set them straight. All in all, not a bad choice for a young cook starting out or as a second set of knives to outfit a beach house or lake cabin. If you're the adventurous sort, the Dexter Russell 8" cleaver is an amazing do-all kitchen knife. The steel isn't great, but the samples I have came with a good edge. I really like the wide blade for scooping. I'm surprised that the thin-bladed Chinese cleaver hasn't made further inroads into the bargain hunting cook's genre. The technique is a little different from standard chef's knife style, but the results more than make up for the minor effort to adapt to the cleaver's idiosyncrasies. If you're really adventurous (and live in a city with large Asian markets) try to find the carbon steel ChanChiKee cleavers from Hong Kong. They're about $35 and ugly as a bowling shoe but they cut like crazy with just a little work on your part. They sometimes come with the edge rolled, but a quick steeling will put that in order. They are carbon steel, so they take a patina which puts some people off. For cleaver techniques, watch Martin Yan or Iron Chef Chen Kenichi for inspiration. And, saving the best for last, the 8" Tojiro DP gyuto is the bargain of the century at $49.95. This is serious performance with a 60+ Rc core wrapped with softer, more ductile stainless steel. The Tojiros have been faulted in the past for inconsistent fit and finish, but the three I have at the moment were all excellent right out of the box. They come with a thin, screaming sharp edge that is hard enough to last a while before needing a touchup. Handle ergonomics are good and you'll get major style points in the kitchen when you whip one out. The Tojiros are the first steps into the major leagues of knife performance. Hope this helps, Chad edit to add links
  11. Thpppptt!! If you've ever seen me with tools, you'd say, "Hell, I can do that!" And it's true. If I, your average home incompetent, can sharpen knives anybody can. Chad
  12. Depends on the quality of the steel and your tolerance for maintenance . Harder steels can take thinner edges without undue levels of maintenance. Softer steels can't go quite as thin, but you can still take them down lower than the factory angles for improved performance. If you steel your knife regularly (on a smooth steel or fine grit ceramic, please -- not the grooved steel that comes with most knife blocks), you'll have less trouble with rolling, even with a thin edge. The 15/20 double bevel recommended in the tutorial is a very good kitchen compromise and has the added advantage of the angles being common to nearly every sharpening system on the market. I'm constantly experimenting with bevel and relief angles, so my knives are a mishmash of different edge angles. I currently have a 10/15 double bevel on my favorite chef's knife (VG-10 steel @ 60Rc) and it is holding up just fine. I have either 15 or 18 degree bevels on my paring knives. Most of them started at 15 degrees but are migrating to steeper angles as I steel them -- rather than resharpening them when they need it, I just steel them at a slightly higher angle to put a microbevel on the edge. It's the lazy way out, but it increases the MTBS (mean time between sharpenings) . Yup! Cool, huh? My usuba is at about 11-12 degrees total included angle. I've seen the Aritsugus. They are gorgeous knives. The carbon steel core on the honkasumi knives (and the cutting edge on the honyaki knives) is about 62-63Rc, so they can hold bizarrely thin edges. The Deba, being a butchering knife needs a steeper angle to cut through fish bones, but at 18 degrees included angle, it's still less than half what a comparable western cleaver would be. Take care, Chad
  13. Hmm, let's work the variables. It's a Wusthof, so that most likely means X50CrMo15 steel. Broken down, that works out to 0.5% Carbon (X), approximately 14% Chromium (Cr) and .5-1% molybdenum. It's a good kitchen steel -- high carbon (but just barely), highly stain resistant and with good carbide formers. On the downside, most Solingen manufacturers tend to treat their steel to 54-56HRC (Rockwell C hardness). This isn't bad, but it ain't great either. It is softer than I like. It is easier to sharpen at home, but doesn't hold its edge as well as harder steels. On the other hand, in a cleaver, toughness is more important than hardness. A little rolling of the edge is infinitely preferable to chipping. As for edge angles, the folks in Solingen tend to be very, very conservative. They set chef's knives at 20 degrees per side (which is about right for a splitting axe) and cleavers even more obtuse. Even with 54-56HRC steel you can go down to 10-12 degrees per side on a chef's knife with a vast improvement in performance with a negligible impact on maintenance. A cleaver (I'm estimating here, bear with me) can easily be set at 20 degrees per side or even steeper before needing an unacceptable level of maintenance. And, oddly enough, the easiest thing to do is to set a too-steep angle and then back off from there. If you start out obtuse and work downward, you may never find how sharp/acute you can get the edge angles. The real trick is to set an angle that is slightly too acute then back off a degree or two until it is stable in repeated use. So try starting at 15-18 degrees per side and see how that works for you. If you see chipping, indentation or impaction, change the edge angle to 18-20 degrees per side. It doesn't take more than a couple of minutes on something like an EdgePro, a little more on other systems. If you're doing this by hand on benchstones, just remember, a 1 degree angle subtends an arc of 1 unit at a radius of 60 units. The 1-in-60 rule is close enough for many purposes, particularly sharpening at low angles. The math is surprisingly easy. Divide your blade width by 60 to get 1 degree of angle lift. So, for a chef's knife 1.5 inches wide you'd divide 1.5 by 60 units for .025 as 1 degree of back edge lift. As 1 degree is impossible to hand hold and undesirable for an edge angle, go for a more realistic angle. So 5x.025 =.125 (1/8") for a 5 degree angle, .25 (1/4") for a 10 degree angle or 3/8" for a 15 degree angle. How wide is your cleaver? If the blade width is 3" the math would work out to .05 for 1 degree of spine lift, .25 (or 1/4") for 5 degrees of spine lift or .5 or 1/2" for 10 of spine lift per side for a 20 degree included angle. For 20 degrees per side, lift the spine 1" off the stone There ya have it, basic instructions for putting any level of edge on any knife or cleaver. Hope this helps, Chad edit: metallurgy correction
  14. Chad

