City Palate
City Palate - The Flavour of Calgary's Food Scene since 1993

The Entertaining Issue - November December 2017

Welcome to Your New Skill Set

SPRUCE UP YOUR KNIFE SKILLS TO IMPROVE YOUR CONFIDENCE, PRECISION AND EFFICIENCY

by Patrick Dunn

The Spine

Opposite the edge, the spine is the thickest part of the blade. Its overall thickness will determine the stability of your knife. You’ll be thankful for a thick spine when things like butternut squash or lobster come across your cutting board. Your free hand will also make use of the spine whenever you’re finely mincing herbs, garlic or chile peppers.

The Handle

Handles come in all shapes, lengths and materials, and there’s no one style that’s right for everybody. The most popular brand name in the world means little if it doesn’t feel right in your hand. Think about your hockey stick, tennis racket or ski boots, and the reasons you chose them. A larger hand will typically need a larger surface area on the handle, while the opposite is true for smaller hands. If the fit is uncomfortable, you won’t reach for that knife and you’ve wasted your money.

The Cutting Edge

This is the sharp, business end of things. Extending from the Bolster (heel), to the point, edges are ground down, when they’re being made, to unique profiles.

The Heel

Some heels are narrow, which works great for creating an air hole in your tins of olive oil (something no professional ever does, right?) and simplifies knife honing (sharpening). Others have been reinforced and are thicker, which can be great for breaking through denser bone joints and vegetables.

The heel also acts as a finger guard. Your final choice comes down to personal preference.

The Bolster (or neck)

Your grip is going to be spending a lot of time here. As your confidence grows with fruits and vegetables, you’ll earn your first merit badge with the development of a callus on the inside of your index finger. Having the proper grip here is like training to be a shortstop in baseball; you’re always close to the action and you’ll need to tough out the hard times (or hard vegetables).

The Tang

The tang is the metal part of the blade that extends into the handle, attached either by rivets, adhesive or held in place by friction with a formed wooden piece inserted over the protruding metal. Global Knives don’t have a tang, per se; rather, the knives are all one single piece of shaped steel, with golf ball-like dimples on the handles for texture and grip. You don’t have to be a trained chef in order to slice, dice and keep up with the professionals. An investment of time, a patient outlook, a good knife and the desire to improve are all that is required.

Read article in the digital issue of City Palate.