Dads are awesome. They seem to know and understand their children even when their children have grown into adulthood. We grow, we learn, we experience, and yet, there is still a part of a gal who still needs her Daddy once in awhile.
My dad saw my recent post today on cooking fears and challenges and read my admission that I have always had difficulty with knife use. This is a difficult admission for a home cook to make because knife skills are essential to good and safe food preparation and cooking. A weakness – such as knife skills – can negate a bit of one’s credibility. On the flip-side, admitting a weakness allows a glimpse at the side of me that makes me human – fear.
After viewing my post, my dad messaged me right away to be sure I received some helpful and safe information about knife skills. He had observed (over many years) how I held I knife – tentatively and with great fear of the sharp and pointy metal. I had often used a small paring knife instead of a chef’s knife thinking I’d have more control over a smaller knife. Wrong. Even worse, I held it all wrong out of fear of touching the sharp blade. Here is a picture from Dad holding a knife in the way he had observed me holding one. He cringed as he would watch my improper cuts and the rotating of the knife.
Holding a knife this way or using a smaller paring knife to cut a watermelon is a recipe for disaster and likely a trip to the Emergency Room.
The proper way to hold a knife is to place thumb and forefinger on either side of the base of the blade and hold the knife firmly. The three remaining fingers should hold firm to the handle beneath the blade. My dad learned this technique from a chef in a cooking class long ago.
About.com also sports a lesson on the proper use of a chef’s knife on it’s website: http://culinaryarts.about.com/od/knifeskills/ss/knifegrips.htm You know, my dad should teach a class. He has crazy-awesome skills!
I’ve always admired Dad’s knife skills and wished that I could chop as finely or as precisely as he. Tonight, I am sure I will, and hopefully, Dad will rest easier knowing that I have paid attention to his advice.