Knife Suggestions for Gift Giving

Discussion in 'Cooking Knife Reviews' started by Zatch, Oct 25, 2017.

  1. Zatch

    Zatch

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    Hey All,

    I've been watching these forums for a few weeks and I haven't seen any suggestion threads about giving knives as a gift and was hoping I could get some advice.

    My mother cooks a ton and I was looking to get her a nice gift. She currently (almost exclusively) uses the chef knife out of the Ginsu Gourmet Chikara Series 12-piece block. As you might guess, the knife leaves a lot to be desired.

    I have a couple decision points where I could really use some guidance based on what she preps the most. A lot of vegetable variety, but few of the most common ones are onions, carrots, bell peppers, potatoes, and the occasional rutabaga or butternut squash just to be difficult. Meat is mostly chicken with some occasional beef.

    This leads me to my first decision point, should I get one knife to try to fill the role of her current all-purpose knife or a couple knifes to more specialize in those different roles.

    Second is the material. I want to go with carbon steel for the exceptional edge and retention but I worry that the maintenance would make her shy away from using it in favor of the bad knife she is used to. Are carbon-steel knives easy to learn to care for? And will I need to pick Carbon Steel to get a fantastic knife or can a stainless knife be great and make more practical sense for her?

    Then of course, everyone’s favorite, maintenance. Depending on knife suggestions from above what do I need in terms of stones/honing rods to keep the knives in great working order? And what are some good affordable options?


    I would like to keep it all under $350 total if possible.

    Thanks so much for any suggestions or guidance you may have.
     
  2. galley swiller

    galley swiller

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    This is likely going to be a thread with a lot of different responses, and it really helps if you think of this as a "back and forth" dialogue, rather than a one-shot answer.

    Can we assume you are in the USA? Cutlery availability choices are really, REALLY dependent on where the OP (or gift recipient) lives.

    Have you talked with your mother about this? Or, are you intending to make it a surprise? How would she react to maintaining carbon steel blades?

    Who will be doing the actual knife maintenance? You? Or, your mother?

    You might want to think of this as setting up a cutting station, rather than as a knife (or knives) with sharpening gear only. Obviously, the knives come in, but having adequate sharpening gear and a good cutting surface (a cutting board) are also critical.

    When you mentioned butternut squash and chicken, my thoughts ran to at least two full sized knives - one for most cutting purposes, a second, "beater" knife for the nasty stuff.

    Reactions, other posters?

    GS
     
  3. Iceman

    Iceman

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    GIFT CARD ... w/ a picture of a knife.
     
    dectra, brianshaw and Pat Pat like this.
  4. Zatch

    Zatch

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    Thanks for the reply GS, sorry I left it a little vague in the initial post. I didn't want to get too specific and have this thread not be helpful for anyone else with similar problems with the upcoming holidays.

    Yes, my family is from the United States. (Missouri if it matters)
    I was planning on having it be a surprise. Knowing her she'll probably defer to me on it even if I ask, which is why I was hoping to defer to people with much more experience than myself.
    I suspect my dad would do the maintenance. Any tools/stones that are reasonably forgiving to someone learning would work fine. He can practice on the old Ginsu set and watch YouTube to get a feel for it before trying it on the new knife(s).
    She has a ton of cutting boards (some wood many plastic) so I would feel like I'm beating a dead horse with those. Her kitchen is generally very well equipped, just not when it comes to knives/ accessories.

    I'm not sure how much CS varies between knives in terms of sensitivity to the mistakes of someone new to them, but I think it might be helpful to know how sensitive different CS knives actually are. If you have to wipe them off after every few cuts then it probably just doesn't make sense for her, but if its as simple as wiping it off between steps in cooking and not setting it down dirty then I think it can be a really good fit.
     
  5. flambae

    flambae

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    I'm actually trying to hint to my boyfriend that I want a new chef's knife for Christmas lol. What I'm looking for in a knife would be the same as your Mom roughly, lots of veggies and protein only for daily use at work. In my opinion the high carbon knives are a way better option, even for a home cook. You do have to keep them clean but it is mostly to keep them from staining and a little dark mark from some tomatoes isn't going to hurt the edge. As far as maintenance I use a cheap Japanese whetstone I bought on Amazon, it's only a two stage stone but it still gets the edge razor sharp in only a few minutes if you use it often. It's leaps and bounds better than any electric sharpener I've ever used. Actual brands of knives are going to be something I'm sure nobody could agree on but two that I have really liked are Shun and Wusthof. If you're willing to spend the money for a nice new knife and you don't need it to do anything terribly specific, one good chef's knife can complete nearly any kitchen task.
     
  6. Gary88

    Gary88

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    Hi Zatch, I bought the same two Takamura knives for a wedding present to a friend that I'd bought for myself. There is a superstition about giving knives as presents that I wasn't aware of.
    Give a penny along with the knife and then have your Mom give the penny back after she gets the gift. Supposedly giving a knife to someone will cut the relationship with them if you don't observe the penny ritual.

    Now, for the rest of the story: My friend is an ex Navy guy that did duty on Nuclear submarines, got a Materals Science degree and we work for a defense company on missiles. Pretty smart guy.right? After giving the knives to him he came in the next day really worried about there not being a penny in with the knives and made me go through the penny thing.

    I then got a load of abuse from my coworkers for being so clueless etc. Well I'm one of those electrical engineers so that explains it!!
     
  7. rick alan

    rick alan

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    Recent posts alone have covered this subject quite well. But at this time the push is for decision making, as availablity quickly becomes a problem as time moves on.