Monday, October 18

All You Need Is...

My father, when cooking, always used to say, "All you need is a good sharp knife.." in order to prepare a great meal.

I always thought that was a little simplistic...I mean you need good ingrediants, a good plan, good pots & pans, etc, etc, etc. But, I've got to say, that while good ingrediants and a fairly decent plan are essentials, the pots and pans quality aren't anywhere near as important as having a good sharp knife in order to prepare food. Honestly, you don't even need measuring cups or spoons...but a good sharp knife: can't do without!

At some point, probably right as I graduated from high school, my parents aquired a really great set of knives, from my grandfather who sold Cutco knives, and my father bequeathed me his butcher was old, but well-kept, well-sharpened.

I loved that knife! I protected that knife over the years: warned my roommates about its care, to not place it in a dishwasher, to not use it on non-food items. Throughout college and the few years following, I cooked a lot of meals~ranging in size from just myself to over 100 or more people. Always near to hand was that knife. When I would go home to visit my folks, I'd take the knife to make sure my dad properly sharpened it.

(Now I have to admit, that my other knives during this time sucked: they were cheapos from places like the 99 Cent Store~when they broke, I'd just replace them...ironically, doing so adds up, cost-wise.)

Then, about 12 years after I'd recieved this knife, I decided to go to culinary school. I won't name names, as this is a rather well-known culinary school, but it wasn't the CIA (no, not that CIA~The Culinary Institute of America). So, saddly, after paying my first $1000 or so in tuition, I discovered I hated this school. I was bored there... unlike the CIA, they didn't test you before you were accepted. Meaning, anyone could decide that they wanted to be a chef, give them money and show up for classes. They started at a very elementary level... You know: "This is a knife...a paring is used for..." Or, "These are herbs...fresh herbs...blah, blah, blah." They started with stocks. I was bored stiff. And, since I'd already had 2 light doses of food poisoning in 2 weeks time, and was unemployed and having trouble coming up with the hefty tuition payments, I dropped out. (The only time I ever dropped out of something...I'd never even dropped a class in college!)

I wasn't too upset about it, as I wasn't that impressed with the school. However, the really nice thing about having entered the school and then dropping out is all the gear I had purchased with my first tuition payments. All of which was not returnable. My kit included various spoons, ladels, baking items, measuring spoons & cups, and (cue heavenly "aaaahhhh aaaahhhh" music here) an incredible set of German-made chef's knives.

These knives rock! They were, to quote, Mercer--a company name highly regarded in the culinary trade--is synonymous with quality, professional cutlery. A leader in the commercial market for more than 30 years, and the predominant supplier to more than 90% of culinary academies in North America, Mercer brings you the finest tools used by the industry. Their benefits are:

  • Superior High Carbon, No-Stain German Steel
  • One-Piece, Fully Forged Construction 
  • Triple Riveted, Ergonomically Designed POM Handle
  • Razor-Sharp, Taper Ground Edge, that Allows For Easy Resharpening
  • Full Tang Provides Superior Balance
  • Sure, Confident Grip for Comfort, Efficiency, and Safety  
  • Limited Lifetime Warranty
  • NSF Certified

Not only did I get a set of 10 knives, but I got this cool carrying case and even a wheeled suitcase to haul all this stuff around it from my home to my little "catering" jobs. Loved it!

Of course mine were cooler as they had the culinary school's logo on them.

Point being I freakin' love these knives!!!!!!!!

Ok~stick with me here, I have a point to this whole story.

My brother-in-law's 18 year old nephew found a new job this past week. Now, I love this kid. My sister has been a part of his life since he was since he was about six years old. Which means, we too have been a part of his life for years. Which means we want to support him in his endeavors. Which means that I drove 20 minutes to take him to job training last Friday. And then of course agreed to let him come and give a "practice demonstration" of his product. Oh, did I mention that TJ is the newest Cutco Knive representative?
That's right: Knives!

We had a game plan, mom & I: support TJ by listen to his schpiel and~to support him~buy ONE, 1, UNO, UN Knife from the kid.

I even prepped for our demonstration, making sure that my knives were in super sharp condition. I felt a little sorry for the kid even: here I was with a great set of knives, with a sales background, and virtually no money. But, he was getting his practice in, he's currently getting paid a superior hourly wage whether he sells anything or not, and I would be a good~though gentle~critic.

So...uh....not sure where our plan went but I think "out the window" is a good term. This kids is a freakin' natural salesman!!!!!! He is unreal!!! His demontstration was superb. There were some minor things I pointed out later, some tips I offered later. He knew his product & the company. He knew his knives. He knew how to sell.

The worst part is, his knives were (slightly) better than my current ones! (*Gasp!!!*) I could feel the difference when I cut through rope with mine (3-5 saw motions) versus his (1-3). And also when I cleanly cut through a piece of leather with my knive (as TJ held the leather while I cut) versus when I held his knife and he smoothly slid the leather across the blade with nary a tug to render it in two.

And they were so pretty...sure they have the basic ("classic") black, but they also have these really pretty "pearl" colored handles.

See how pretty they are?

Thes are the table pretty. And see this nifty 5-piece set:
It has all the sharp knives one can ever want...only in pretty pearl.

And my mom likes that they are American made.

And then there's the warranty...unlike my knives guarantee that dies when I do, Cutco knives can be handed down through the generations, and the guarantee still applies! And, just in case you  don't believe my local Cutco representative, who is after all only 18 years old, I checked online:

So what about our plan to buy just one knife from TJ....out the window. 'Cause see those knives pictured above? Yeah, we got them all. That's right, we got the  5-piece space saver that comes with a 4" Paring Knife,   a 7-5/8" Petite Chef, a  6-3/4" Petite Carver, a Trimmer, a 2-3/4" Paring Knife, and a Space Saver Block (5-Pc.) to store them all in. Plus not 4, but 6 table knives. (Actually we purchased 2 table knives and my local rep threw in 4 more for free!!! Awesome!) And all with those nice pearl handles.

And do you know why we got so many knives? Why, not because we are total suckers, but because we are extremely supportive family members. Because we were given a deal. Because we get 5 months to pay off our hefty bill. Because I've never been married and my grandfather only gave out the knives as wedding gifts. And, oh, ok, because we just can't say no! We are, in fact, suckers!

Am I going to get rid of my nice German-made knives? Not on your life! I still love them. Hell, I still have the wood-handled butcher knife my dad gave me 21 years ago!

Yeah, so I guess you could say that all you ever need is a kitchen-full of sharp knives.

I mean honestly: who could say NO to this face???

(And yes, that's Teagan with him when she was about 4 months old!)

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