Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Are there any basic knife-skills tips you can give us?

Improving your knife skills is a time saving and confidence building component of overall culinary competence. At some point, muscle memory kicks in and slicing hundreds of cucumbers, for example, is no longer a daunting task. Everyday I find myself a little faster and a little more precise. This increased confidence has it's pros and cons. Whipping through the preparation of ingredients allows me to think about the next task at hand, but this also means that my mind is wandering from the cutting board. A wandering mind can mean wandering fingers, and well, wandering fingers while holding a knife…you get it. Therefore, one of the most important components of overall knife skills is keeping your fingers protected with "the claw." "The claw" simply refers to the position of your fingers while holding the ingredient you are slicing. Your knife is obviously doing it's thing in your dominant hand, while your other hand steadies the sliceable food. The steadying hand, therefore, is vulnerable to slicing and dicing as well, unless you protect yourself with this tried and true method….

Curl your fingers under towards your palm so that your finger joints are perpendicular to the side of your knife.
Use the joints as a guide and keep your fingers curled in (don't forget your thumb), walking the fingers back along the vegetable (or whatnot) as you slice away.

This may feel incredible uncomfortable at first, but your temporary discomfort is nothing compared to the pain of a missing finger tip!

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