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Giving a Good Knife


Eastgate
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My niece's bridal registry lists a CALAPHON 'KATANA' 8-PIECE CUTLERY SEt.

I'm tempted, instead, to get her a knife block, a really good chef knife, and a steel. In my experience, you don't need 8 knives; you need a good knife.

But: she doesn't do (much of) the cooking; her husband to be does. I have no idea who does prep in their house. Should I go with what they did, after all, pick out?

And if I stick with buying a good knife for someone else, what size? (Sure, they can take back the 10" knife I buy and exchange it for an 8" if they want, but it would be nice to get it right)

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I think knife preferences are very personal.  How about a gift certificate to a good knife store so she can pick out what feels good to her?

On the whole I agree BUT someone who has never had a really good knife is not likely to buy one in my opinion. If you give them a good knive, even if it's not ideal for their particular hands, then I think you will have done them a favour. I lived with cheap, useless knives for years and always thought my money would be better spent elsewhere - How WRONG I was!

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

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I agree. I think everyone should live with crappy knives at some point, and then they'll REALLY appreciate the step up...

So we finish the eighteenth and he's gonna stiff me. And I say, "Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know." And he says, "Oh, uh, there won't be any money. But when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness."

So I got that goin' for me, which is nice.

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Are your niece and her husband people like us who care about food and cooking, or are they normal people like most of the world's population?

If they're part of the majority, just get whatever is on the registry and shut up about it. You're not going to get anywhere with an alternate strategy, and you'll just become one of the annoying people who felt he was too good to buy what they put on the registry. By registering, they've already told you what they want, so if you're planning to go against that you need to have a serious case to make. Remember also that if you don't get those knives someone else will.

If they're legitimate food lovers or food lovers in the making, however, you should talk the issue through with them. Just come right out with it: I noticed you put this knife set on your registry. I'd be happy to buy it for you. However, I don't necessarily think it's a good choice. I don't wish to be the annoying relative who tries to impose an unwanted gift on you, so please don't feel any pressure here, but I'd be equally happy to buy you a first-rate knife starter setup from a professional cutlery source, and offer you some advice on how to use it. Your choice.

Something like that.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
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I'd let someone else buy the set they listed, and I'd give them a Kyocera Ceramic paring knife.

I gave these knives as Xmas gifts a few years ago, and everyone from beginner to semi-pro cook was impressed.

SB (willing to get married for a KT-155-HIP-D zirconium carbide "black" 6.25" Kyot Series Chefs Knife) :rolleyes:

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Why not give a high end knife sharpening system?

Edge Pro

woodburner

No no no, that knife sharpening system will never get used. Not likely, anyway. If anyone gave me anything like that when I first got married, I'd've put it on e-bay really fast.

I noticed the knife block for this set is a pretty wierd (and needlessly complex) shape. You could get that block by itself, and a good knife and steel. But as someone said knife preferences are very personal. Some people love Santoku's and some people hate them.

At this point in my life I have a collection of wonderful Japanese knives. But they are an acquired taste. I would not have known how to treat them back in my youth.

If it's what they want, why not get that? Then you can show them how to sharpen them on a $20 stone.

*****

"Did you see what Julia Child did to that chicken?" ... Howard Borden on "Bob Newhart"

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I think I'd get them what they asked for. If they're not into using good knives, they may not want to go to the trouble of maintaining a really good one. It would be a shame to walk into their house 5 years later and find out that they either hadn't used it, perhaps saving it for a special occasion, or that they'd been using it and had never done anything to maintain it.

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My niece's bridal registry lists a CALAPHON 'KATANA' 8-PIECE CUTLERY SEt.

...

Should I go with what they did, after all, pick out?

My advice is to get them what they have on their registry iff you want to get them the knives, but don't get a different set. If you go ahead and buy another knife set or a couple of knives someone else will buy what's on the registry and then they will have too many knives as gifts. (Can one really have too many knives?). I've learned this the hard way myself. My gift was returned. I stick to registry items if the type of gift I want to give is on the list. If I want to give something else I make sure there isn't a like item on the registry list.

My soup looked like an above ground pool in a bad neighborhood.

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You know, it's funny. I grew up in house full, a family full, a universe full of people who could cook. Gorgeous kitchens, from the simple but infinitely practical farmhouse kitchen of my grandmother to a technological wonderland of a kitchen that is my mother's (for example, she had the first Cuisinart that I, or anyone else in North Louisiana had ever seen-still has the damned thing).

One thing that I had never seen, however, was a decent knife. I didn't know this, of course, as they would take down whatever inferior cutlery they had and have the sharpening guy shine em up pretty regularly.

As a wedding gift I recieved a 3 piece set of carbon steel Sabatiers. It was like seeing daylight for the first time. They were just a world apart from anything that I have ever touched. I still have two of them (the paring knife ended up in my tackle box and eventually in the Gulf of Mexico). That 12" slicer is still, today, my favorite all purpose knife. I use it all of the time. You could do major surgery with the thing. A few whacks on the steel and you are slicing and dicing with the precision of that Ginsu Guy on TV.

I say, buy them the knife. They might not want it now, but once they use it a while (especially if they get the other junk to use as a comparison) they will long appreciate it.

