In praise of a cheap knife

I happened upon this article last week. It claims that “a great knife costs no more than a food processor,” and features the five best knives the authors could find, ranging from $165 to $395.

Two things. One, my food processor isn’t the best, but it does the job and cost less than $40.  Now I’m curious about these $400 food processors. Am I missing something?

And two, do you know how many good knives I could buy for $165?  Eleven years ago, my uncle and aunt gave me the most amazingly awesome graduation present: a set of knives from a restaurant supply store.  I was just about to move into my first apartment, and left to my own devices I probably would have gone knife shopping at the Salvation Army.  So awesome!

Would I like to own a fancy knife? I wouldn’t mind.  But my white plastic handled knife has never disappointed me. It’s super sharp (I keep it that way with the steel that came with the set) and I use it every day.  On its own, it costs about $27 at a restaurant supply store.

I wish more people knew about restaurant supply knives.  It’s a knife. It doesn’t have to look good.  Down with cheap crappy knife sets! Function over form!

p.s. On Halloween, I use the pointed serrated knife to carve pumpkins, and the handle gets temporarily stained a pleasing shade of orange. It doesn’t bother me; orange is my favorite color.

7 thoughts on “In praise of a cheap knife

  1. my kick-ass knife that i use every day for quite near everything was bestowed upon me many years ago by a friend who reluctantly gave it up when a fancy new knife set was bestowed upon him and his betrothed in the ritual we call wedding gifts. i totally got the fair end of that deal. i have no use for no other knife! ahhrrr!

  2. I would definitely be pretty sad if I received a fancy knife set. I would be sad to give up my knives! I do have two fancy knives: a paring knife and a cleaver that are Wusthof, I think. I NEVER USE THEM. I have a bunch of paring knives and I reach for that one last. My favorite paring knives are 1) the one that came for free with my kitchen shears and 2) the one I bought for $2 at the grocery store in South Hadley my senior year of college (to cut up limes for gin & tonics).

  3. Well I have to say I have met many a cheap knife that made me mad an frustrated. Usually the ones that come as a set from somewhere like Target with the storage block included. Of course the condition someone keeps them in is a big factor. I think probably buying single “cheap” knives is a better bet. I do have a pretty good set of F-Dick made in Germany knives that my amateur chef uncle gave me. I LOVE them and try to take very good care of them. I have been known to bring them with me to other peoples houses if I know I’m going to be preparing food. I just can’t stand a bad knife. The restaurant supply is a great idea. I have a friend who cooks a ton and has terrible knives. I’ve been wanting to buy her one or two for awhile, but totally can’t afford something from a fancy kitchen store.

    As for food processors, I just inherited a Cuisinart from my In-laws. It has totally changed my relationship with food processors. I had many a cheap $30 food processor that I fought with and ultimately went without in a fit of purging kitchen stuff that I hated. I was food-processor less for 3 years because of an evil black-and-decker that had it out for me. I made due with my immersion blender, hand chopping and regular blender. Going from $30 crap to a Cuisinart is like going from a hand held mixer to a KitchenAid stand mixer. You can get the job done, but the ease and consistency behind a powerful motor is not taken for granted by me. And I do have my new Cuisinart to thank for helping me win the pie contest. My butter crusts have infinitely improved because of it.

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