Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Red Knife

I LOVE a great tool.

Get your mind out of the gutter! I'm a maker. Tools are my best friends.

I was just re-reading my post from last night. I didn't get far before I noticed the red paring knife in the first photo and I started thinking about knives. I love that knife. I got mine on sale from Williams Sonoma. I saw the exact same knives (they come in green and yellow too) at TJMaxx a couple of weeks ago. Go out right now and get some! If you need a good paring knife. I'm not advocating going out and buying willy-nilly. Although I do it myself all the time. And come to think of it, the economy could use a little action. Okay, I advocate buying willy-nilly! I'm a wasteful capitalist sheep!

Blah blah blah... Where was I? Oh yeah, tools!

I LOVE a good knife. They really make cooking a pleasure. I love knives so much that I want to give them to people as gifts. People who don't enjoy cooking or think they don't cook very often tend to skimp on their knives. If they only had a good knife then cooking wouldn't be the pain in the butt that it seems to be to them. Chopping and slicing would be easier, go more quickly, feel more pleasant. Your food's not flopping all over the place under a bendy, dull knife blade. No wonder they think cooking is aggravating! It's very rewarding to use a good tool: it's a nice feeling.

I'm not superstitious but a lot of people are. Some people think that if you give them a knife it means you don't like them. Some people believe that if someone gives you a knife you have to give them something back, like a penny, so that the knife is "paid for" and therefore not a gift. I found that out back when Pete and I were engaged and I'd registered for knives. You never know who is going to believe something like that. That means that if I give a knife to the wrong person it puts a burden on them to find a coin to give me at the last minute. It also makes me feel weird that my gift made them uncomfortable when all I want is for them to enjoy their cooking experience. So I don't give knives, I just recommend them.

I've had several favorite tools over the years and I'm noticing they tend to be made of metal. There's my beloved steel half-round jeweler's file, my stainless steel etching tool/burnisher, my Addi Turbo circular knitting needles that I use for everything I knit (nickel-plated brass) my garden fork and a fine steel modeling tool that has a tiny ball at one end and a slim triangular scraper/stabber blade a the other. Then there's my Cutter Bee scissors. They have small very sharp and very pointy blades. Fantastic for precision scissor cuts. I'm not sure why but I'm not as in love with my X-Acto knife (check out the alarming sounds their web page makes as it loads!) Probably because I don't trust my ability to use it properly. I'm always making mistakes and cutting into things I didn't want to with that one. However it is THE precision cutting blade: nothing else can compare with it's sharpness and accuracy (as long as the person using it is accurate!) I've tried other brands and you might as well just throw your money away. In fact they're disastrous because they just rip whatever you're trying to cut so carefully. That's much worse than accidentally slicing into an edge of something.

Most people (including me) don't consider metal a "friendly" material but when I think about my favorite tools I really do love them. Even my nail scissors which my grandmother gave me when I was probably ten years old. Funny to think that pointy metal objects give me that warm , fuzzy feeling. Clearly I need a new blog label: tools.

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