View Full Version : Suggestions for seniors on home kitchen knife care and use.

07-23-2013, 05:23 PM
I'm a home cook and prep boy for my personal Kitchen Goddess. I love talking about kitchen knives and my past mistakes therewith. I'm preparing a course on kitchen knife use and care for seniors to be given this Fall.
Past experience has taught me that simplicity, safety, and edge maintenance are more useful to these retirees than how to buy and sharpen (grind). An "easy does it" approach to simple knife techniques seems to go over well. These folks already have (dull) knives and have been cooking for 50 years. I'm thinking that I'd rather sharpen the one or two knives that each of them actually uses than teach them to do it. The course will be eight one hour sessions spread over two months.
Once their knives are sharp and they've learned how to care for them, I think a simple regimen of light steeling and perhaps stropping should carry them for months. It is mostly for this maintenance program that I feel I need advice. Of course any and all help will be most welcome.

Mucho Bocho
07-23-2013, 05:50 PM
Piscator, I would recommend you look into Kyocera knives. They are ceramic, very light, not too sharp for seniors. The only drawback I see is that their handles tend to be a little small. Its my seven YO daughters go-to. We even made a sheath for it.

07-23-2013, 06:48 PM
What an admirable endeavor. Glad you're sharpening their "own" knives. My mom, age 94 this year, would not readily take to new knives. If you tried to replace "her" knives, which she's been using for decades, you might end up with one sticking out your forehead. ;-)

07-24-2013, 12:26 PM
You might want to look at ceramic rods instead of steels and strops. They sharpen the knife and would definitely make a properly set edge last a very long time. Especially with home use. They are also easier to take care of and you don't need to worry about losing your 1 micron paste or whatever.

Keep being awesome.

07-24-2013, 01:32 PM
I hate to even mention it in this forum, but what about a chefs choice pull through type sharpener? If used lightly once in a while on a knife you sharpened first on stones it will keep an edge on their knives for years that will be much better than they are use to, and is so simple that they will be more likely to use it regularly. If someone seems to take a stronger interest in sharpening, set them up with a king combo stone. I have sharpened a couple of my moms knives before, and taught her how to use a ceramic rod, she smiled and nodded, even did it in front of me once. I went back 6 months later and the edge was like a butter knife, got her a chefs choice and she actually uses it, the edges aren't good by my standards, but way better than she regularly had before. The other huge thing is getting them to not throw knives in the sink, or store them loose in a drawer, those can be very hard habits to break. Get them to use a soft cutting board and a knife block and you have solved half the problem already. By the way, this doesn't only apply to seniors of course, but to anyone who likes to cook but isn't knife-obsessed.

07-24-2013, 05:18 PM
When I get a suggestion that makes me uneasy, experience has taught me that I would do well to pay close attention. A quick look in my knife bible, Chad Ward's An Edge in the Kitchen, suggests that if I am to consider what's best for the students, rather than my own prejudices, I must take your brave advice seriously.
Thanks for having the stones (surely its OK say that on this forum) to bring this up.

07-24-2013, 05:23 PM
Thanks. That may well be the the right choice for some of these folks.

07-26-2013, 11:41 PM
the most practical and easy to care for would imply something not too hard, stainless, and economical. Forschner seems to meet all these requirements. Ceramic rod would be useful for those used to using a traditional steel. There are also pull through sharpeners with ceramic rods in them, or carbide. One I have is made by Normark.