Please help me pick knives. I don't know anything about cooking.

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Joined May 30, 2020
Hopefully that attention grabbing headline got some experts in here.

So here's the deal. I just got married, and we have ~$350 in Macy's cash to burn by June 11th that's from the registry. We've been in need of a new knife set, but we were unable to decide on a set to add to the registry in time.

I know next to nothing about cooking. I cook... But it ain't good. My wife on the other hand is a very good cook. I really don't even know what to look for in a knife set, so i need some help on that too. What i do know we want is listed below.

1.Stays sharp for a while
2. Doesn't crack from sharpening (had a cheapo set crack the first time I sharpened)
3. Doesn't rust
4. Ideally dishwasher safe (though our current set isn't, so not critical)
5. Would like to find one with matching steak knife sets

With the Macy's cash, we can probably work with a total budget of about $500-800. I realize sticking with Macy's selection might be seriously limiting us, but if there are any decent sets or brands offered we'd appreciate a recommendation. Otherwise, if the offerings at Macy's are that bad, we can find something else to spend the Macy's cash on and just buy some cheaper knives elsewhere.
 
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Joined Oct 31, 2012
Don't buy a set. If your wife is the cook, she should pick out some knives she will enjoy using. Macys may have one that fits her requirements. If not, don't buy the knives they have just to spend the money. . A chef knife, a utility knife and a paring knife and a bread knife should be a good start. They should fit comfortably in her hand and she should enjoy using them. Some form of sharpening system should also be purchased. Knives always dull eventually. No Decent knife should ever go in the dishwasher. Never.
If you have a cooking supply store nearby you should see their knives as well.
Macys has plenty of things to spend your money on. Knives should be selected thoughtfully
 
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Joined May 30, 2020
Don't buy a set. If your wife is the cook, she should pick out some knives she will enjoy using. Macys may have one that fits her requirements. If not, don't buy the knives they have just to spend the money. . A chef knife, a utility knife and a paring knife and a bread knife should be a good start. They should fit comfortably in her hand and she should enjoy using them. Some form of sharpening system should also be purchased. Knives always dull eventually. No Decent knife should ever go in the dishwasher. Never.
If you have a cooking supply store nearby you should see their knives as well.
Macys has plenty of things to spend your money on. Knives should be selected thoughtfully
Thanks. This seems to be the verdict on other boards where i asked the same question. Unfortunately we're still on lockdown here in Baltimore, so no stores are open yet. Honestly, I wouldn't even know what store to go to for something like this if department stores are a no go.
 
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Joined Mar 1, 2017
You can find plenty of places online that sell quality knives. The trade off is that you won't be able to physically inspect them. chefwriter chefwriter is 100% correct: choosing a knife is a very personal choice. Everyone is different in what they look for in a knife. A home cook is going to have much different preferences than a professional cook etc.

I will address the criteria that you've outlined. Hopefully, my answers will help you understand the selection process.

1.Stays sharp for a while - This criteria is always important. There's nothing that causes more injuries in a kitchen than a dull knife. However, on average, home cooks need to sharpen their knives perhaps 2 or 3 times a year, at most. Pros will sharpen their knives at least twice as many times because if the difference in use. There are excellent knives out there that can't hold an edge very long because the metal they're made of is soft. Their soft metal allows them to become insanely sharp but, it won't last long. The opposite is true for knives made with harder metal. Some knives are made with both soft and hard metal such as some Japanese knives. Having said all this, your choice of honing steel is every bit as important as the knives themselves. To make a long story short, honing steel simply restores the edge of the knife without removing metal whereas sharpening a knife actually removes metal from the blade.

2. Doesn't crack from sharpening (had a cheapo set crack the first time I sharpened) - There's a number of factors that could've caused the knife to crack. Being cheap is one of them. If you haven't done so already, plan on purchasing a set of sharpening stones and learn how to use them. Its not as complicated as it seems and you really have to go out of your way to damage a knife with sharpening stone. Mechanical knife sharpeners can cause serious damage to your knives and in my opinion, should be avoided. There are plenty of instructional videos on the internet that can help you learn how to use the stones and which stones you should buy.

