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An Edge in the Kitchen: The Ultimate Guide to Kitchen Knives -- How to Buy Them, Keep Them Razor Sharp, and Use Them Like a Pro [Hardcover]

Chad Ward
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)

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Book Description

June 10, 2008

Why are most of us so woefully uninformed about our kitchen knives? We are intimidated by our knives when they are sharp, annoyed by them when they are dull, and quietly ashamed that we don't know how to use them with any competence. For a species that has been using knives for nearly as long as we have been walking upright, that's a serious problem. An Edge in the Kitchen is the solution, an intelligent and delightful debunking of the mysteries of kitchen knives once and for all. If you can stack blocks, you can cut restaurant-quality diced vegetables. If you can fold a paper airplane, you can sharpen your knives better than many professionals.

Veteran cook Chad Ward provides an in-depth guide to the most important tool in the kitchen, including how to choose the best kitchen knives in your price range, practical tutorials on knife skills, a step-by-step section on sharpening, and more——all illustrated with beautiful photographs throughout. Along the way you will discover what a cow sword is, and why you might want one; why chefs are abandoning their heavy knives in droves; and why the Pinch and the Claw, strange as they may sound, are in fact the best way to make precision vegetable cuts with speed and style.

An Edge in the Kitchen is the one and only guide to the most important tool in the kitchen.


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An Edge in the Kitchen: The Ultimate Guide to Kitchen Knives -- How to Buy Them, Keep Them Razor Sharp, and Use Them Like a Pro + Japanese Kitchen Knives: Essential Techniques and Recipes + The Zwilling J. A. Henckels Complete Book of Knife Skills: The Essential Guide to Use, Techniques and Care
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Editorial Reviews

Review

“You’ll be hard pressed to find as succinct and complete a collection of wisdom on the topic as this masterful volume from cook and writer Ward. He covers nearly everything...giving cooks all the information they need....This book [is] as indispensable as the tools themselves.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))

“Chad Ward...has written a handsome volume on knives and everything you might want to know about them, and about using them....It’s not only filled with good info put together with a good design, the writing is lively as well.” (Michael Ruhlman, author of The Making of a Chef, The Soul of a Chef, and The Elements of Cooking)

“A definitive guide for buying knives....[An Edge in the Kitchen] covers everything you need to know and more.” (Lynne Rossetto Kasper, cookbook author and host of The Splendid Table)

“This year has already seen the publishing of several good knife books. Add [An Edge in the Kitchen] to the list....Ward...has crafted a book that is instructional and deep...as well as highly readable.” (Tampa Tribune)

Chad Ward offers all you need to know....A lot of knife wisdom served with a splash of wit and a sprinkle of trivia make this a book you’ll want to read from cover to cover as well as to prop up by your knife block. (Sara Moulton, host of Sara's Secrets)

About the Author

Chad Ward has been a writer and cook for more than twenty years. To date, more than three hundred thousand people have taken Chad's online knife sharpening class on eGullet.org. His writing has appeared in publications such as Best Food Writing and Aviation International News. He lives in North Carolina.


Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Cookbooks; 5.11.2008 edition (June 10, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061188484
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061188480
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.8 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #64,938 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
(81)
4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
136 of 140 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Most complete & best value book on the subject August 26, 2008
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Chad Ward - An Edge in the Kitchen

I own two books on kitchen knives and knife skills, this one and Weinstein's Mastering Knife Skills. Chad Ward's book is the best of the two by its breadth and wealth of information and is objectively a very good book.

Physically, the book is a medium sized hard cover, well edited. There is a number of good B&W pictures through the book to illustrate specific points, and there's a central section of 48 pages of glossy color pictures depicting specific knife techniques (battonets vs. julienne, onion, tomatoes, cutting a chicken, butterflying a piece of meat, skinning salmon, carving a turkey, steeling a knife, several sharpening methods, etc).

The book is organized as follows:
1 - Choosing the right kitchen knife:
This section is about 90 pages, so it's a sizeable part of the book. The author goes through the various knife types, costs, etc. Generally, Chad advocates staying away from knife block & sets, and explains that a home cook can do most everything with 3 knives: 8" to 10" chef, paring, and a serrated (or scalloped) bread knife. So his recommendation is to get the best of those. What is really helpful is that the author gives specific recommendations for all budgets - below $100, $200, or "the sky's the limit". Too many books just say "get what feels best". Chad goes beyond this to give a range of specific endorsements. This part also includes 10+ pages on cutting boards and how to take care of them.

