5 November, 2015
The Best Budget Cookware Part 1 – Knives
Part 1: Knives
The most important items for the kitchen are knives, pots, and pans, unless of course you live on fast food. After some questions from friends, I thought I’d write a post to help people make some kitchen selections without spending tons of money (which is, of course, relative). If you don’t want the back story, feel free to skip to the bottom, otherwise enjoy the reading leading up to it.
Growing up, we had a number kitchen knives and… not a single one of them was sharp. I probably could have started a fire if I just rubbed them on a stick. Some would have held an edge had they been sharpened. As I became a teenager, I took to learning how to sharpen knives. It wasn’t long before a couple of them were sharpened. Most of the cookware was at least reasonable quality. Fast forward to my adult years and you’ll find I’ve become something of a knife and pan snob. It’s not that I think everything has to be the highest quality available, just that it should at least be good quality and the quality is way more important than the quantity.
Before I moved out on my own, my parents bought me a Costco set of Henckels knives. In that block were: a chef knife, 12” carving knife, 8” carving knife, pairing knife, 7” serrated utility knife, a serrated bread knife, and a “sharpening” steel. After using that set for fifteen years, I located a set of Zwilling (these were designed by Matteo Thun, a known architectural and product designer) that I had been pining over. No regrets there as they are a quality knife with a design that I found extremely attractive. They became sort of the ceremonial set in kitchen, while the old Henckel’s became the work set. In retrospect, I probably went a bit overboard where the quantity is concerned. Thought about giving the working set to a friend but then changed my mind, sentimental value and all. Welcome to how I work. One day, I was reading an issue of Cook’s Illustrated and they recommended the Victorinox knives with the Fibrox handles. So I bought one. I was so impressed, I bought one for my parents, knowing my dad cuts lots of vegetables (he’s nearly a vegetarian and cuts veggies every single day). It made it almost a year in his possession before needing sharpening, had zero corrosion, and a thin blade that makes slicing very pleasant.
Now the knives. This may end up being the cheapest part. I recommend these as I’ve found them to be a great deal and excellent quality. I won’t say there aren’t better, these just happened to be the best bang for the buck that I have found.
If you’re more inclined to go with sets, here are a couple of good options:
Or with a block