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Kitchen knives

dhermann1

I'll Lock Up
Messages
9,154
Location
Da Bronx, NY, USA
In Brooklyn to this very day, there's a guy in a green panel truck who drives all over the boro (all 77 square miles) ringing his bell. When he stops at your block, you just bring your knives to him and he sharpens them. If you miss him one time, don't worry, you'll see him again in a few weeks.
 

Shangas

I'll Lock Up
Messages
6,116
Location
Melbourne, Australia
Sharpening a razor is very different from sharpening a kitchen-knife. While the angle is more or less the same, the difference is that with a razor, you have the razor-spine there to guide your hand and dictate the proper angle. You don't have that with a kitchen-knife. That's what makes sharpening the latter so much harder.

Either way, it's not necessary to get a kitchen-knife as sharp as a razor. You're not shaving the cow with it before you take it to the slaughterhouse. So I can see the coffee-cup thing being a pretty effective way to sharpen the knives. I may try it myself.
 

rue

Messages
13,319
Location
California native living in Arizona.
I don't have one, but on the subject of knives, does anyone have one of these in their kitchens?

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For those who don't know what this is, it's a Victorian-era knife-sharpener. You slot the knives in the top, and then you turn the crank. And that rotates the grindstones inside the sharpener, to sharpen up the blades of your knives.

Somehow I can't help but think, how handy such a thing must be in a kitchen. A pity you can't get them anymore. I am RUBBISH at sharpening anything apart from my razor, so something like that would be invaluable.

I have one of those Shangas!

Here's mine:
IMG_2016.jpg


I've never used it though.
 

rue

Messages
13,319
Location
California native living in Arizona.
I know that people often stored their knives either in a drawer or in a knife block, but during the golden era a common knife block looked different than they do today. They were more likely to be hung on the wall, and usually only had space for a couple of knives, since that was all most people had. Here's what they looked like.

[URL=http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/6/il570xn380048758h3v9.jpg/] [/URL]


Something else people would sometimes do---which has recently had a resurgence as a 'trendy' kitchen style---was to hang a long, narrow magnet on the wall over a sink or counter, and keep the knives on it. My Grandmother had one which had been made by my Grandfather in the forties. It was hung high on the wall so little hands couldn't reach.

Also, my Grandmother never needed a knife sharpener, she used to sharpen her knives on the bottom of a teacup. I keep an old teacup on a shelf and run my kitchen blades over it every time I use them. It takes about 30 seconds, and keeps them razor sharp.

That's darling Mabel :)
 

rue

Messages
13,319
Location
California native living in Arizona.
Both sets of my grandparents were married and set up house in the nineteen-teens. I expect their kitchens were pretty typical of southern kitchens of that era. Their knives were kept in a kitchen counter drawer with the other kitchen stuff. I never saw a knife holder of any kind at either house. And their knives weren't the nice stainless steel ones like we use today. They were mainly wooden handled steel knives that would rust like crowbars if you put them away even slightly damp. I think most were "Old Hickory" brand, but I expect there were other brands, too. I actually have most of their knives now...especially my maternal grandmother's...having inherited them from my parents. I expect many of those knives are now almost one hundred years old.

AF

You are so fortunate Atticus!

It reminds me of Lizzie's cutting board (?) that she inherited :)
 

Shangas

I'll Lock Up
Messages
6,116
Location
Melbourne, Australia
It's easy.

You slot the knives into the top, and then you turn the handle. Turning the crank rotates the grindstones inside the machine and they spin and grind against the edges of your knives, sharpening them up.
 

Fifty150

One Too Many
Messages
1,967
Location
The Barbary Coast
No Chinese kitchen is complete without one of these huge meat-cleavers.

It just sits loose in the drawer under the stove. In older times though, it might have a hole drilled through the handle so that you could tie a lanyard on it and hang it from a nail in the wall.


What I remember was that in restaurants, and in homes, the Chinese knife was simply stuck in the wood block cutting board.


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made me realize I have way too many knives



A very popular chef wrote in one of his books, that you only needed a handful of knives.


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I have a lot of knives. The same way a plumber has wrenches. My tool collection is another story on it's own.

What I do believe is that you don't have to spend a lot of money. Look into the kitchen of some of the better restaurants. You see cooks making your food with commercial grade equipment. Not overpriced cutlery or cookware endorsed by a celebrity chef. Most of the knives, pots, pans, etc., are NSF certified and very inexpensive. It's what the restaurant orders from a restaurant supply store. The higher end of that spectrum are brands like Dexter Russell, Victorinox, Forshner, F. Dick - most of those knives sell for $25 or less. Some are sold for around $5. And if you don't have access to a restaurant supply shop, you can now buy online. I bought my Chinese knife on Amazon. Why? Because they had the lowest price.


Screenshot 2024-06-12 20.21.52.png

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We always used to take our knives to the guy behind the meat counter at the grocery store.

In Brooklyn to this very day, there's a guy in a green panel truck who drives all over the boro (all 77 square miles) ringing his bell.



In my neighborhood, there was a little cutlery store. In it's heyday, the shop served the needs of an entire neighborhood. A neighborhood of restaurants which all needed knives, and needed those knives sharpened. Specialty items like dough scrapers, pasta machines, and Chinese cook knives. San Francisco was still a manufacturing town. A lot of Chinatown residents worked in sewing factories for Levi's, The North Face, Esprit, Gap, The Golden Bear, Jessica McClintock, etc. Those workers had to have scissors, and those scissors needed to be sharpened. Most of the blue collar workers like firefighters, police, longshoremen, carpenters, electricians, mechanics, warehouse men, truck drivers...... all carried knives. Every kid in the neighborhood who went hunting and fishing had to have a knife. Every kid who hung out in a pool hall had to have a sharp knife.


Over the years, there have been a few changes in ownership. But the shop is still there to this day. The neighborhood is still full of restaurants, bakeries, and cafes. The residents are still working blue collar jobs. The Longshoremen Union Hall is still down the block. The Police Station and Fire Stations are still right up the street. And the local youths still need good knives to fight with.


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Tiki Tom

My Mail is Forwarded Here
Messages
3,255
Location
Oahu, North Polynesia
In our neighborhood there is a corner where a knife sharpening truck parks every Sunday afternoon. We have spoken to the guy, but have not yet taken our steak knife set or our cooking knives down to him. As I recall, he quoted us about $100 or a little less to sharpen the whole lot (about a dozen knives or so.) I’m still tempted to do it, just haven’t made it a priority.
 

rogueclimber

A-List Customer
Messages
327
Location
Marina del Rey
In our neighborhood there is a corner where a knife sharpening truck parks every Sunday afternoon. We have spoken to the guy, but have not yet taken our steak knife set or our cooking knives down to him. As I recall, he quoted us about $100 or a little less to sharpen the whole lot (about a dozen knives or so.) I’m still tempted to do it, just haven’t made it a priority.

I'd do one first to see how he does. I'd never go all in on my good knives unless I knew the sharpener quite well

Aloha

ETA: Unless you live in Tom Mayo's neighborhood!
 

galopede

One of the Regulars
Messages
225
Location
Gloucester, England
I don't remember my parents having many kitchen knives here in the UK back in the late fifties. There was a carving knife, bread knife and paring knife. Can't remember any others. I do still remember my father sharpening the carving knife on the kitchen doorstep before every Sunday lunch!
 

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