Almost every recipe begins with an instruction: cut up a chicken, slice an onion, mince some garlic, dice a few tomatoes, or maybe peel an avocado. Yet few cooks—even good ones—possess the basic knife skills to do these tasks effectively. Whether you’re a four-star chef or an at-home beginner, Knife Skills Illustrated will show you how with step-by-step drawings and instructions. Once you acquire these skills, cutting becomes a part of the pleasure of cooking. What’s more, the flavors and texture of your finished dishes will be enhanced. This comprehensive guide fills a gaping void in the literature of cooking.
Chances are, when you start using this book, you’ll do so with the kitchen knives you already have on hand. The first chapter will help you understand those knives better. You’ll learn how to make a knife sharp, and how to keep it that way. You’ll learn what type of cutting surface is best. And if you later decide to replace your knives, there’s information here as to how to choose new ones.
The cutting techniques presented in chapters 2 and 3 provide step-by-step instructions for cutting most of the fruits, vegetables, meats, poultry, and fish that you will ever encounter. With experience, you’ll discover that any food items not directly covered can be handled similarly to ones that are. You’ll also find that each item you pick up to cut will be unique. At times, you will have to modify these instructions slightly to accommodate this uniqueness.
The step-by-step instructions are accompanied by illustrations drawn to enhance the instructions. Most of the time the technique is depicted from your point of view, so you can see exactly where your hands should be and how the knife should be used. Occasionally an additional view is provided so you can better see how to produce a good result.
With good knife skills, cooking becomes fun. Cutting carrots is no longer a chore, but a meditation. Slicing an onion no longer brings tears of anguish, but those of joy. Disjointing a chicken is no longer punishment, but pleasure. With good knife skills, preparing food becomes a time of great satisfaction indeed!