Monday, May 4, 2009


My kitchen knives are dull. They are embarrassingly, frustratingly dull. Not to mention that they are a jumbled combination of at least three different sets, each of lesser quality than the first. The obvious solution is to buy a new set. That sounds easy and straightforward enough and I have tried to go out and buy a new set on several occasions but was stalled each time by my own inability to make choices. I'll try to trace my line of thinking: I want to get a high-quality cutlery set. There's really no excuse to have cheap and dull knives. But since I'm a vegetarian and don't eat meat, I don't really need a crazy-sharp set of knives. I also don't really need a set with steak knives. In fact, I only really need an 8" chef knife, a serrated bread knife, a paring knife, a few utility knives and a sharpening steel. But I really like those new hollow-edged Santoku knives that are showing up in newer sets. And all I really need is stamped steel - I can still sharpen it forever - but why not get a high-carbon set? Since I'm in my early thirties, there's a chance (a good chance, in fact) that the cutlery set I buy might be the last set I ever need. I'm old enough and responsible enough to take good care of them and they could last my lifetime. In that case, why is my price limit only $150? But in the end it doesn't really matter if I get a Wusthof, Calphalon or J.A. Henckels set - Chicago Cutlery and Kitchen-Aid are perfectly legitimate and cost half the price. It is at this point that I give up, put back all the boxes of knives that I've been agonizing over for thirty minutes and resolve to get a set online.

This has happened multiple times and, until I come to my senses, will continue to happen. I blame the internet! If there weren't so many choices, if there wasn't the illusion of The Perfect Cutlery Set For Me I might have picked up a perfectly adequate set of knives that would have sliced my tomatoes, cheese, bread, limes and carrots with ease and might even last for the next twenty years. Choices, variety and versatility are fantastic features of our new information age, but they can be paralyzing to someone who does not know what he wants.

The very same thing is happening to me over GPS receivers. I over think the problem and make it a far bigger ordeal than it should be. I used to be able to relax and make decisions. Part of that was because I was buying cheap, mostly disposable things. But now the thought of permanence looms over every decision I make. Sure I might like that cutlery set now, but what if I regret it later?

Clearly the problem is mine alone. I need to stop being such an indecisive little wimp and make a choice now and then. Until then, does anyone have any recommendations for cutlery?


Bronwen said...

In the immortal words of the pot-smoking picketer: Vote, bitch.

Heather McIntosh said...

Pampered Chef all the way, man. I have an older version and they're just perfect. You buy only what you need, and each knife comes in its own sharpening case.