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Thread: Complete and utter newbie

  1. #11
    Thanks! Yeah, neither of us are superstitious. That said, it will be likely that no one buys the knives for us and/or we will get money gifts so either way, we'll get a set. (We'll need it! We have nothing!)

    I know knives need sharpening; my dad sharpens ours on occasion. I'll have to have someone in our area give me a lesson as the last time I tried sharpening metal tools, I killed my most used wood carving tool. (I'm an art student) Granted, that was a rounded tool but still. I'm sure I can learn from SOMEONE around here.

    Thanks! I've heard Victorinox is a good brand; my dad has found a few of them at thrift shops so he's shared his excitement before.

  2. #12
    Senior Member chinacats's Avatar
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    Forschner/Victorinox are definitely great value knives. I think though that if you are going to consider these a wedding gift--either you buy or others buy for you that you may want to upgrade just a bit. Jon at JKI--if you call him on the phone he will spend a bit of time to has some really nice knives that aren't too expensive and will last a lifetime (so will the Victorinox). You can also buy stones from any of the vendors here and learn pretty good skills through some videos available. The skillset will transfer to your toolset as well so that may be a good place to start.

    I use a few Victorinox knives (bread and boning knife) and they are great for the money. The chef's knife has quite a bit of belly to it though so make sure this is what you like--most Japanese blades have a slightly flatter profile more in the French tradition.

    The Victorinox have two handle options, one is Fibrox which is black and kind of non-slip, they also have a rosewood that I believe looks very nice.

    Cheers!
    once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right

  3. #13
    Thanks. I just registered for the victorinox (ironically, cheaper than the Wustofs and Zwilling Henckels) and I'll look at the gyuto later.

    What IS a gyuto? Whats the difference between gyuto and santoku (which I have heard of)? Do they cut different things? Do you handle them differently? I looked at those vendors online and the prices were all across the board...is there a suggestion of a place to start with?

    One more question...cutting boards? What's the difference in materials? Is there an importance in the difference? Why wood vs poly? What's the difference in the thickness of the wood? Etc...? (Like I said, I know diddly squat.)

    Thank you so much!

  4. #14
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    A gytuo is the Japanese term for chef knife, the kanji for it mean "cow sword". They are patterned after French style chef knives rather than the German. A santoku can be used as a chef knife and some people prefer it because it can be used to easily scoop up whatever you cut. I can't really speak for its other benefits over a gyuto (never used one), I guess it comes down to personal taste.

    When it comes to handling Japanese knives it comes down mainly to common sense. Don't put them in the dish washer, don't try to chop through frozen foods or bones with them. If you want to steel them, you need to use a smooth round ceramic hone, the ridged metal ones that are common will damage the edge. You also have to take the bevel into account, whether it is asymmetrical. The best place to start I think would probably be to contact Jon at JKI, he can suggest knives that are really tailored to your skills and needs.

    Cutting boards are very important. The choice in material will play a big factor in determining how quickly your edges will dull. The best option is an end-grain wooden board because the wood fibers are directed parallel to the cutting edge of your knife and will cushion the impact of the edge with the board. The other option for wooden boards is edge-grain where the wood fibers are perpendicular to cutting edge, this will not do as good a job as the end-grain but its still better than poly. Poly is considered inferior to wood because it will cause your edges to dull faster than wood. Over time as it accumulates scratches from cutting you can have hygiene issue. This is due bacteria making their way into those scratches and once they are there it becomes difficult to kill them, this is not a problem with wood. Stay away from bamboo, glass, marble, etc. You should look at the BoardSmith website for further useful information.

  5. #15
    Thanks!

    Though...you aren't really supposed to wash any knives in the dishwasher, are you?

    In terms of cutting boards, what is the difference between something like:
    http://www.target.com/p/architec-gri..._qi_detaillink
    or
    http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/prod...76741&RN=2059& ?
    The first one has end grain and the second has the edge-grain, correct?

    Does the board thickness matter much?

  6. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by rhondarc View Post
    we'll get a set. (We'll need it! We have nothing!)
    If I could go back, I wouldn't have bought anything that looks like this.


    Instead I would have just bought ONE like this.

    Well maybe not that particular one, but a chef's knife with good quality steel, balance, and ergonomics.

    I didn't even touch most of those knives or the boning knife or the 3 pairing knives they throw in just for embellishments. But they sure do add to the price.

    You'll really just need one knife to rule them all. A chef's knife.
    But you might like to have a second knife (smaller paring knife), because you might look silly trying to peel an apple with 8" chef's knife.
    But you may want a 3rd (Serrated/bread knife), because you eat French bread every other day, and you like to cut them yourself.


    Besides, it'd be much more gratifying to buy a knife as you need them with your wife (as you cook more as a couple, because that's what couples do), than buy the whole shebang in one go and not have anything to look forward to.