3. Doesn't rust - Any metal that contains iron is going to rust eventually if they're not stored or treated properly or not used for prolonged periods. Most decent knives should be washed by hand, not in the dishwasher. If cared for properly, rusting shouldn't be much of a concern, especially when it comes to good quality knives.

4. Ideally dishwasher safe (though our current set isn't, so not critical) - This is one of those criteria you're probably going to have to give up if you want a set of good knives. Most good knives are not dishwasher friends. Even if they are, like I said previously, avoid washing your knives in the dishwasher. The agitation of the dishwasher can jostle the knives around and cause damage to the blades such as chipping etc. Even if the manufacturer says they're dishwasher safe, you should make it a point to wash them by hand.

5. Would like to find one with matching steak knife set - If you're looking for a knife set, most include steak knives. So, this shouldn't be a big problem. With the budget you've mentioned at Macy's, you shouldn't have a problem finding a good set that's within your price range. Look for Wusthoff, Henkle, Zwilling, Chicago Cutlery etc. For a starter set, any of these brands would be good choices.

By the way, Macy's has some pretty good looking sales going on right now.

Remember, never give a knife as a gift. If you give someone a knife, always make sure they give you something for it like a penny. The old cook's legend is if you give a knife as a gift, it will sever the bonds of friendship.

Good luck. :)
 
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Only the zwilling kramer and miyabi are worth looking at in Macy's options. And don't get the set. Get the 210mm chefs knife, a 150mm petty/utility knife, and the rest on specific butchering knives that arent in a set anyway
 
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Only the zwilling kramer and miyabi are worth looking at in Macy's options. And don't get the set. Get the 210mm chefs knife, a 150mm petty/utility knife, and the rest on specific butchering knives that arent in a set anyway
I don't agree. While the suggestions you have made involve some good knives, albeit somewhat pricey, Macy's has a variety of excellent choices suitable for any home cook. :)
 
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Joined Oct 9, 2008
Quick question:

2. Doesn't crack from sharpening (had a cheapo set crack the first time I sharpened
Maybe I'm misreading, but this sounds like you know how to sharpen a knife, which probably also means you have some tools or equipment for doing so. Before going any further, then -- what sort of sharpening are you doing? That does actually make a big difference in terms of what knives might be a good bet for you.
 
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Joined Jun 11, 2013
First, I will echo what others are saying . . . don't buy a set. You don't tend to get the best knives.

Second, when it comes to sharpening . . . make sure you're doing it correctly. Plus, regular honing of your knives is just as important a sharpening . . . if not more important. Do you have a good honing rod?

Third, start by getting one knife that you like . . . one . . . maybe two . . . plus, what you like could be very different than what your wife likes. I tend to be obsessed with chef knives and have them from 6" to 10" in size. I have relatively small hands and tend to lean toward a 6" on a day-to-day basis.

Fourth, do you and your wife agree on the style of steak knives? The idea of matching steak knives sounds nice, but do they have the edge you want . . . serrated vs non-serrated . . . I prefer a non-serrated steak knife that is kept really sharp.

Fifth, for knives I think are a good value . . . you may want to check out Hammer Stahl. I have a few and I like them better than I thought I would. I was at a wine festival a few years back and Hammer Stahl had a booth. Check out Heritage Steel's website. The 6" Hammer Stahl chef's knife is currently on sale for $29.95 (I have two and really like them) . . . the 8" is on sale for $79.95 . . . but, keep an eye on their sales. I recently purchased their 10" chef's knife for under $70. https://www.heritagesteel.us/pages/...ubmV0IiwgImtsX2NvbXBhbnlfaWQiOiAiSzVSNTdTIn0=

Lastly, check out the knife skills video on Bluprint. It's free (a very good price) . . . https://www.mybluprint.com/playlist/560/7066?t=19 . . . but, do it quickly since Bluprint (formerly known as Craftsy) is closing up business and I don't know what the availability will be for the video. Owning good knives is only part of the equation. Knowing how to use and maintain them is a huge part. Even better . . . take a class. I've taken a couple over the years and it was really helpful to not only get instruction . . . but, I got feedback on my technique.
 
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