Dice, Chop, Slice
A Guide to Knives
The array of kitchen knives available is pretty awesome. From light paring knives to heavy cleavers, it is easier than ever for today’s wielder to learn the cutting edge techniques, and become better cooks.
The structure of the knife consists of a metal blade, with a tang protruding off the back end. A handle is fitted to the tang for grip. From the front of the knife to the back we have the tip (the pointy front), following along the sharp edge you round the heel of the blade, and move up the bolster, which is the rear edge of the blade that creates space between the handle and the edge. Then you hit the handle, and return along the spine of the blade to the tip.
A chef's knife is the most commonly used style of kitchen blade in the west. The chef's knife is about eight inches long, and was originally designed for cutting beef. It has since come to be the most popular blade style for most ingredients. This is because of its versatility. The blade is about 1.5 inches wide, which allows for some good chopping action, while the long edge makes slicing a breeze.
The best knives are forged. That means the steel is heated up and bashed into shape (think old-school blacksmith). More economical blades are cold cut from sheets of steel, then tempered with heat before being sharpened and polished.
However great or measly your knife collection is, tending to and practicing with the knives you already have is the only way you will ever get to the next level.