    Gunter Wilhelm knifes?

    Wow...talk about plagarism! ← I've spoken with Paul Hellman at Gunter Wilhelm and come to an arrangement for use of the material. I'm not happy about how this happened, but he was genuinely apologetic so I'm willing to let it go. Chad
  15. Chad

    Gunter Wilhelm knifes?

    Well isn't that interesting? I did receive an email from someone from Gunther Wilhelm a couple of years ago asking to use some of the sharpening tutorial with modifications. Knowing that I might to try and turn it into something more, I didn't reply. Seems like a phone call is in order. Chad Update: I just checked. I did reply to them back in January 2004 that I didn't think it would work for them to use the tutorial.
  16. Chad

    Uses for a cleaver

    Like your mom, I tend to favor the Chinese cleaver. I find the western style cleavers too heavy for general use. For chopping meats, hard squashes (baton the back with a rolling pin) and bones, though, heavy cleavers are hard to beat. As for sharpening your cleaver, I'd just go about it as you would your chef's knife. I just put a new edge on an inexpensive Dexter Russell Chinese cleaver and found it pretty easy going. The only thing to keep in mind is that you want to maintain whatever belly might be there. The Wusthof is going to be somewhat wedge shaped and have fairly soft steel (54-56Rc, I believe), so it shouldn't be too hard to put a new edge on it. Before you do, though, check for a rolled edge -- it's just like checking for a burr (there's a photo in the eG class). Could be that you just need to hit it with a steel. For those of you who haven't dozed off yet, here is the elusive ChanChiKee Chinese cleaver from Hong Kong. They're pretty cheap, have decent carbon steel and make for a good intro to Chinese cleavers. This one looks like it's been dragged behind a truck for a while, but it should clean up nicely. If you have a large asian population in your area, you might find one of these at an asian market or restaurant supply catering to asian restaurants. You might have to ask for it, though. From what I've found, they tend to keep the carbon steel cleavers behind the counter or in a display case rather than out on the shelves. Dunno why. I learned about the ChanChiKees from Andy Lynn, a cleaver fan who has written an intro to cleaver usage at knifeforums.com. Chad
  17. Chad