2 - Kitchen knife skills:
This section is about 30 pages but also has most of the color pictures in the center section. This is where the key knife skill concepts are explained, how to hold the blade and the item to be cut, etc.
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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must For Your Kitchen Library June 18, 2008
Format:Hardcover
With a measured dose of wry humor and thoughtful commentary, Chad Ward debunks the myths and dispels the mysteries of the most essential, yet misunderstood, and under appreciated tool in the kitchen, the humble cook's knife. Whether you're a seasoned home cook, a confused beginner, or a professional cook, you'll undoubtedly benefit from Mr. Ward's comprehensive knowledge which he freely shares in an unintimidating, easily understood style. Bridging the chasm between professional culinary texts and the limited information available to the home cook in various cookbooks, he covers all the critical subjects associated with choosing, using, maintaining, sharpening, and even cleaning up after using a good knife. This book will make a fine, if not essential addition to the reference library of your favorite cook, knife enthusiast, or anyone who simply wants to know more about how to use and maintain the knives in his or her kitchen.
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37 of 40 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
You sort of feel almost embarrassed to call a book about kitchen knives a "page turner," but for me that is exactly what this one is. Not only is this work quite informative, but on a certain level, it is also quite entertaining. The author seems to have a writing skill in that causes the reader to get in the "I can't wait to see what is next" mode. What a delightful and informative read this book is!

Having received my first knife at the age of five, an old single blade Barlow (and immediately cutting my finger with it), I became a life long enthusiast as to knives. I have collected, bought, traded and used them for over sixty years now. I also cook. Not as well as my wife by any means, but I am no stranger to the kitchen. For some reason though, I was never really focused on knives of the, and those used in the kitchen until recently when we decided to purchase new ones. I suppose I just have taken them for granted for many years. I suddenly found there was much I did not know. Hey, we are talking a significant financial outlay here and I do not want to make a costly error!

I began doing some research. Enter this wonderful book.

Chad Ward has done a magnificent job of simplifying a rather complicated and mystifying area of knowledge. Make no mistake, choosing the proper cutlery for kitchen use is not a matter of common sense that the ill-informed might think. No, no, no! There is a myriad of questions that need to be answered and a very deep knowledge in several areas is necessary to make the correct choice. This work goes a long way into helping not only the neophyte cook, but also the more advanced.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A note on sharpening August 19, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this book. It was a good overview, well written, filled with good information, including the kind of practical detail on sharpening that helps a novice obtain good results. I purchased a Kindle edition, which does not appear to be available anymore for reasons unknown.

A note on sharpening. I sharpen with Japanese waterstones. But whether you use watersontes or some other manual method, please beware that the type of sharpening recommended in this book is a lot of work. Not that its not worth it but prepare yourself for a lot of work.

The reason is that, as the author explains, the factory puts a pretty obtuse edge (read wide) on most kitchen knives, say 40 degrees. Ward recommends you grind that edge down to something thinner, like 15 degrees. But to get an edge down from 40 degrees to 15 degrees requires grinding off a lot of steel. And steel, my friends, is hard. You will be astonished at the amount of grinding you have to do on stone to regrind the edge.

I have taken a knife, an 8" Wusthof classic chef's knife that had already been ground once (more on that in a second) and went to grind it down to a 15 degree edge or so. I spent at least 90 minutes on my coarsest waterstone, a 220 grit. I then spent another hour at least working through my other three stones (1200, 4000, & 8000). Not only does it take a long time to grind away all that steel but it takes a fair amount of effort to polish that large edge as well. I did not do a compound bevel.

I freely admit that I am still a relative novice - I have put maybe a half dozen knives through my waterstones and reground all of them. So for someone more experienced it may go faster.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars especially good for if you are shopping for new high grade
So so informative, especially good for if you are shopping for new high grade knives
Published 1 month ago by Sherrie R Strachan
5.0 out of 5 stars Everything you wanted to know about kitchen knives.
Great book... I used to talk to Chad all the time on the Foodie Forums and the kitchen forums about knives, Japanese knives, various kinds of sharpening stones and such, and I'd... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Pamela I. Hughes
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth reading
Very informative
Published 2 months ago by Patrick C.
5.0 out of 5 stars Impressive...Get It (It Answers the Questions You Didn't Know You Had)
Nicely done. As a complete novice with knife sharpening, I looked for a book to guide me on the process. Ward's book does that and much more. Read more
Published 3 months ago by SAB
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Gave it for a gift. Big hit!
Published 4 months ago by JOHN VENTURA
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed reading it
A fun read. good intro with some redundancy for enthusiasts. The chopping section has some tricks I haven't seen before.
Published 5 months ago by jerkface
4.0 out of 5 stars A really great resource and reference guide
A really great resource and reference guide. I'm very interested in cooking and have always wanted to get smarter about the knives I use, including how to properly maintain them. Read more
Published 6 months ago by D. Cox
5.0 out of 5 stars Very informative. A must for cooks.
Chad Ward's book is a must for any serious (or semi-serious) cook. Wonderfully written. Very informative.
Published 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great read
Published 7 months ago by Kimberley Abreu
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Just started reading this and it is well written and informative. Just what I needed.
Published 8 months ago by Eileen Nielsen
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An Edge in the Kitchen: The Ultimate Guide to Kitchen Knives -- How to Buy Them, Keep Them Razor Sharp, and Use Them Like a Pro
This item: An Edge in the Kitchen: The Ultimate Guide to Kitchen Knives -- How to Buy Them, Keep Them Razor Sharp, and Use Them Like a Pro
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