Hello from city girl to country girl (sorry long post :) )

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I've been thrilled, this past week, at finding a forum with genuine people asking and sharing prime knowledge and experience in an area I've committed myself to invest in. But when I signed up it never occurred to me that I'd be stumped by the very first questions on my details page, yet here I am.

Thing is, my answers to 3 simple questions are all kinda negative but darn it, they all served to bring me here so I guess I can forge my way thru em and get to the meat of it:

Occupation: I own a firearm training school but have been sidelined relearning how to walk for the past few years after life kicked me in the back (and nerves and muscles) and changed things for me just a tad. Teaching's what I love doing most in life -- I've been teaching one thing or another for almost 40 years now --and, like the name says, I'm working on regaining my full mobility.

Knives you own: None now. Like, really none -- my beloved knife set was stolen this year. I've made do for a while from the thrift shop; now I'm ready to get something that works.

What knives most interest you and why (the intro info): Hubby went to Washington from our home in the midwest to help out his aging mom. Freak snowstorm fire took all but my husband and mother-in-law and the clothes on their backs. We decided to stay on with her and rebuild. BUT ...

... While we come from Chicago, where you can name any country in the world and find its authentic cuisine, up here in this beautiful mountain town of the Pacific Northwest, we've had a devil of a time finding ethnic food. We'd never before realized how much of a part of our lives it was.

There are cows outside my kitchen window, chickens and geese and peacocks and ducks and horses in the yard; rescued newborn deer and llama and goats sally in and out of our house. This is a lovely, peaceful town. After a lifetime of living in Chicago where, currently, someone is shot every 3 hours, I am more than ready to stand on my Washington deck in the mornings and watch the mist on the mountains that surround me as I sip hot coffee.

But the Italian restaurant that I called when I got to this town served me a single layer lasagna with a blackened top. And the town's only Chinese restaurant had the worst yelp reviews I have ever seen of any restaurant, consistently, no matter how far back I scrolled.

Fast forward a year: the Chinese restaurant got new owners, and new reviews show they're doing well. There is a Hawaiian restaurant that's popular, and in the past year, an authentic Thai takeout has opened, but none of the three offer the meals or the tastes we most crave. An AMAZINGLY GOOD Pho restaurant did recently open 10 miles away -- and their sign and menu reads:

'Vietnamese Pho and Gourmet Hot Dogs'

I asked about it and the owner told me it was because no one came in when they opened, cause no one knew what pho was; so they added hot dogs and a business was born!

LOL! The bottom line is, if I want it -- and I do!!! -- I'll have to learn to cook it myself. And except for rare occasions, I do all the cooking anyhow, for me, my husband and my elderly mom and her brother, who has come to live with us and whose almighty passion is seafood and more seafood. It's all he asked for during his first week with us and finding a general store 20 miles away that stocks fresh seafood earned me 5 stars and made him happy as ... a clam :).

My and my husband's great passions are for all things Asian, and I still remember being stymied trying to find ingredients here. I didn't realize it, but searching for 'Indian grocer' in the pacific northwest gives you:
a bunch of native american grocery stores. Which are good! But not what I was looking for. I finally solved it by phoning a Sikh Temple in Spokane from 90 miles away and asking the guy who answered where his family shops for food.

Jeepers, this has turned into the longest post! Ok, what knives am I looking for?

Well, I live on a vegetable farm.
I feed elderly people who don't always ... wear teeth.
I raw feed our dogs and we butcher much of our own meat.
Half the household loves sushi and sashimi, half loves seafood in general, and three quarters love dishes from all 5 Asian regions. I realized that maybe 80% of our favorite foods involve thinly sliced fish and meats and even vegetables.

So: Nakiri, Deba, Yanagi -- and Santoku for everything else. And I'm open to being told I'm wrong, lol.
I'm here fully to learn what I should get and how to take care of it, and in what order, at whatever I can afford, slowly working my way up. I started researching knives for Christmas and found this forum and this is it, folks! This is THE forum, no need to read anywhere else.

Nakiri - Harvest time is insane in our house. My mother-in-law and I can and freeze for entire weeks. The rest of the year, I batch cook weekly as well as cook for the day. We have 4 freezers and a harvest pantry.

Yanagi - For Japanese sashimi, Italian carpaccio, Korean bulgogi, Vietnamese spring rolls, and all good thins to come. I think maybe I AM that rare person who will honestly use the yanagiba at least 5 times a week. Seriously. I plan my flights to Chicago specifically to lay over on Wednesdays so I can snag that huge, huge platter of sashimi for $25 bucks from Joong Boo. And my return flight suitcase is filled with all the raw ingredients I can carry back to Washington from that same bountiful market.

Deba - Processing chicken and other soft-boned meats for the dogs as well as for humans. My dog's a service dog to help me walk, so it's really important for me that his bones stay strong enough for the job. I was stunned at what a difference raw feeding makes in a dog! The heavier boned meats get processed before they reach the house -- or I just grab a pair of branch loppers and pretend I'm Dexter :).

