Tuesday, July 15, 2014

KNIFE SKILLS by Bill Collins

“This book will give you the confidence to choose and use the knives and other nonelectric sharp tools in your kitchen. It’s also a reference book that you can use as you improve your skills and acquire the tools that will make you a better cook.”

Mr. Collins states the basic two knives needed in your kitchen are a “chef’s knife for cutting, chopping, and slicing, and a paring knife for smaller tasks.” The larger size ten-inch chef knife is important due to the extra height in lifting the smaller eight-inch chef knife. Mr. Collins explains in extensive detail the proper way to hold a knife when cutting or chopping ingredients with illustrations to enhance the written information in the book. Collins further discusses the meat clever to cut through bones and very thick meat that is its main use and function as a knife. As well as the meat clever, the mezzaluna has only a single purpose of chopping herbs with its rounded blade but you can also use the chef knife for this purpose. Buying knives is the section where Collins shares knowing what to look for while selecting knives for purchase with comfort ability and balance being your main focus along with any budget you have set for yourself. On the subject of ceramic knives, Collins suggests careful use, as they are brittle, can break during normal tasks of heavy chopping, and does not hold well under pressure removing the core from a cabbage. Further information provided is the sharpening of knives, sharpening stones, chopping boards, motorized knives, and accessories such as mandolins, mini choppers, and graters. Included is the valuable section, Recipes and Techniques, that contains recipes to practice improving your knife skills learned in the previous content of this book such as Aunt Jean’s Brisket, Shrimp Pad Thai, and Cheese Straws concluding the knife technique book  with a resource page to include websites for cooking schools and purchasing knives.

I gained invaluable information that I was holding and using the wrong knife while separating meat from the bone preparing dishes in the kitchen and very much appreciate the illustrations showing the correct position to use. I recommend reading to any cook or amateur chef by adding to their kitchen bookshelf or take advantage as a gifting opportunity.

I received this book free from the Net Galley reviewer program in exchange for an unbiased opinion in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission guidelines.

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