Knives are what I enjoy most about cooking, as well as being functional and testaments to good work, they are penis substitutes non pareil. Just finished reading a collection of essays by Jeffrey Steingarten’s It must have been something I ate and in one of his essays he works to the conclusion that chastity is, not lost so much on the wedding bed, but symbolically in the cutting of the (white) wedding cake. Insecure Australian men thrilled when Paul Hogan triumphed with “That’s not a knife”. In the flicks, knives are also the weapons of choice of impotent sexual predators. I just use mine for dicing onions. Here’s me taking a break from julienning carrots.

A knife is worth saving for and one decent knife, can do the job of many. My Chef’s knife shares the same birthday as the Sarin gas attacks in Tokyo all those years ago and is still in immaculate condition. It could be all I needed but where’d the fun be in that.

In my kitchen-

  • 26cm Wusthof Trident French Chef’s knife – does everything. Long enough to get some good leverage when mincing. Precise and the tip is good for finer work.

  • #6 Brieto M11pro Cleaver – the other desert island choice, has the advantage of being able to be used for tenderising and is great for scooping up choppings to put them in the pan. It’s from Japan and quite a work of art, one piece with a dimpled handle like the Global knives. Not for chopping bones as I found out with some chops. Only just finished sharpening out the dents in it. I used to have just a cheap one from an Asian supermarket and that worked well for what it was.

  • Dexter Russel Butcher’s knife – good for boning (there we go again), trimming meat and carving. Evil sharp. Provides reassurance that however poorly my career goes I’ll always be able to eat.

  • 4″ Zwilling Paring knife – fiddly work – peeling Kiwi fruit etc.

  • Bread knife – doesn’t have to be flash but will still do a better job than a cleaver on a loaf of bread.

  • Japanese yanagi long sashimi knife – bought this in a small shop in Kappabashi in Tokyo. Sharpens quickly and rusts easily – that’s the trade off. Poetry when it slides through a piece of tuna in one fluid draw back motion.

  • Japanese deba fish knife – this is like a heavy wedge – the yanagi bocho doesn’t go anywhere near anything tougher than an unripe avocado but this will happily decapitate a snapper.

  • Steel – should be at least as long as the blade of your knife.

And that’s it. I regret not buying a Japanese usuba vegetable knife but I don’t know how long it would have taken me to peel a daikon (giant radish) into one long continuous sheet. It was a marvel to watch. I also wish I had an excuse to get a Global knife, they’re comfortable, sharp, and design classics. Maybe some steak knives.