Dull Knives Just Won’t Cut It

Picture this: you’re in the kitchen prepping a beautiful, summery caprese salad, and your knife slips off the tomato you’re attempting to cut. Disaster! 

Dull knives are not only frustrating, but dangerous as well. To find out how to avoid a knife catastrophe in the kitchen, I talked to Kelly Lewis, the Traveling Sharpener, to get some tips. 

• Lewis said that your knife will tell you when it needs to be sharpened. If it isn’t grabbing into the food properly, that’s a sign that you need to put an edge back on the knife.

• Don’t wash knives in the dishwater – always hand-wash them. 

• Don’t just throw your knives into a drawer haphazardly. They should be in a sheath, in a block or on a magnetic strip so that they don’t knock against other knives. 

• As for cutting surfaces, stick to anything that shows the line left by your knife’s cut. That is, your cutting board should be softer than your knife so that the knife cuts into the board. Glass cutting boards are not your friends. 

• When your knife gets dull, that’s actually the result of the blade’s edge folding – albeit microscopically – as you use it. Use a honing steel now and then to straighten the blade back out again. 

Using a sharp knife is easier and more pleasant than sawing away with a dull one, but in the end, a sharp knife is integral to safety in the kitchen. When you cut with a sharp knife, you can apply less pressure and thus have more control. With a dull knife, you use more pressure, and the knife is more likely to slip off your food – and onto your fingers! 

Kelly Lewis, the Traveling Sharpener (, will be at the Savory Spoon in Ellison Bay monthly on the fourth Thursday, 12-2 pm, through September. Take any kind of knife that you want sharpened, including ceramic and serrated varieties. 

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