Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Sign in to follow this  
Chris Amirault

Are You a Knife Cook or a Pot Cook?

Recommended Posts

Is the question really, do you personally identify more with pots or with knives? Because to be honest, I don't feel a personal attachment to any of it. Not the knives, not the pots. To be sure, I like my chef's knife, and I use it every day, and keep is razor sharp to the best of my meager abilities. And I like my dutch oven, and my one good skillet. But I really don't feel an attachment to any of them. In a fire I'd be more likely to grab whatever was curing in the meat fridge, if that's the set up you want to go with. But I don't think that's the point; this isn't the desert island test. It seems to me that what Thorne's saying is that the two types of cooks are those who identify most with their knives or with their pots. And I still disagree with the premise that those are the only two options. I'm in it for the food. Period. The tools are... just tools.


Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Is the question really, do you personally identify more with pots or with knives? Because to be honest, I don't feel a personal attachment to any of it. Not the knives, not the pots. To be sure, I like my chef's knife, and I use it every day, and keep is razor sharp to the best of my meager abilities. And I like my dutch oven, and my one good skillet. But I really don't feel an attachment to any of them. In a fire I'd be more likely to grab whatever was curing in the meat fridge, if that's the set up you want to go with. But I don't think that's the point; this isn't the desert island test. It seems to me that what Thorne's saying is that the two types of cooks are those who identify most with their knives or with their pots. And I still disagree with the premise that those are the only two options. I'm in it for the food. Period. The tools are... just tools.

Bingo!


Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have skipped to the end because I suspect there is going to be some longer explanation of the question at the end, so:

Pots. I love the cast iron pots I have inherited from women of my family.

Now I will go nd read the replies.


“Don't kid yourself, Jimmy. If a cow ever got the chance, he'd eat you and everyone you care about!”

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Knives, no question.

I first sharpened a knife when I was about 8 or so and have been a student of

cutlery ever since The visceral extension of my hand that a sharp blade gives me is not unlike musicians with their instruments. i feel the slices slip down to dice and await their saute' .As I start to sweat and add salt and cracked black to the onion and carrot and celery,it's like a CMaj chord all in tune as the vapors and steam set a counterpoint to await the rib-eye to get his sear and symbolically return juices to the vegetal flavors .Once roasted then the rest that permits sauces and glazes to form and polymerize .Without a quality knife I am a assembling clod,

With one I feel like a composer but working in a field without limit

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I do safety for a living, so risking life and limb for kitchen implements would be hard to justify. The calculus would be different if you asked whether I would save my vinyl records, though . . .

Sigh. Okay, I’ll play by the rules. Assuming that insurance would cover replacing pots and pans, I would probably grab my gyuto. I can cook with any old pots and pans if necessary, but I hate working with crappy knives.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Is the question really, do you personally identify more with pots or with knives?

I agree that if the question is "which tools do you like better", it's trivial; I don't have any emotional investment in my cookware.

I figured he meant, which sorts of techniques do you identify with most: knife cooking or pot cooking? Which I guess would mean something like... swift precision or patience? I'm not sure, and I'm not sure the question really means that much.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But hewing to the topic rules,I'd grab a couple of pots that remind me of good times.

Pots or pot? One burns easier than the other. This would be a better question, though easier to answer.

.

If we're doing pot in the singular --- no worries. My brother, the extremely, um, laid back caterer can always oblige.

I'm lobbying for spatulas and sifters. I repeat: the knife/pot dichotomy doesn't hold.


Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, I like my knives. But like boyfriends, they come and they go. They're sharp and shiny and straight and feel good in your hand and work the way they're supposed to when they're new. But eventually even the best of them wear out and must be replaced.

My pots, on the other hand, are forever. I've hauled them around the world with me, which is no easy feat. You have to really care to do that.

They're a motley collection. Some I inherited from my grandmother. One from a favorite aunt. Several from garage sales. I never thought much about it until this thread, but now that I think back, I can hear myself bragging about them to dinner guests, friends and family: "Isn't that a great pot? I found it at an antique shop in the Philippines. I think it was originally Japanese."

There's a white enameled cast-iron casserole stamped "Made in Belgium" that was a wedding gift to my parents, back in 1940.

And a narrow, deep stew pot, with an odd-looking, outward-facing lip at the top, and two recessed handles, obviously designed for lifting, that swing up from the top of the lip. It was my grandmother's. It hung down inside the top of her old stove, handy for tossing in bits and scraps and clippings from whatever she was making. The idea was that you always had broth or vegetables or something simmering on the back of the stove. The stove was long gone by the time I came along, but she couldn't bring herself to toss that pot. And neither can I.

I love my functional knives, but there's not a single one I couldn't replace. Oh sure, it'd take a while for me to get used to them and for them to get used to me.

But my knives are not the 'characters' in my kitchen. My pots are. And I couldn't replace them.

Whether they're bubbling up a homey chili, or temporarily brightening my kitchen table with a bunch of fresh tulips, my pots please me and make me smile.

Maybe they might survive a fire. Maybe not.

But we're not going to find out.


Edited by Jaymes (log)

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My pots. But I'm more passionate about knives. It's because if all my cooking items were consumed in a fire I'd buy the same pots again if I could, but I don't feel as if I've found the one perfect knife for myself yet.

So essentially what I'm saying is that I would save my perfect little puppy, but leave my girlfriend, who I'm just not quite able to make it work with, to the flames.

I feel bad about myself.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, a particular pot for sure. One that my Mom gave me when I first got married as a little "hand me down" and one that I cooked with often when making family meals and teaching my kids to cook enough to feed themselves.