    Uses for a cleaver

    Now this is a bit of a bummer to me, because I was seeking a cleaver specifically for whacking bones apart (although using it for the veg-chopping techniques you describe sounds like a lot of fun too). Again, for whatever it's worth, the blade on this thing is not what I'd call "very thin". At least to me, it looks pretty darn thick, and feels pretty substantial in the hand. It was also, admittedly, a damn cheap item (like $10). I suspect that knife mavens such as yourself would probably consider it a piece of crap--which it no doubt is. Given all that, I am tempted to try whacking chicken bones with it anyway. So--my question remains: what weight of cutting board should one be whacking on? (Yeah, I'm a tightwad--kinda comes with the territory of being on a real tight budget.) ← Ah, okay. I think I know what you've got now. And I think I've even got you beat on cheap! There are indeed various sizes and weights of Chinese cleavers. The thin, hard ones are specifically veggie cleavers, though they work well on protiens, too, just like a chef's knife. The thicker ones are indeed the kind of cleaver you were looking for. If it feels hefty enough to cut through bones, it probably will. The steel is going to be a bit soft, so you don't have to worry about chipping so much as rolling and indentation -- both of which are easily fixed by steeling. As for your cutting board -- stable is more important than thick. When whacking away, you do not want your cutting board sliding around. A damp towel underneath will do the trick. I'd go back to the restaurant supply place for one of those 1/2" thick NSF polyethelene boards (like this one). That should work nicely. Take care, Chad
  18. Chad