Santoku - General purpose not listed above. Santoku is what I used most from my knife set, but it was super time consuming to make thin cuts and I feel like I'm chopping all day long. I'm looking forward to learning to speed through more efficiently with bulk vegetables and to experience the true taste of raw fish and meats.

My previous set was western, a culinary student set that, honestly? Introduced me to the use of knives and served me just fine for a decade with rudimentary knife knowledge. But now I'll be getting serious as I quest to replace all the restaurants I so took for granted. So I may as well get the correct types for the tasks since I have to get knives anyway. Right?

Quality? Entry-level, just something to use now and while I hone my sharpening and cut/slice/chopping skills and knowledge. Not that I don't want higher, but, well, finances. I do plan to take live sharpening classes as well as study the videos made by Jon Broida and learn from the KKF community, natch.

And that's it.

I've been teaching people how to shoot well for the past 10 years -- and got my name in the history books, which is cool; been teaching folks how to have lasting relationships for 20 years; and how to recover from trauma for some years before that ... when you put it all together, I hope it's made a stronger future for a few along the way. That'd be good enough for me.

For now: I just want to be happy preparing my favorite foods.
 

Xenif

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I enjoyed reading this and welcome!

Deba are not great for processing chickens, even less so for processing humans.

Edit: Lovely handle name and also Pho and Hot Dogs maybe the best business idea I've heard in 2019
 

ma_sha1

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Welcome!

I must admit I didn’t finish, but that’s more of reflection of my own lack of patience, I am working on it. Great post
 

Matus

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That is one awesome first post - welcome to the forums :)
 

LostHighway

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Excellent and entertaining first post.
You're probably going to be redirected to fill out the "Which knife...?" questionnaire and re-post some of the above on the Kitchen Knife Forum . I anticipate that you'll encounter some recommendations for a gyuto rather than a santoku, probably some for a cleaver, and possibly some for a honesuki. Wiser, more experienced, voices than mine will address the deba question. Are you usually buying whole fish or fish already cut into fillets and steaks? The yanagiba vs sujihiki question may also arise.
What little expertise I can claim is limited to vegetables and there I would point you toward a 180+ nakiri as opposed to a smaller knife or a bunka. I have the Mazaki santoku (everything about it says bunka to me) https://www.japanesenaturalstones.com/mazaki-kurouchi-santoku-180mm/ and highly recommend it. It is quite flat and IMO it can do anything a nakiri can plus adds more versatility.
 
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See? I'm learning already!
Lol, thank you. I'll try to remember that and I'll pass your compliment along

Edit: Handle name is what got me from 6 steps to 23. Still working on that 24th :)
I enjoyed reading this and welcome!

Deba are not great for processing chickens, even less so for processing humans.

Edit: Lovely handle name and also Pho and Hot Dogs maybe the best business idea I've heard in 2019
 
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No problem. I was rather surprised myself!
I believe what happened is that this was the first chance I'd had to discuss knives with anyone at all, and I wanted to explain so I wouldn't just sound like 'poor me'
Welcome!

I must admit I didn’t finish, but that’s more of reflection of my own lack of patience, I am working on it. Great post
 
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LostHighway, I've learned so many new words! I'm grateful. This is not a light investment and I appreciate so much direction toward making the choice that will suit my needs the best.

As far as whole vs steaks and fillets, I'm going to spend some time hunting down the safest sources for what we'll eat raw; and for cooked I am SUPER excited to learn to do my own slicing from whole as soon as I can. I believe it will give me the best experience in how different cuts taste and what difference they make for a dish, which will also lead to a deeper appreciation of what makes one fish different from another and why.

That's an exciting thing! We have 67 taste buds in our mouths and most of us live our lives employing less than 10 of them.

Thank you for taking the time to make a recommendation. I'm making a list and will savor exploring it -- like snuggling up on a wintry night in a book nook with recommendations from favorite authors!

Excellent and entertaining first post.
You're probably going to be redirected to fill out the "Which knife...?" questionnaire and re-post some of the above on the Kitchen Knife Forum . I anticipate that you'll encounter some recommendations for a gyuto rather than a santoku, probably some for a cleaver, and possibly some for a honesuki. Wiser, more experienced, voices than mine will address the deba question. Are you usually buying whole fish or fish already cut into fillets and steaks? The yanagiba vs sujihiki question may also arise.
What little expertise I can claim is limited to vegetables and there I would point you toward a 180+ nakiri as opposed to a smaller knife or a bunka. I have the Mazaki santoku (everything about it says bunka to me) https://www.japanesenaturalstones.com/mazaki-kurouchi-santoku-180mm/ and highly recommend it. It is quite flat and IMO it can do anything a nakiri can plus adds more versatility.
 
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Thank you very much for taking the time to recommend -- I see your choices speak directly to the tasks I said I needed. It's a great feeling to feel genuinely heard. Thank you.

 
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Gjackson98

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Welcome! Good to have you here! like others mentioned great introduction!
 

Marek07

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G'day and welcome to the forum. Like many before me, I loved your first post - best ever and very entertaining to boot.