Pot cook I am.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd choose my pots. I have a very small kitchen, with very little storage space. Over the years I've whittled down my collection to just those pots I really love. (I gave some cast iron pots away and ended up scouring second-hand shops, etc., to replace them because I missed them so much.) Sure, they're replaceable, but not as easily as the knives. Old pots are old friends; new, shiny knives are new, shiny knives! :laugh:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I collect antique copper pots and vintage knives. I would stay with them and burn.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I pulled out "My Knife, My Pot" to give Thorne's choice a bit more context:

There is no doubt that I am a knife cook. While I may have always yearned for the right pot, I actually needed the right knife to find myself as a cook. Even today, if I reached under the counter and found my favorite pot missing, I would groan, yes, but I would have no trouble using another one. Take away my knife, however, and all my kitchen skills would go flitting out the window.

...

That utility knife isn't the only knife I use, but it is without question the source of my confidence as a cook. If I have it with me, I can make myself at home in any kitchen; with out it, I feel like a stranger in my own.

As you can see, it's no simple choice, knife versus pot. If you can get a hold of the book, do: the essay is one of his best.

ETA: The entire copyrighted article is available here.


Edited by chrisamirault (log)

Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
"There is no doubt that I am a knife cook. While I may have always yearned for the right pot, I actually needed the right knife to find myself as a cook. Even today, if I reached under the counter and found my favorite pot missing, I would groan, yes, but I would have no trouble using another one. Take away my knife, however, and all my kitchen skills would go flitting out the window."

Well, if I had any doubt, this proves it. I am indeed a pot person.

"Take away my knife," and I'll simply go buy another one exactly like it.

But "if I reached under the counter and found my favorite pot missing," I'd track down the culprit and use my new knife to explain to him all about how he's going to have to give it back.


Edited by Jaymes (log)

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Knives are personal.  Pots and pans aren't.

When I think of the items that No One Else Can Use or Clean, they're all knives.

Part of the reason for this are the facts that (i) it's a lot easier to f*ck up a $200 knife than it is a $200 saute pan; (ii) it's a lot easier to f*ck up a razor-sharp polished edge than it is a piece of cookware at any price; (iii) knives in general require much more maintenance than pots and pans; and (iv) anyone who takes the time and care to keep his knives maintained in pristine, razor-sharp condition is going to be a knife-nut who is heavily invested in his cutlery.

Me? I suppose I'd take my knives, although I am certainly a major cookware fanatic and definitely don't care more about my knives than I do my cookware. But many of my knives are custom made, and at least a dozen of them are from makers who no longer sell. So once those knives are lost, they're gone forever. I can always buy another Falk Culinair saucepan -- they're not going to stop making them.

With due respect, I think Thorne's premise is piffle.

Agreed. It's a bogus premise.


--

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the fire premise is throwing people off course. It is not so much what you value like an heirloom pot, knife or cookbook but the fact that some people need certain pots or pans to feel complete in their kitchen task and some people need a certain knife. Seems there are not a lot of people in the middle here at egullet. People seem to fall on one side or the other.

I've seen very good home cooks use knives that were dull and ill suited for the job but they move on like it's nothing and turn out some very tasty food. As long as they have that special roasting pan all is well. I feel very inadequate cooking in someone else's home using a plastic cutting board and a dull utility knife.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I think the fire premise is throwing people off course.  It is not so much what you value like an heirloom pot,  knife or cookbook but the fact that some people need certain pots or pans to feel complete in their kitchen task and some people need a certain knife.

I agree, but Thorne seems to be saying that there is a fundamental dichotomy here: that there are only two types of people, knife people and pot people. Regardless of the setup, that fundamental distinction is simply not true, in my opinion. It may well be true for "some people," but it's certainly not true for everyone, and I'm not even convinced it's true for the majority of cooks, or even the majority of eGullet cooks. I'm sure there are people who are indeed personally connected to a knife or to a pan, but there must be other people out there who, like me, like nice tools and would prefer to use them, but feel no deep commitment or attachment to them. I'm not a "knife person" or a "pot person," I'm a "food person."


Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Definitely pots. Some of them were my Mothers and hold great sentimental value. Some are gifts from my non-food obsessed husband who did lots of research on which ones to buy even though the topic bores him to death.

My knives are much more expensive and I'd be reluctant to shell out that kind of dough again but...still, pots for me.


Shelley: Would you like some pie?

Gordon: MASSIVE, MASSIVE QUANTITIES AND A GLASS OF WATER, SWEETHEART. MY SOCKS ARE ON FIRE.

Twin Peaks

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pot.

A knife is something I am holding in my hand and adjusting every second that I use it. Annoying as it is, I can use a mediocre knife, and at the very least, I can sharpen it.

A bad pot, on the other hand...nothing you can do about a pot or pan with a thin and dented bottom, a shaky handle, a badly- fitting lid, an unelpful size or shape. Sure, with experience you can guess what's happening inside that monster as your food cooks, but other than a flame-tamer and a bit of string for the handle, there's little you can do about it!

For example, I was given my pots when I turned 18, and bought most of my knives when I was 20. After a quarter century of wear and tear, I replaced a couple of knives with average quality mass-produced Japanese knives...and a couple of pots with the very best I could afford.

I can always buy another Falk Culinair saucepan -- they're not going to stop making them.

What makes you think that? :biggrin: My 18th birthday pots and pans were Scandina brand, and apart from composite handles that loosened sometime in their 3rd decade, they are as good as they ever were. But Scandina disappeared long ago.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Honestly, I don't own particularly expensive pots or knives. I'd probably just stand outside and watch everything burn rather than go in after anything as long as my family was out and safe.


Cheryl

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...