Why Do I Need Good Quality Cutlery

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Buying knives is no small task. Chefs protect their knives like they protect their cars. Culinary students will go into even more debt to purchase a set of knives that will last them a lifetime. Even Martha Stewart had special cabinetry installed in her newly remodeled kitchen specifically to help maintain her super expensive sets of culinary knives and related equipment.

Many people really don't want to bother spending this much time and effort, or even expense, in caring for kitchen utensils. Chances are that Grandma's antique serving platters will be given more love and attention than the carving knife used to cut the food that goes on the serving platter. But one thing is for certain - once you buy a quality set of knives, you'll never regret the decision.

Knives come in all price ranges. You don't need to mortgage the house, but you shouldn't be wasting your money on knives that are certain to break and lose their edge. Find a good sale at a well known retailer and you should be able to find an excellent quality set to fit your budget. If you pay attention to quality first, price second, you'll be fine.

Before buying your knives, however, you should have a basic understanding of what to look for. Well made knives are essentially one piece of metal with a handle attached. The piece of metal that should be running the entire length of the knife is called the tang. It encompasses the blade all the way to the end of the handle. Some knives are made with two or more pieces of metal - the blade and the tang are separate, but pieced together. This reduces the stability of the entire knife and breakage can easily occur either with a tough cutting job, or jarring the knife against a hard service when chopping.

Always make sure your new knives are made with a little safety piece at the end of the handle - the bolster. This acts as a thumb guard and helps reduce serious cuts if your hand happens to slip. A good quality piece of cutlery will always have these bolsters in place, and they will be forged into the single piece of metal that makes up the knife itself, not just attached on top of the knife.

Quality knives are made with steel that has been forged, a process that was around during Roman times. Actually, the process hasn't changed much either except it's now done inside a manufacturing plant rather than an open pit at the edge of town. Forging strengthens the metal and increases the stability of the knife. It allows the knife to be manufactured in one piece as opposed to multiple pieces being cut from hunks of metal and then fastened together. As you search for your new cutlery, look for sets that come with their own sharpeners. A custom matched sharpener is vital to the longevity of your knives. Using the wrong sharpener (basically any sharpener that wasn't manufactured specifically for your set of knives) will absolutely ruin your knives edges in no time. Once a blade has been damaged, it can't be repaired - at least not to its original state.

One final tip - don 't buy a set that includes steak knives. You should be looking for knives that make your food prep time easier; purchase dinnerware separately.

Annie is an expert furniture and interior design writer. Her current area of specialism is bathrooms, decorating ideas and tables

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