Are You Using That Kitchen Knife Properly? How I Learned to Save Time (and My Fingers!)

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I’ve occasionally been known to spend a happening Friday night puttering around my kitchen making things like laundry soap and homemade deodorant. I’m a party animal. What can I say?

Still, I surprised myself by happily spending two hours taking a free online “mini” knife skills class until I finally realized it was almost midnight!

Truth be told, I’ve never thought much about the way that I cut food.

Sometimes I’ve frustrated myself, struggled to do a job properly, nicked myself in the process, or ended up butchering what was an otherwise lovely tomato or butternut squash in my amateurish process.

Not anymore!

Tonight I learned how to:

  • properly hone my knives to keep them sharp between actual sharpenings. I actually skipped straight to this in the last lesson because I had never, ever done it before (honestly, I was scared to try it), and it had been bugging me lately how dull my knives were. Sharper knives = easier, faster cutting.
  • hold my knife correctly, for better maneuvering, smoother cuts, and not wrenching up my back or shoulder by doing it wrong
  • hold the item I’m cutting more securely so that I can get precise cuts, without cutting off a pinkie in the process
  • tackle large or tricky items, like pineapples and squash, with ease 
  • dice onions more finely and without making my eyes water
  • make prettier looking julienne cuts for salads
  • a few tricks for slicing more evenly and more quickly 
  • cut using a more flowing, circular motion instead of a rough, chopping motion, which feels more pleasant and makes the task go much faster
  • the only three knives that most cooks ever need and how to figure out which ones to buy

When Craftsy asked me to review a class, I initially had my eye on something more complicated and gourmet, like making homemade Italian-style fresh pasta or the perfect pie crust. Their suggestion of trying out their free mini-course on knife skills sounded a whole lot less fancy and impressive.

Nonetheless, I agreed to it (as well as an artisan baking class that I’ll tell you about later this month), and as I prepared to take the class, I got to thinking that realistically, I would make homemade pasta maybe twice a year. Tops.

onions

But I use my knives every single day. Why not get better at using them?

The surprising thing was… learning to chop and dice and slice like a pro actually made me feel like I could make something more gourmet out of any old meal, and in less time than usual.

Brendan, the teacher, has been a chef instructor for 8 years, with a specialty in knife skills (honestly, I didn’t even know that was a thing, but listening to him showed me just how much I didn’t know about knives or how to use them!).

He made it look so easy, and the further I went in the class, the better and faster I could feel myself getting with practice. I bet in no time these new skills will actually become habit and will seep their way into all of my food preparations.

I even noticed halfway through my time tonight that every time I picked up my knife wrong, I noticed right away, immediately corrected, and found that it felt more familiar each time I did it.

Want to take the class yourself? It’s free, y’all!

Sometimes I write sponsored posts (and this is one – thanks, Craftsy, for supporting Keeper of the Home!) where I’m promoting a product that you could go and buy.

The really awesome thing about this particular post is that this mini-class is absolutely free to anyone, whether they’re my reader or not.

They’ve made some of their high-quality online courses free so that people can check them out, see if you like how they work, decide if you think they’re worth it, etc.

video

I’ll admit, I was impressed. The area where you go to watch your videos is totally intuitive and easy to figure out. It’s all streaming, so you don’t have to download anything.

I thought it was clever that they have a 30-second rewind button so that if you want to quickly go back and hear something a second time, it’s a quick click of a button. My favorite feature was the notes bar, where you can type in notes as you’re watching, and then just hit enter to save them to your account. Brilliant!

I kept typing notes during the first video in particular, where Brendan talked about different types of knives and what to look for in a good knife, since mine are terribly old and dull (and yes, pretty cheap) and I know that with just one or two really great knives, I could make my cooking so much more efficient.

I’m motivated now to keep my eyes open for a good deal on a quality knife, especially a chef’s knife, and then probably a serrated, followed by a paring knife. With those three, you can do pretty much anything and it suits my minimalistic style to have only a few knives with which I can handle pretty much any task.

4256_complete-knife-skills-1390247104628

Want to spend an afternoon or evening being super cool a bit of a geek like me and learn to wield a knife properly? You totally can. Here’s the link to take the class:

Complete Knife Skills with Brendan McDermott (free mini-class)

All together, it’s 5 lessons, the 1st and 5th of which are fairly short (less than 10 minutes), and then the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th are a bit longer (more like 30-40 each). You can watch them whenever you like, and I found that if I stopped to go do something or had to refresh my computer, it saved exactly where I was in the video so I just picked up where I left off.

I’m thinking of letting my almost 10-year-old daughter work through this class as well. She loves to help in the kitchen, but I want to make sure that she’s using a knife safely (which he emphasizes over and over, pointing out exactly how not to hurt yourself– I confess, I had to laugh at several of his examples of doing it “wrong” because it was exactly how I do it!). If you’ve got an older child or teen that’s learning to cook, this would be a perfect introduction for them.

Are You Using That Kitchen Knife Properly? How I Learned to Save Time (and My Fingers!) {keeperofthehome.org}

Have you ever learned how to use a knife properly? Or do you sort of hack your way through fruits and vegetables like I did? :)

Disclosure: This post was paid for by Craftsy. All opinions expressed are my own.
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