Abecedarian Artistry

Life sucks. And then you have to chop onions.

There’s little that is more tedious with regard to preparing and cooking food than all the chopping, slicing, dicing, smashing, thrashing, binding, grinding, thrusting, groaning, moaning and screaming.

And if you’re not doing all those in your kitchen, you’re doing it wrong…


…with your knife.

A ridiculous amount of time is spent preparing foods for the cooking process way before heat meets treat. Most of that preparation is in the form of breaking it down into smaller pieces. This implies knife play…

If there’s one piece of kitchen equipment that will exponentially improve your cooking enjoyment, it’s one, quality, sharp knife. When you can slice a tomato without squishing it like a stress-ball at a stock broker convention, your life changes.

I personally recommend an eight-inch chef’s knife. A good chef’s knife can do everything, and will always be the first knife you reach for after the first time you use it.

I recommend the Shun brand. I’ve a few of their knives, and it’s mind-boggling how insanely sharp they are, and how well they cut and keep their edge.

Which brings up another important point (punny!): you are FAR less likely to cut yourself with a sharp, quality knife, then a cheap, dull, piece of crap.


A sharp knife requires almost no effort to move it through the food. A dull knife requires force. Even a dull object made for cutting will slice through pink fleshy fingers. Now, imagine holding that knife above said digit and applying the force you’re placing against that apple.

Yes. It went into the bone. Congratulations, the money you saved by picking up that twenty dollar special set from that infomercial is now squandered on the ambulance ride, stitches, and pain killers (well, those might be worth it).

Skills with a knife are among some of the simplest that one can learn, yet I’ve noticed a shocking amount of friends and acquaintances have absolutely no skill with these simple machines. Considering said ease with which one can acquire these skills, and the amount of which they improve one’s kitchen experience, it’s baffling that we don’t all possess these superhuman abilities.

Fear not, citizens of the internets, I, Falquan, shall save you!

All you really need are three simple motions, best demonstrated by Alton Brown in the “Slice, Chop, Pare” episode of his groundbreaking series of all things food, Good Eats (apologies for having to pop a new window, Food Network hasn’t yet found a way to not introduce Javascript errors in their embedded videos).

Now you’re having a great time.

Why? You feel like a pro: you’re hacking through celery like a rabbit on ‘roids. Therefore, you’re cooking faster. Prep is taking less time because you’ve flown through your veg before Lady Gaga could have another Bad Romance.

Mise en place will set you free.

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