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Knives Cooks Love: How to Buy, Sharpen, and Use Your Most Important Kitchen Tool Hardcover – October 21, 2008

4.3 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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  • Knives Cooks Love: How to Buy, Sharpen, and Use Your Most Important Kitchen Tool
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  • Things Cooks Love: Implements, Ingredients, Recipes
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  • Tips Cooks Love: Over 500 Tips, Techniques, and Shortcuts That Will Make You a Better Cook!
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Useful and informative...you'll appreciate the instructions on how to evaluate a knife and the list of must-have knives...valuable information. --About.com

Wonderfully coherent, easy-to-follow guide. Even better, recipes that you can make immediately after learning each new cut, chop or slice. --Tampa Tribune

In-depth advice on selection and care of knives, cutting techniques and recipes. --Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Beautiful...one part textbook and one part tribute to the most important tool in the kitchen. --Boston Herald

This book makes a dull subject interesting....It's perfect for the new home cook. --Sara Moulton, Good Morning America

Review

The lay reader will like the simple sections on how to chop, peel, and dice a variety of foods.

One part textbook and one part tribute to the most important tool in the kitchen.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing (October 21, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0740770020
  • ISBN-13: 978-0740770029
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 0.9 x 11.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #755,716 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Sarah Jay was the executive editor of Fine Cooking magazine before becoming a freelance food writer and editor. She is now a contributing editor to the magazine. A former newspaper reporter, Sarah has published articles in numerous publications, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, and Saveur. She received a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University and is a graduate of Brown University. She lives in New York City with her husband, two daughters, and a drawer full of very sharp knives.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
For anyone that cooks even just occasionally, there's some basic information that should be known about knives: how to tell if they are sharp, how to store them properly, how to sharpen them, etc. Even the most basic book about knives should contain all of that. It's when you get beyond those things that you can tell if a knife book is worth its weight.

And this book fails to do so. It's worth a read if you know nothing about knives, but it would probably be a better idea to invest the time in a book that is a little more comprehensive and thought-out (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 comes to mind ).

Knives Cooks Love provides only the most basic how-to about using and keeping knives, the same amount of information probably able to be stuffed into a free brochure or a knife's user guide. The rest of the book is filled with fluff and pretty pictures. It seems as though, and this is proving to be a theme across a lot of Sur La Table cook books, that it is meant to be sitting nicely on a shelf in an ambitious home cook's library, rather than actually used.

When I was selling these books at our store, a lady happily bounced up to the register, this book nestled tightly under arm. She laid it on the counter with a smile. "Cook a lot?," I asked. She quickly replied, "Oh, no. I don't cook. I just like cookbooks like this. They're so pretty."

Congrats, Sur La Table. You win. You found your target audience, and they're willing to spend money on this book. If you're not one of these people, I would pass on this one.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
When I had an opportunity to re-stock a kitchen, I wanted to buy some good knives -- but I didn't know how. In the past, I had just bought whatever. I got this book and love it. It has everything you ever wanted to know about knives, and then some. It describes the history of cutlery (short), Things to look for in buying knives, all the different kinds of knives and what they're used for, and how they're used. There's a nice section on cutting techniques as well. Now, I thought after decades of cooking that I knew how to use a knife, but I have learned a lot. The new way of cutting green peppers, for example, makes a world of difference in my prep work. I highly recommend this book. Even if you know all you need or want to about knives, it is just interesting to read. Plus, it has beautiful pictures.
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Format: Hardcover
The information on choosing knives and sharpening them in this book is informative and understandable. If you are getting ready to invest in good knives, it might be helpful to read this book in advance. If you do not how to properly cut a variety of foods, you may find the many series of instructional photos to be very helpful guides.

The first five chapters are A Primer on Knives.

The first chapter, The Making of a Knife, covers the history of knife-making, the difference between steel and ceramic blades, and the regions throughout the world known for making knives. There are boxes within the chapter with concise info on topics such as Metallurgy for Dummies, Know the Limits of Ceramic, and The Beauty of Damascus Steel.

The next chapter, A Blade for Every Purpose, covers the types of knives available (including chef's, paring, bread, slicers and carvers, cleavers, tomato and steak, cheese, traditional Japanese, and shears) and how to determine a knife's purpose (based on the tip; blade thickness, length, flexibility, and width; and edge curvature and type.

The third chapter, On Becoming a Savvy Knife Shopper, covers how to evaluate a knife based on the anatomy (handle, heel, bolster, spine, tang and cutting edge), blade material, weight, balance and flexibility. It also discusses buying a set versus one at a time and tips on selecting cutting boards.

The next chapter, How to Keep Them Sharp, was of great interest to me as I have had a knife sharpener for a while but still haven't used it. This chapter explains the difference on maintenance and sharpening.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you ever stopped while doing prep work on vegatables and thought "you know there's probably a better way to do this" then you really need this book. I wasn't even holding my knife correctly let alone making anything but random, unproductive cuts.
This book shows step-by-step instuctions for cutting all kinds of things. It also gives history and details about knives which some may find interesting, myself included.
It's an overused expression, but this book really does make cooking fun, so much so that i went out and bought a couple new knives.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There has been a large number of kitchen knife books published in the last couple of years but many of the authors seem to be better at using knives than describing the technical aspects of cutlery. This one gives a fairly good balance between the two.
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Format: Hardcover
For the price of the book, consider it a primer and a good start toward getting to know about knives. I read it over in less than a few hours. (This includes looking at the pictures and reading the recipes.) This is 'knives cooks love', not 'knives chefs love', nor 'knives cooks need'...it is to evoke a pleasure in the most basic cooking experience--food prep (and a bit more). This book like other Sur la Table books, that it is nice quality in every way...set up well, nice lay out, good paper, nice photos...etc.

This book would have been better if it gave some particular opinions...but they can't as they sell most of what is in the book.
For example: Personally, I found a great deal on a set of those Rachel Ray Furi knives (orange rubbery handled santoku style) and bought the Furi sharpening/honing system and it has been easy to maintain. This worked for me to get started in my kitchen. Later, I bought some of those funky KAI Pure Komachi knives because I enjoyed the light weight and that they perform well. (They are so inexpensive; don't expect those to find a place in this book even though Sur La Table sold them at one time.) Then I purchased the Shun electric sharpener for the KAI knives (same company, different line but same angle to their edges) which I had no success with. Both sharpening systems are in the book, but I would take the Furi system any day. Live and learn, but I don't think that this book could have helped me either way...

Since good knives can be expensive, this book can be considered a small investment to know the knives on the market. I liked the information on what goes into the different knives--materials and how they are made.
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