You need a good knife. A sharp, high-quality knife is an essential tool in any kitchen. Knives come in a wide variety of styles, sizes and materials. They can range in price from a few dollars to hundreds of dollars. While price is not always an indicator of quality, a good knife should be viewed as an investment. If treated well, it can last for many years, and some knives even get better with age.
You want a blade that will maintain a sharp edge for a long time. You should also make sure to keep your knives cutting well with some sort of sharpener. Sharpness directly affects how well the knife cuts, of course, but it is also a safety factor. People often apply more pressure when cutting with a dull blade, which increases the likelihood of it slipping and cutting you instead. Don't neglect this; all knives (even those of the highest quality) do eventually get dull if they are not sharpened. Below, a list of some materials that go into making kitchen knives.
* '''High Carbon Steel'''
** The best material performance wise; it is very hard and tough.
** Tends to rust with use unless you dry it off immediately after washing.
* '''High Carbon Stainless Steel'''
** Most popular kind of steel for cutlery.
** Retains a sharp edge.
** High carbon content makes for a very hard blade.
** Dishwasher safe and can be left wet.
* '''Stainless (Surgical) Steel'''
** More chromium and less carbon than other stainless steel.
** Less expensive and rust resistant, but does not maintain a good sharp edge.
** Lighter and more flexible than steel blades.
** Resistant to rust and imparts no flavor to food.
** Extremely hard blade.
** Maintains a sharp edge for months, sometimes years, with no maintenance.
** More brittle, and must be sharpened with a diamond sharpener.
** Must be used on a cutting board, as it can cut through the glaze on a ceramic plate.
** Sometimes available in interesting colors.
** The tip will chip if not cared for properly.
You need to love your knife handle, or you'll never use your kitchen tool to its greatest potential. The construction of a knife's handle is as important as the blade and should not be overlooked when buying a knife. The handle gives support, stability and durability.
** '''Wood Handles''': Classic but not dishwasher-safe. Will eventually splinter and crack, leaving a breeding ground for bacteria.
** '''Plastic Handles''': Range from high quality to very, very cheap. A well-made plastic handle is your best bet for keeping the knife together and germs out.
** '''Metal Handles:''' Make for an extremely strong and durable knife. Keep in mind that some materials, especially metal, can be slippery when wet or greasy. A secure grip is important. Some knives with metal handles feature silicone "nubs" to provide a better grip.
** Some people prefer ergonomic, curved handles, others like the classic, straight handle.
** Whatever gives you a strong, firm grip on the knife and feels like you can hold on to it without slipping is the best shape for you.
** Your knife should also be comfortable so that your hand doesn't hurt after a half hour of dicing.
** The part of the knife blade that extends into the handle.
** A quality knife will have a full tang, giving it the proper balance and ensuring that the blade will stay put.
** Keep the tang inside the handle.
** A good knife has three rivets that are sanded flush with the handle, keeping the whole product more stable.
** Make sure the rivets aren't made out of a material that will rust.
** Often knives will be more expensive because they have a comprehensive warranty. Think about how much money you'll save by not having to buy new knives frequently.
A breakdown of the many types of knives out there to make sure that your kitchen set is complete.
'''Nice to Have'''
'''Unusual and Specialized'''
Electric knives are a different take on slicing. Many of these models are equipped with safety features to prevent cutting yourself and plus they make difficult chopping jobs a cinch. They come in various different blade sizes and are equipped with comfortable, non-slip grips for ease of use. They work well for a range of food items such as bread, poultry and meat. Below, two product recommendations.
These complete knife sets will fulfill all of your cutting needs and then some.