If men involve themselves in culinary purchases it is usually with huge outdoor barbecues meant to instill grill envy in their neighbors or cast-iron, gas-driven ranges that lend the kitchen a gnarly motif. What you’re probably ignoring is a pursuit that is just as masculine and involves diverse choices that are sure to improve your cooking skills: proper cutlery. After all, it’s not worth taking the chance of ruining a prized piece of beef (or your fingers) by using a dull knife, or worse, the wrong one for the job.
Since 1814, family-owned Wüsthof has been crafting fine knives in Solingen, Germany, also known as the “City of Blades,” where the art of blade-making is taken so seriously that it’s been protected through legislation. Each blade that the company produces has been honed through a proprietary process called Precision Edge Technology that not only creates a sharper edge, but also doubles its retention and optimizes overall balance.
Wüsthof’s Epicure seven-piece block set (top, $500), which comes with a 3 1/2-inch paring knife, a 5-inch serrated utility knife, an 8-inch cook’s knife, a 9-inch double-serrated bread knife, steel sharpener, shears, and a 17-slot storage block, is just a starting point. Each of the knives sport shaped handles made of Richlite, a composite of recycled wood fiber materials, that have been riveted through the blade. This boosts comfort and aids the cutting motion, and the set will cover all of your basic chopping, mincing, paring and slicing needs.
You’ll want to take it to the next level, however. Check out the 10-inch Pro cimeter knife (center left, $55), which features a curved blade to help smoothly saw through animal skin and produce thin slices of meat. The Ikon 5-inch boning knife ($160) is ideal for removing bones in pork, beef or chicken, while the flexible, narrow blade of the Ikon 6-inch Fillet knife ($190) helps separate fish flesh from the skin.
Your cutting arsenal can also be improved with the purchase of the 7-inch Chinese cleaver (center right, $190) that makes chopping fresh herbs and vegetables a breeze, and the 7-inch Santoku knife (bottom left, $190), which features small indentations on the blade so starchy foods like potatoes don’t stick. And if you’re feeling saucy, the 5-inch tomato knife (bottom right, $85) is perfect for slicing the delicate fruit as well as citrus.
To improve your skills and learn how to properly care for your new toys, be sure to view Wüsthof’s Knife Skills Academy videos on their website, and soon you’ll be crafting home-cooked meals that are of restaurant quality. Or at least you’ll have fun trying.