I got a crazy amount of stuff when I got married, and as some of you might know, you kind of forget over the years who gave you what. I can tell you though, that Colleen Reeves, my mother's college roomate at Baylor, gave me those knives and evertime I see her, which isn't that often except for funerals and weddings, I tell her thanks. I'm sure that she doesn't remember it, but she always tells me how glad that she is that I enjoyed them-for the last 23 years.

Buy the good one. Who knows? They might remember it 20 years from now.

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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This might be going a bit overboard, but could you get them both? That way, they get what they wanted from their registry, and you get to say, "Hey, I have one of these knives and I really love it. I noticed you put the knife set on your registry so I'm assuming you want to use good knives to cook with. Try this one out and tell me how you like it." or something.

-Sounds awfully rich!

-It is! That's why I serve it with ice cream to cut the sweetness!

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Do NOT give them crappy knives! You will regret it.

I gave a gift of a "Henckels" knife set/block for a friend (while not a "foodie", he does most of the cooking) who was getting married. Even though the knife set had the Henckels name on it, the set was quite bad and I hear about it every once in a while from my friend. :angry:

Follow Fat Guy's advice and you'll all be happier for it.

edited for spellling

Edited by Toliver (log)

 

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Have you heard bad things about the Calaphon 'KATANA' knives? I know they are marketed as high-end knives, but had not heard they were bad.

I just bought two 'cheap' oxo good-grip knives just to try them out (I love oxo products), and I am very impresses with their out-of-the-box sharpness, I guess I'll see how long the edge holds up.

Anyway, I guess I'm saying that there are a lot of pretty good knives out there, as long as it's not some piece of crap then how much you like holding/using it seems the most important part.

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If they're legitimate food lovers or food lovers in the making, however, you should talk the issue through with them. Just come right out with it: I noticed you put this knife set on your registry. I'd be happy to buy it for you. However, I don't necessarily think it's a good choice. I don't wish to be the annoying relative who tries to impose an unwanted gift on you, so please don't feel any pressure here, but I'd be equally happy to buy you a first-rate knife starter setup from a professional cutlery source, and offer you some advice on how to use it. Your choice.

Something like that.

Yeah, they may have also felt bad about the price of nicer knives...I know I sometimes look at certain registries and am agape at the lack of options under $200 or even $300.

"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

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Nice to see you. Devil's Advocate here. I got my mother a 4-star Henckels (I'm pretty sure it was 4-star) 10-inch chef's knife for a Christmas gift a few years back. It's a much higher quality knife than any my mother had before I got it.

It only gets used when I visit.

I do not regret giving her the gift at all. However, it was not appreciated nearly as much as I thought it deserved.

I always attempt to have the ratio of my intelligence to weight ratio be greater than one. But, I am from the midwest. I am sure you can now understand my life's conundrum.

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Check the registry. If they don't have a steel and at least a whetstone on the list, ask them if they'd like those tools and some lessons in how to use them. A less expensive knife that's kept up properly will cut just as well as a more expensive one. That way you're giving them the option of a really useful long term tool, *and* giving them the chance to have the sharp knives they deserve :).

Emily

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They could do far worse than have Calphalon Katanas (which comes with a god awful "diamond sharpening steel", get them a better one.) on their registry. Let me guess, they are registered at BB&B?

If they have no knives, or cheapo crap like Farberware or whatever Ron Popeil is hocking, then those Katanas will be a major step up. Those knives are decent knives, a little above the Spanish made Henckels International Classic line (not the piece of shit "Eversharp" line that Henckels unfortunately makes. What garbage!).

Think of it like a "gateway drug" :laugh: , they get some knives that are decent then a few years down the road, they'll be coming to you, wild eyed, shaking and sweating demanding you get them some Hattoris and a custom Murray Carter :laugh: ...actually, that's scary, but you get the idea.

Gear nerd and hash slinger

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As people said you will run into issues with not getting what's on the registry and getting something in essence already on the registry. They are not getting 8 knives...they are getting 5 knives, shears, steal and block. Three of the knives are close in size that could be considered duplicates but the variety in the set is not bad. The set itself is not bad either. I've never seen or held them but from what I've been able to gather they're close in quality and material to Shun classic which are good knives.

If it were me, if I felt close to my neice, I would tell her to take the knives off the registry as I will be getting them something much better. If she insisted on those and those only then fine, get them. But if she and her fiance just picked them because they look nice then removing them will not be a problem. It's very likely they chose them out of convenience and not from doing some research on their quality compared to all other knives out there. So assuming they're game for taking them off, I would get them four Tojiro DP knives and a small block from HERE. The choices I would make are Petty 120mm, Santoku (for her), Gyuto 240mm (for him) and a Garasuki. That totals $230 then you have room for a small block and a sharpening stone and/or steel. Me? I would not get a stone or steel. I would just offer to sharpen them once a month for them. If she does all the cooking, then drop the santoku and get a 210mm gyuto instead of the 240mm. These are very light knives so longer doesn't mean big difference in weight or balance.

If you want to go the easy route, then just get the set as it's not bad. But I think you should ask them to take the set off their registry and get something a lot better, not just marginally better.

Bob

My Photography: Bob Worthington Photography

 

My music: Coronado Big Band
 

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What I would do is to get them a nice chefs knife, and maybe a paring knife. These will hold up to the years of abuse that they will endure before their owners realized the treasures they really are. They can then be restored, and you will again be a hero. Best of luck.

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