I'll leave detailed knife recommendations to others as a) I'm no expert and b) I'm not an omnivore and have a skewed view of knives. However, I am sure others will point out the benefits of a gyuto over a santoku. Because you've used a santoku for a long time, it might be an adjustment... or you could just stick with one. If you can, try out a shorter gyuto (180-210mm) somewhere and see what you think. Also, a deba is more suited to fish than chicken. Speak to Jon at Japanese Knife Imports (@JBroida). He's a forum member here and super helpful. He patiently explained the differences between a hankotsu and honesuki when I was trying to buy a (left handed) knife for my wife to break down chicken.
 

CoteRotie

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'Vietnamese Pho and Gourmet Hot Dogs' made me laugh out loud. If you miss ethnic food come visit us down in San Francisco and you'll find whatever you're looking for. Also, I'm very much +1 on the Gyuto vs. Santoku, and not sure the Deba is the right choice either. You might actually want a western chef's knife for working around bones and heavy duty processing of raw meats. A honesuki is another option for chicken if you're not planning on chopping through bones.
 

Dhoff

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Welcome indeed. I'm happy I chose to read this entry. I am impressed by your tenacity and spirit in the face of what would break many a person.

Once again welcome, you seem to be a genuinely good and interesting person :=)
 

Chuckles

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Welcome, you seem like fun. What kind of dogs?

I think debas are way over rated. If you are slicing that much fish maybe a Yanagiba. I would tend to follow Panda’s advice. Spend more on a shorter Gyuto and a petty. Also, have you considered a Chinese cleaver instead of a Nakiri? It might help you feel more comfortable going faster safer through larger prep projects.
 

madelinez

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Welcome! If I were you I'd start with just a couple knives and use the extra cash for quality. A 210mm gyuto is a very versatile knife and can really cover a lot of the tasks you want. The only other thing you really need is a boning knife/honesuki for chickens and you don't need to spend much for this. I own a deba and it doesn't get much use, I just don't deal with whole salmon and that sort of thing very often. Owning a nakiri is a lot of fun and mine gets more use than any other knife but they're completely unnecessary if you own a gyuto. As for a yanagiba, a gyuto can substitute for one but if you're truly going to be preparing those kinds of dishes 5 days a week then it's probably worth getting one. Only downside is they can be difficult to sharpen for people new to single bevel knives.
 

captaincaed

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Just saw this, but I can't miss a chance to plug Mac. First good knife was the 8.5" chef Pro - don't skimp on the budget line. Still my most used knife. Not flash, but a hard worker. I also got a honesuki (chicken knife) that gets a ton of use (second most used). The thicker design means it doesn't chip up as easily as a utility (petty) knife when run against bones.

If you're ever in Seattle (and not an internet weirdo like most people on this forum :p ) feel free to drop a line and try something out.

Also +1 for getting started with Jon. But as you learn what you like, don't let him boss you around *too* much.

Edit: also, if you're batch cooking, you may consider a longer knife at some point in the future. This vid is a little crass, but makes a good point
 

Bert2368

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Sounds like you have been on quite the rollercoaster ride.

You've found the right place to ask for advice on ethnic food, especially Asian. These guys have been causing me to "up my game", the stuff they post is sometimes just outrageous, always looks good.

If I lost all my knives and had to get cooking again ASAP, I think I would drop $130 on this set.

https://www.**************.com/tojiro3pcset.html

I already have bought all 3 of these individually and paid rather more, two were for gifts and one (the petty) I kept for myself. Stainless qualities of the cladding is good, VG10 of the edge is not bad stuff if not the "ultimate" PM steel with snob appeal, it is STILL far better than all the German knives I ever used when I worked in restaurant kitchens- and the knives all came quite sharp and are built workman (woman?) like.

tojiro-3pc-set-39.png.jpg
 
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Bert2368

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I'll give my vote against VG10 as a starter steel. Can be challenging for a new user.
Have you had direct experience of this? My niece had never sharpened a knife in her life and had no particular difficulty with these. I came to sharpening VG10 after years of sharpening German knives and some carbon steel & tool steel blades, I did not find it too hard either.

I agree, Carbon steels can be easier to sharpen. But those come with a greater need for care in cleaning & drying religiously before putting a knife down and greater forethought about what you might be cutting. I assume this lady has been using stainless knives previously...
 
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Michi

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I'll give my vote against VG10 as a starter steel. Can be challenging for a new user.
I don't see the problem there either. I've used VG10 when I was new to this game a fair bit without problems, and friends of mine are really happy with a VG10 I recommended to them, too. (I'm really happy with their knife as well, because I get to use it once a week.)

VG10 is a good steel in my opinion. Not the very best there is but, if I want stainless, it's a good and cost-effective choice. Going up from there, I'd be looking at SG2 or SLD, both of which are more expensive.

Why do you recommend against it for a new user? Difficulty of sharpening? If so, yes, it's more work to sharpen than carbon steel. But no worse than sharpening a Wüsthof, in my experience.
 
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