I cook OK. I know, a lot of guys like to pretend to chef status, but I’m not one of those. I haven’t had any classes, I don’t watch cooking shows, I don’t really use cookbooks. Just, I like to eat. And I figured out early on that if you could cook a little, then you could eat what you wanted. And so I’d mess around, try to replicate shit I liked, and usually I’d figure it out eventually. Then the interwebs came along (yes, children, I spent my formative years and half my adulthood in the Stygian darkness before the Net) and suddenly you could answer pretty much any cooking question with a couple of clicks. So I cook OK.
But I didn’t have any real tools. OK, we’ve got some nice pots. My mom got us a full set of those copper-bottom Revere Ware dealios when we got married, and they’re still doing just fine – few dings here and there, but just fine. But I never bought any machines – food processors or such like. And knives? I’ve been using the same crappy set that this print guy I used to throw some work to back in my freelance days sent me for Christmas in 1989 – you know, a cheap-ass wood block with several plastic-handled, thin-bladed pieces of junk in it, the kind of thing you see in the back of the Kohl’s store for maybe thirty or forty bucks.
I know, I know. I was a Boy Scout. Nothing more dangerous than a dull knife. Just, there were always other priorities, kids and stuff, so I never felt like I could justify the dough. I’d go into William Sonoma and gawk, even drool a little when I watched those Ginsu things carve up pop cans on TV. So I kept at it with my cheap-ass cutlery, bludgeoning veges into submission, gouging off slices of meat like some flint-wielding Neanderthal. But this year, this year my kids are of an age where they can actually buy me real Christmas presents. And so I hinted that a real knife – a kick-ass, top-drawer, edge-holding Hattori-Hanzo-bladed chef’s knife, wouldn’t go amiss.
And bless their point little heads, they got me one. The top-of-the-line, eight-inch model from the J.A. Henckels folk over in Germany.
First thing I used it on was a red onion, had to slice that puppy up for some soup. And the first cut? The one right down the middle so you can get the thing to lay flat while you go to work? I thought I missed. I couldn’t even feel it. This wasn’t a hot knife through butter, it was more like gamma rays through the perfect vacuum of space. I reduced that onion to dozens of uniform slivers in seconds. My eyes didn’t even have time to water up. Then I chopped up some celery I didn’t even need chopped up yet just for fun. And I’ve been looking for excuses to cut things up ever since. I may become a serial killer just so I can dismember the bodies.
Damn, the new Kindle from the wife, on which I shall wax poetic shortly, and my shiny new knife. Santa hasn’t been this good to me in a long while.