Pack Your Knives And Go (Part 2)

by Willie on May 22, 2014

in Cooking School, Daily

In part one of this blog post series, I discussed knives and my preferred knives to use. In part 2, we’re talking about the dreaded knife skills. so, most of you are probably reading this and thinking that you know how to hold a knife. All you have to do this is hold it like this:


Or like this:


That’s fine if you want to hold it like that. It’s called the hammer grip. No pressure. That grip is like if you had a hammer in your hand and you swung it straight down on those unsuspected meats, fruits, and vegetables. I used to do that. What works for you is what works. This is how I hold my knife now:


It’s called the pinch grip. Most cooks use this method. It’s gives you more control over your knife. Here’s how to use the pinch grip. With your thumb, place it on one side of the knife blade like this:


Yes, it feels weird but when you start cutting things at a faster pace, you’ll have more control of the blade. You want your  thumb to be somewhat close to the handle to control how the knife moves with your hand. Now onto the other side of the blade. With your index finger (pointer finger), you’ll want to place your finger in the same position as your thumb on the other side like this:


Again, it’s going to feel weird but it’s worth it. So, there you have it. You can now properly hold a knife. Now, you’re thinking that we can start chopping. Hold on for a minute. What about your other hand? Your opposing hand is your guide hand. It’s the hand that holds the object that you’re cutting in place while you cut with the knife in your other hand. So, what are you supposed to do with your other hand. You guide that blade to make precise cuts on the food you’re cutting. So this is what you do. You make a claw like this:

A claw? That looks and sounds silly! It won’t sound silly when you slice a finger off. Just saying. So, just hear me out. The claw will guide the blade along the food your cutting. First, position your fingers like a claw. Then, tuck those fingertips and thumb back into the claw. You’ll want the blade to rest against the knuckles as you cut across said products like this:


As you’re cutting the product, your non knife hand will work as a guide. The claw moves down the product as you make cuts. With the knife, down just cut straight down like your using a hammer or hatchet. You need to use the natural curve of the knife to rock it back and forth. With the tip of the knife on the cutting board, use the knife’s curve to gently rock it back and forth. This method uses less force and your hand won’t get as tired from excessive force.

So, that’s it. That’s how you properly hold a knife and use your opposite hand as a guide for cutting. Knife skills were the first thing I learned when I started cooking. It’s also the most beneficial skill. I’m still not as fast as I like to be when I’m cutting things. I am getting faster though. Speed and accuracy takes time and patience. It will eventually come as time passes. You can learn these skills on your own or take cooking classes. I’ve done both.

Do you find knife skills beneficial to you?  Will you take a cooking class to improve your skills? Will you go the self taught route?

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