  7. #17
    Re: the gyuuto vs santoku.
    I could be completely wrong about this since it's anecdotal story that I've heard from here or from there.
    (My Japanese neighbor or some such persons.)

    Japanese people have gotten (from what point in history? I don't know) very particular about what knives they use for what task and on what raw material.
    They'll have certain knives for cutting fish, and a different knives for preparing them.
    They'll have one knife for cutting vegetables, and a different one for cutting different type of veggies.
    I've heard that long ago, people used gyuto (牛刃 = a knife of bovine persuasion) for butchering and preparing beef, but have since been accepted as the Japanese version of chef's knife.

    Basically, some people (probably marketing people from Shun or some such company) thought it would be good idea to get rid of all these distinctions, and find one knife that does everything pretty well. After all if Mr. Sakai can use only his chef's knife to create works of art as the Iron Chef, why shouldn't we? Thus came the santoku. Santoku (三徳) means three virtues, probably meaning that this knife can be used to deal with the three major food components (the fishes from the sea, the herbs from the mountains, and the livestocks from the fields) that have traditionally been relegated to different type of knives.

    Functionally, I find both to be about equal and switch off between the two.
    Gyuto are often single beveled (a sort of chisel grind) and often thicker and santoku are double beveled (like the western chef's knife) and thinner. I'm sure a search here will result in a ton of discussion about who prefers what type of knife.

  8. #18
    Senior Member chinacats's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xuz View Post
    Re: the gyuuto vs santoku.
    I could be completely wrong about this since it's anecdotal story that I've heard from here or from there.
    (My Japanese neighbor or some such persons.)

    Japanese people have gotten (from what point in history? I don't know) very particular about what knives they use for what task and on what raw material.
    They'll have certain knives for cutting fish, and a different knives for preparing them.
    They'll have one knife for cutting vegetables, and a different one for cutting different type of veggies.
    I've heard that long ago, people used gyuto (牛刃 = a knife of bovine persuasion) for butchering and preparing beef, but have since been accepted as the Japanese version of chef's knife.

    Basically, some people (probably marketing people from Shun or some such company) thought it would be good idea to get rid of all these distinctions, and find one knife that does everything pretty well. After all if Mr. Sakai can use only his chef's knife to create works of art as the Iron Chef, why shouldn't we? Thus came the santoku. Santoku (三徳) means three virtues, probably meaning that this knife can be used to deal with the three major food components (the fishes from the sea, the herbs from the mountains, and the livestocks from the fields) that have traditionally been relegated to different type of knives.

    Functionally, I find both to be about equal and switch off between the two.
    Gyuto are often single beveled (a sort of chisel grind) and often thicker and santoku are double beveled (like the western chef's knife) and thinner. I'm sure a search here will result in a ton of discussion about who prefers what type of knife.
    It was my understanding that the Japanese 'borrowed' the idea from the French during the Meiji Restoration period? I thought the original J-knives didn't include anything close to this 'modern chef's' blade?
    once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right

  9. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by chinacats View Post
    It was my understanding that the Japanese 'borrowed' the idea from the French during the Meiji Restoration period? I thought the original J-knives didn't include anything close to this 'modern chef's' blade?
    You may very well be correct. I was originally going to say exactly what you said (the influx of western cultures after the shocking arrival of the black ships and later through the meiji ishin) quickly reformed many cultural and industrial aspects of Japan. But I thought the comments about Iron Chef and thumbing my nose at Shun would have been more entertaining to the young couple.

    Don't mind me. I'm just an apostle of misinformation.


    p.s. rhondarc, I made the mistake of thinking you were your male counter part. (I need to read posts more carefully from now on!) My mistake about some of the gender specific comments in my previous posts. Also, congratulations on your union.

  10. #20
    I don't know. I'll talk it over with my fiance; we ARE going to be in a teeny place next year with a teeny kitchenette so it may make more sense anyway. (And if anyone asks why it's not on the list, we can use the superstitious excuse!) I will probably try to get those three knives anyway. I prefer to cut fruit/veggies with a paring knife (or a sharp serrated knife if it's a tomato or other fragile item) and I'm hoping to make bread to save some extra money as it's cheap and filling.

    What exactly IS a boning knife?

    Also, can anyone explain the cutting board question I asked above? I'm sure it's probably a little silly of a question but I really know nothing. [I've managed to burn pancakes on contact; my fiance has joked that he'll cook because his food is edible! Really though, I can follow a recipe...but I need one terribly.]

    In response to P.S.:And it's okay. I actually tend to use the universal He instead of him/her, besides, we all overlook something at some point. I'd gather the majority of the people on here are guys...it IS a knife forum after all.

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