    Uses for a cleaver

    As I get deeper into the testing and research for my knife book, I find myself reaching for a Chinese-style cleaver more and more often. These things are great! I have four now with another on the way for comparison purposes. All are thin bladed cutting machines. If you have a Chinese style cleaver there are a couple of things to keep in mind: If you got a real Chinese-style cleaver, it's probably carbon steel rather than stainless steel. It'll develop a patina that distresses some people. Doesn't bother me in the least. In fact, the patina is a benign form of rust that keeps the more aggressive and damaging forms of rust from taking hold. Just be sure to dry your cleaver immediately after washing. Rinsing with very hot water will help the blade dry faster. Chinese-style cleavers aren't meat cleavers. They're not designed for whacking bones apart. They have very thin, very hard blades that are amazing on veggies but will chip out if you bang the crap out of them. You do anything with a cleaver that you would normally do with a chef's knife, and then some. Scooping with that big wide blade is great. It's like a combo knife and bench scraper. Cleaver technique is a little different. There is less belly than a chef's knife, so you can't rock quite as well. What you can do, however, is place the cleaver blade on the food to be cut and just nudge the blade forward (not down) a little. The weight of the cleaver and the thin blade will do the rest. It's an extremely efficient cutting stroke. Some Chinese-style cleavers are pretty heavy -- I have one that weighs in at 520g -- so they can be tiring to use for long periods if you don't figure this little trick out. Once you do, though, and stop trying to power slice down through the veggie or meat the way you would with a chef's knife, your speed and economy of motion increase dramatically. Hmm, a bit long winded. Sorry 'bout that. Thus endeth the cleaver lesson for today. Take care, Chad
  19. Weird. Could just be a copyediting error. There's no way that pancetta would cook through in the brief time that saltimbocca takes. I do about three variations on saltimbocca/chicken'n'prosciutto and -- as you've discovered -- every recipe out there calls for cured ham. As much as I love pancetta, there's no way I'd put it in this dish without cooking it beforehand. As an aside, I used to butterfly and pound my chicken breasts to a paillard, layer on prosciutto and then roll and tie them into chubby pinwheels o' goodness. Now I just butterfly, stuff & saute. The end result is just as tasty and I have more time to do a pan sauce -- deglaze with crisp white wine, add in some chicken stock or demi-glace*, reduce till it coats a spoon and add in a blob of butter (about a tablespoon). We spoon this over the saltimbocca, certainly, but mainly over the arborio rice I serve with it, which seems tailor made to suck up good sauces. Goes great with broccoli (trees with cheese), asparagus or sauteed green beans. Chad *When I don't have homemade stock on hand, I cheat. Fond de Poulet from More than Gourmet is pretty darn good and doesn't have that weird chemical aftertaste that many prepared stock bases have. About a tablespoon of this stuff in the deglazing liquid and dinner is good to go.
  20. Hmmm, perhaps something like this: Chad
  21. Today's moment of knife weirdness -- I'm trying to acquire a goniometer (yeah, tell me that doesn't sound like it involves a rubber glove and some lubricant). A goniometer is used for measuring edge angles. The Cutlery and Allied Trades Research Association (CATRA) has several models. The smallest (and cheapest) one is marketed toward one-man knife shops, knife manufacturing executives and serious hobbyists. Their brilliant marketing ploy? Call it the HobbiGoni. Oy. Chad
  22. Nonfiction is very different from fiction. Nonfiction sells on a proposal, which in my case was a detailed, chapter by chapter breakdown of what I was going to write about and who was going to buy it. So, I had a structure -- until the proposal sold . After that, my editor said, "We like this part, that part has got to go and this other thing should be a sidebar rather than a whole chapter," etc. . The real truth of the matter is that my editor is Harriet Bell, publisher of the Morrow division of HarperCollins. She is at the top of her game and has more Beard nominations than I've had hot meals. I absolutely trust her instincts. She has a vision for a tighter, more focused book that I just can't argue with because it makes so much sense. What we're putting together will be a category killer. If we do this right, every other knife book that comes after can only say, "Yeah, me too" because there will be very little new to add to the argument. That's the idea, anyway. Whether I can pull it off is another story. Keep your fingers crossed. So, how the book breaks down now is very different from the way it broke down when I wrote the proposal. And it will probably change again. I'm now mentally dividing the book into three sections -- choosing knives, using knives, and maintaining knives. That sounds simplistic, and, in fact, is simplistic, but it gives me a way to break huge amounts of information in to useable chunks. The history, anthropology, cool chef anecdotes, et al, have now become sidebars and pull-quotes. I'll add more detail as we go along. But that's the basic structure at the moment. As for writing strategy, I'm approaching this like the project manager of a huge construction project. I've got a mental Gantt chart that will make it to paper shortly with all my sections and tasks broken down into sub-tasks (and sub-sub-tasks) and merged into a timeline that should keep me on track. That way, if I'm stalled on one part I can jump to something else equally time-critical and keep things moving. I'm rarely this organized, but my completed manuscript (with all photography and illustrations) is due by February. I'm going to try to beat that by a month to allow some wiggle room for corrections, rewrites, extra interviews, etc., while keeping to the production schedule. Take care, Chad edit: hubris
  23. Kristen, I also have a custom Watanabe wa-gyuto. I love it. Fit and finish are excellent, the blade geometry is amazing and it cuts extremely well. Shin is a good guy to deal with. I'd say go for it. Take care, Chad
  24. Or you could just read Nick's post above mine, which is more complete and thorough! Chad
  25. Hi itch. Indeed many Japanese and non-Japanese chefs use carbon knives. Japanese carbon knives tend to be much harder (62-63 on the Rockwell C scale) than their western counterparts (54-58 Rockwell C). That allows them to be thinner and sharpened to a more acute angle. I have two carbon knives a Korin shiro-ko honkasumi usuba (usuba=single bevel vegetable knife; shiro-ko = Hitachi #1 white steel, honkasumi = high grade kasumi construction which is a hard carbon core forge-welded to a softer outer steel for strength and ductility) and a Murray Carter nakiri (double bevel vegetable knife). Both are wonderful and cut like crazy. They also require a fussy level of maintenance. Many chefs and knife enthusiasts are willing to make that tradeoff to get the performance of these knives. But you do have to rinse them after cutting acidic foods, dry them immediately after washing and maintain the edges on waterstones nearly daily to keep them in peak condition. Carbon knives will develop a patina with use. Many chefs will actually force the patina by leaving the knife in stuck in a potato overnight. The patina is a benign form of rust that helps keep more aggressive forms of rust from attacking the knife. Having a patina on the knife means that it won't look as clean as a stainless knife. It is perfectly safe, however, and, as far as I've been able to determine, perfectly acceptable to health inspectors for use in a commercial kitchen. Hope this helps. Take care, Chad
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