One of those strange but unavoidable moments that spell adulthood is facing the purchase of your own first set of knives. And while it’s tempting to go for an entire block that you probably imagine will look nice on your counter, experience and honesty says hit pause.
You won’t use them all, they’re probably shoddy quality (or they’re crazy expensive), and unless you need a stabby thing handy in the case of zombies or a vampire uprising, do you really want to decorate your counters with knives, anyway?
Block knives are often not the best quality, material, or size, and they definitely aren’t designed to keep their edge with daily use. Not only that, they won’t stand up to regular honing or sharpening, so you’re left in a catch-22.
Basically , they’re not designed to last.
Also, there are too many of them to be useful, and the ones you might actually need are often poorly designed for their stated purpose.
May we instead suggest grabbing a few, higher quality knives that should stay sharper for longer, and that you will use on a semi-regular basis?
Here’s a short list of multi-purpose knives that everyone who cooks at home needs in their drawers (or, preferably, magnetic rack) because they’re good for cooking’s everyday situations.
1. An 8″ or 10″ Chef’s Knife
These will be your go-to knives for slicing meat, fruit, and vegetables – both sizes will come in handy, but if you cut larger meat or thick-rinded fruits like melons, you’ll definitely want the larger one. A couple of good options are the Victorinox Fibrox 8″ and the 10″ Fibrox. Victorinox is a super solid brand for a reasonable price.
2. A 3″ or 4″ Paring Knife
If you’re peeling vegetables and fruit or tackling other lightweight, everyday jobs, it will be the knife you grab every time you don’t need your bigger chef’s knife. The Wusthof Classic 3.5″ Paring Knife is great but pricey, so if you’re on a budget, the Victorinox Swiss Army Fibrox 3.25″ is an affordable second choice.
3. A Long, Serrated Bread Knife
Perfect for cutting bread, sandwiches, fatty meats, tomatoes, peaches, or anything else that’s tougher on the outside than the inside, you’ll use this knife way more than you might think. Try the 10″ Victorinox Bread Knife or the Wusthof 10″ Classic Bread Knife (if you’ve got the cash).
4. A 7″ or 8″ Santoku
Some chefs (amate*r and otherwise) prefer the handle-shape and the snub-curved blade of a Santoku for everyday use. The Victorinox 7″ Graton Edge Santoku is a great budget pick here.
Once you’ve gathered these basics and have started to cook more, debone your own fish, cut up your own chicken, or do more specialized work, you’re going to need to expand your list of essentials.
Have fun stocking up (and cooking!) and remember this the next time you’re looking for a good, useful wedding or housewarming gift, too. They’ll thank you for taking the time to put together your own knife set instead of buying one that will need to be replaced in a couple years!