The cornerstone of your kitchen is how you work. Your process is key to how you use the space available, how you have everything set up. Key to how you set up is what tools you use. Aside from the stove/oven, perhaps no tool is more important than your knife. And I do mean “knife” singular.
Because here’s the thing, there are many types of knives and they all have different uses. I wouldn’t use my chef knife to cut through bone and I wouldn’t use a cleaver to dice an onion, etc. But it is this cooks humble opinion that if you have one, solid, good knife that can do all the things you need it to do, than you are better off than some bloke who threw a couple hundred dollars at a whole set.
To be fair, I’m not entirely against having multiple knives, we have a few. But in all my years I’ve very rarely strayed from one knife. My F. Dick 9″ chef’s knife.
It’s an inherited blade, very similar in structure to the knives my Dad has used over the years. It was part of a set that was used by my brother while he was at Chef School in Upstate New York in the early 2000’s. By the time he was done with it the etching had worn down enough that it’s incredibly hard to see what brand it is unless you look at it under particular lighting. I found this out recently, and presto…now I know what exactly I’m working with.
I’ve had this blade for almost 7 years and in that time I’ve only ever had to sharpen it once. There have been a few brief stretches where I didn’t use it much, but still….7 years is a good run between sharpening.
The point of the post though, is this: In all this time of not knowing the particular brand, I didn’t really care who had made it. All I cared for was the knife its self, ever reliable and completely comfortable in my hand. My relationship with cooking is just that, a relationship. An ebb and flow of triumphs and horribleness that can affect my whole day depending on which way it turns out. I’m not a chef by any means, but dammit when I cook I do it very well.
And like a hunter puts love into his rifle, or an artist in his paintbrush, or a writer into his laptop, I put love into my knife.