A MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN!
YOU + YOUR CUTLERY = TRUE CULINARY LOVE
Whether your newfound interest in kitchen knives is inspired by a recent trip to Benihana or your decision to break up with Uber Eats and cook more at home, The Dowry is here to play matchmaker between you and your knife investments to create a long term, flavorful culinary relationship. With some short cutlery introductions, we’ll improve your chopping terminology and help you achieve the knife savviness of your dreams.
Let’s first get to know the anatomy of a knife! There are three main sections to a kitchen knife:
- Knife Blade: The sharp part of the knife (includes tip, cutting edge, spine and blade face in the image below)! Usually made of ceramic, metal or steel. The kitchen knife blade has six different bevel* options and can be forged** or stamped***.
- Bolster: A bolster is the mound of metal between the blade and the handle. The bolster gives your fingers a place to rest while you are using the knife, and makes the knife more comfortable to use and a bit more safe.
- Knife Handle: The part of the knife you hold on to (includes tang, rivets, butt in the image below), and can be made out of many different materials. It’s common to see knives with wooden handles but they can also be inlaid with bone, shell, and certain gemstones.
KNIFE BLADE LINGO
- Knife Bevel: The knife bevel is the angle that leads to the knife edge. It determines how sharp, durable and ultimately, efficient, the knife is. You can have a single or double bevel, and usually the smaller the angle the sharper the knife.
- Forged Blade: A forged blade is made of steel that is heated and pounded into shape. The process makes the steel stronger but less flexible. The blade holds an edge or stays sharp longer, and almost always have a bolster.
- Stamped Blade: A stamped blade is cut out of a piece of steel (like a cookie cutter). This knife is less expensive, doesn’t have a bolster or hold it’s edge long and tends to be quite flexible (good for your partner, less so for your cutlery).
- Granton Blade: Typically seen on a Santoku knife, a granton blade has small dimples on both sides of the blade to prevent food from sticking to it.
- Serrated Edge: A serrated or scalloped edge is only ground on one side and is very difficult to sharpen. Most knife professionals recommend replacing serrated knives once they become dull.
COMMON KNIFE STORAGE
- Wood Block: Depending on the design, a wood block can be a static piece of wood with specific slots for each type of knife in the set, or a rotating magnetic wood block that can hold and adapt to all the various knives in your collection.
- Magnetic Strip: This knife storage aesthetic is one we love. Especially if you have gorgeous knives with detailed handles and patina on the blades that are worth showing off [WARNING: This may not be ideal for a home with young children. Make sure you talk to them about safety].
- Drawer Insert and Dividers
- Knife Sheath
KNIFE PERFORMANCE vs. KNIFE STYLE
Performance refers to the knife’s sharpness and style refers to the knife’s shape, design, and how it fits in your hand.
We hope this information gives you the confidence you need to swipe right and invest in a healthy relationship with knives you can grow old with. Now you’re probably wondering which knives you should actually register for (some might not be right for you, it’s true).
We put together complete visual guidebook to kitchen knives with helpful information about each one. As you review the options, don’t swipe left in haste some knives will surprise you.
CLICK if you like making dinners that call for lots of chopped veggies. For example, stir fry, soups, stews, fruit or veggie salads or shish kabobs. The workhorse! Every working kitchen needs at least one chef knife. If you like cooking together it’s worth getting two; fighting over knives is a dangerous game!
CLICK if you make your own sauces, dressings and charcuterie boards, or chop up lots of toppings for salads, pizzas and fresh Tex-Mex dishes. We especially recommend this knife if you like cooking for larger groups of friends and family.
CLICK if you are always prepping and snacking on fruits and veggies. This knife might just become your fave in the kitchen. We recommend owning a few paring knives because these will be in constant use.
CLICK if you cook with large root vegetables like potatoes, onions, rutabagas, beets, yams, celery and turnips. The slightly bigger (sometimes scalloped) blade will make these dense vegetables easier to chop.
CLICK if you bake your own bread or buy baguettes and large loaves of unsliced sourdough and ciabatta from the bakery. It’s also a great choice for slicing sandwiches, bagels and large melons. We recommend this knife for all who like to bake. Nothing beats the sound of a good serrated bread knife as it cuts through shiny golden bread crust. A true ASMR moment.
CLICK if you own a grill. A good steak knife is a thing of beauty. You just can’t enjoy the perfect bite of prime rib, pork chop or grilled chicken if you are using a dull lackluster blade. We recommend steak knives for anyone who eats meat. A set of four makes a great gift for the foodie or the grill master (even if you’re a vegetarian you’ll use a steak knife to cut aubergine and portobello mushrooms).
CLICK if you cook with meat and trim off fat, remove skin, debone or filet the meat prior to cooking. We recommend a boning knife to trim and prep your meat just the way you like it, without wasting the good meat. If you’re a vegetarian, skip this knife.
CLICK if you cook roasts, ham and turkey. Nothing beats a good carving set when you’re aiming for perfectly uniformed slices at the dinner table. This is a great item for your wedding registry. Even if you only use it during holiday meals, it adds to the tradition and experience you offer your guests.
CLICK if you like tomatoes (or any soft skinned fruit or veggie). A tomato knife changes the game entirely. You will no longer butcher the fruit and vegetables that are super soft and sensitive. The tomato knife is the delicate knife of the bunch and makes the perfect wedding gift, hostess gift and housewarming gift.
CLICK if you like to chop. Period. Cleavers can slice vegetables, melons, meat and bones (and cut down bamboo). Check out Ziqi Li's impressive meat cleaver skills to make her own ground pork.
CLICK if you have a kitchen. You never want to use your office scissors in your kitchen and vice versa. You need to keep your kitchen shears for cooking only!
COMMON KNIFE SETS
Additions like the tomato knife, boning knife, carving knife, and cleaver are usually sold separately and may or may not have a slotted home in the advanced wood block set.
INVEST IN THE CARE OF YOUR CUTLERY
True in every relationship, you only get out of it what you put into it. Taking care of your knives will keep them in tip-top shape much longer and can be used for years! Beware ... you might be offending them without even knowing it. Follow these simple suggestions for a long lasting relationship full of mutual respect and appreciation.
- Use a cutting board: If your countertop is made of marble or granite, cutting directly on this hard surface will dull your blade. Always use a resilient wood, composite, or synthetic cutting board. The Dowry has a gorgeous selection of handcrafted cutting boards.
- Sharpener: If you know how to sharpen your own knife blades there are lots of good electric sharpeners out there. But we recommend taking advantage of the manufacturer's sharpening service, if offered. Well made knifes will often offer this service. The Dowry offers Lamson Cutlery's Sharp For Life program when you purchase their knifes!
- Honing rod: Honing rods can be steel or ceramic and do not actually sharpen the blade, but they straighten out the edge of the blade to make it seem sharper. Sharpening the blade usually means removing steel from the bevel and is done with a whetstone. Honing is just as necessary as sharpening!
BY THE POWER VESTED ...
Equipped with the proper terminology and a good idea of what you want, need and expect from your cutlery, you are now prepared to make the best decision for you and your household.
Cutlery can be an intimidating investment but there is really no alternative to holding a perfectly comfortable knife in your hand or the way your kitchen prep time will fly by with ease ... much like spending time with someone who really “gets” you.