If you were contemplating buying a new set of kitchen knives but find yourself low on funds, you’re in luck.
Because unless you plan on chopping up your own lamb shanks, peeling lots of exotic fruits or deboning a whole fish such as red snapper, you can survive very well in your kitchen using three basic knives.
The three must-have knives for every kitchen are a chef’s knife, a paring knife, and a bread knife. What’s nice about concentrating on just three knives is that you can exercise the option of spending more money to buy higher-quality knives if you feel so inclined.
The chef’s knife is an indispensable all-around knife used to chop, slice, dice, mince, and de-bone, and was originally designed to slice and disjoint large cuts of beef.
A chef’s knife generally has a blade eight inches in length and 1 1⁄2 inches in width. You could spend well over $100 for a good chef’s knife, but Amazon has a Pure Komachi 2 Series 8″ Chef’s Knife, Fuchsia, selling for $11.99.
A paring knife, usually between 2½ and 4 inches long, is used for precision cutting. Peeling, garnishing, and small chopping tasks can be accomplished with the paring knife. Other uses are de-veining a shrimp, removing the seeds from a jalapeño, or cutting small garnishes. Amazon offers this Victorinox 47508 3-1/4-Inch Paring Knife for $7.80.
Bread knives are serrated knives, usually between 6 and 10 inches long, and are able to cut soft bread without crushing it. Bread knives can also cut tough, crusty breads and larger fruits and vegetables.
Bread knives can be used on fruits like cantaloupe and honeydew that have a tough rind which is hard to slice with a regular knife.
Most professional bread knives have long blades, eight to twelve inches, used to cut through tough fruit rind or a large crust of bread.
If the bread knife is properly sharpened, you don’t need much downward pressure to slice bread, because pressing down hard can crumble the bread. All that’s needed is a light back and forth motion and the knife will do the rest.
I found three highly rated and reasonably priced bread knives on Amazon:
1) OXO Good Grips 8 Inch Bread Knife
Price – $9.99
3) Fat Daddio’s Cake Slicer / Bread Knife
Price – $18.20
All the knives I’ve featured are on the low end of the price spectrum totaling around $30, but you may choose to spend more if you decide to consider only buying three knives.
If you do decide to spend a few more dollars, first check out FriendsEAT co-founder Blanca Valbuena’s article on knife construction to find out what materials are used.
As Blanca points out, any good knife should be made of a single sheet of metal which is either cut, forged, or stamped and then tempered.