Recommendations for knives for my Grandmother

Discussion in 'Cooking Knife Reviews' started by theophany, Jul 5, 2017.

  1. theophany

    theophany

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    Hey,

    My grandmother's birthday is coming up and I want to get her a few knives as a present. She currently has a bunch of cutco knives that she doesn't really like that much. I don't think she is going to have the time or put in the effort to hone them or maintain them on a stone, so I am also looking for either electric or hand held sharpener recommendations. I know for sure that she needs a new chef's knife, looking for an 8in one, paring knife probably 4 in, and possibly a santoku 6in. She says that she doesn't mind the weight of the cutco knives but I feel differently, they are so heavy! I definitely want these knives to last her until she is no longer cooking. She doesn't do any rigorous cooking just your average run of the mill cutting a few veggies etc. That being said, I feel like she would love for the knives to stay sharp for a few weeks at least. I will see them around 4 times a year, and I have a set of water stones that I can sharpen them on if need be. Price wise I am looking for somewhere below 150 for the chef knife so kind of middle of the road, nothing super fancy and nothing too cheap. I was considering Mac Pro's but they would lose the specific grind on them if she used an electric or hand held sharpener.

    Thanks for any help!
     
  2. chefwriter

    chefwriter

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    The knife experts on here should be along soon to provide a more detailed answer but I'll give it a shot. 

    Search and read some of the many knife threads. Grandma doesn't really need knives, she needs a knife or two.

    A chef knife, paring knife and something in the middle, typically called a petty or utility knife. 

    Victorinox makes some decent knives and they aren't hard to sharpen and aren't expensive. 

    There are other brands that make a useful knife for between $50-100. 

    A paring knife can be had for about $10. 

    All should keep an edge long enough between your visits. But make sure she has a proper place to store them.

    Not just in the knife drawer and she should know not to toss them in the dishwasher. A honing steel isn't a bad idea either 

    for a little re alignment between your visits. 

    Oh, and make sure she has a decent cutting board. Wood is best. Too hard a board will dull the knife really fast. 

    Of course, don't forget that a dull, expensive knife is worse than a very sharp cheap knife. 

    I have no doubt Grandma will be tickled pink that you were so thoughtful no matter what you get her.
     
  3. chrislehrer

    chrislehrer

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    I am inclined to think that MAC would be ideal. They hold an edge well, and you can touch them up every few months. No need for her to have a sharpener that way.

    As to shape, go with whatever she already uses most. I suspect an 8" chef's and a petty would be perfect, but look at what she actually does.

    And btw I think it's very sweet and suspect she will think so too!
     
  4. foody518

    foody518

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  5. theophany

    theophany

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    Thanks for all of the compliments :D 

    On to her tasks, she is a home cook. She cooks around 5 times a week and I would say most of what she cuts is either fruits/veggies with maybe 1 meat a night if she is cooking it. I would say all together it is probably like 15-20 minutes of cutting a day so around an hour and a half maximum a week.

    I am definitely thinking of getting her some kind of cutting board, while wood definitely would be best, she has a few of those now and none of them are maintained at all. I think the best thing cutting board wise would be a few good quality plastic boards that she can put in the dishwasher to clean really easily and not worry about.

    I do think that if I told her how she would be willing to wash the knives by hand, it only takes like 30 seconds or so... Handle wise, I do believe that if I told her how she would be able to oil a handle a few times and take care of it, BUT I think the easier I can make it on her the better. 

    I think she would enjoy an 8" chef knife. I'm not sure of what she would like utility knife-wise, I don't think she has ever really had one. That being said, I think she would really like one. She has told me before that the paring knife is one of her most used knives, and her chef knife probably a close second. Which leads me to believe she would love something in between. I will probably get her like a Victorinox 4" paring knife for like $10. 

    Like I said I don't think she would really maintain the edge well with a honing steel. Which is why I mentioned getting a manual/electric sharpener of some kind if the knife needed some maintaining like that. 

    Is there anything besides MAC that you guys would recommend? Just curious.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2017
  6. chefwriter

    chefwriter

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    If you have a restaurant supply place near you, you could pick up a Sani Safe chef knife, with plastic handle, about $30. Victorinox also sells something similar. Chicago Cutlery comes to mind. Of course there are other brands of similarly inexpensive. Bed Bath and Beyond has choices as well and TJMaxx and Marshalls' sell knives at a good price. 

    I'm sure I'll be alone in this but I think your Grandmother will be happy with a new sharp knife of any kind and the sharpening service of her grandchild. I'd prepare for the knife to go in the dishwasher or thrown in the drawer occasionally. No need to give her a guilt trip over damaging a precious, costly knife. A new, sharp knife she enjoys using and can take care of in her own way will do the job. 

    Of course, you can always take her to pick one out for herself and then take her to lunch. Spending time with our elders makes them very happy too. 
     
  7. foody518

    foody518

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    There's also those Hi-Soft and Sani-Tuff style rubber cutting boards which are more low maintenance than wood and friendlier on the edges

    http://korin.com/HiSoft-Cutting-Board_3?sc=26&category=17860376

    The Vic paring knife sounds good

    The sharpening device is just going to cause more work for you when you're able to go over and sharpen

    I spent <5 minutes to teach a gift recipient how to use a loaded strop upon giving them their knife since they don't sharpen themselves and I'm not near them. Leather + black compound. 

    For 8 inch knives in the $150 range I linked above what seems to me like one of the best offerings - the Gesshin stainless wa-gyuto 
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2017
  8. theophany

    theophany

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    So I talked to my grandmother, and she says she uses her Chef Knife for chopping, her serrated edge utility knife for tomatoes and stuff (slicing usually), doesn't really use a paring knife because it is never sharp enough, and she said she doesn't really have a carving knife for roasts or the like. 

    In regards to the dishwasher, I believe that she is absolutely willing to hand wash, also I should say my grandfather usually washes the dishes and he would be willing to wash the knives for a few seconds by hand if I tell him about it. She has a giant knife block on her counter where she keeps all of her knives. 

    While I have no doubt that she would like a new sharp knife of any kind, many knives would not stay sharp for very long which is why I want to go Japanese style because from my limited understanding they hold an edge for much longer than German made knives. 
     
  9. foody518

    foody518

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    This is what the suggestions are hoping to fix
     
  10. theophany

    theophany

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    Not quite, I definitely want to replace that one with something. But I also am looking to replace her chef knife as well as her paring knife. The chef and paring knife that she currently has go dull in like a week of her using them. They are just not very good quality knives. So I am hoping to replace them all at some point in the coming months.  I am planning on getting her a few in the next month for her birthday and then a few more for Christmas. The ones that I want to get her immediately would be the chef knife for sure and the paring/utility knife, one or the other. Which ever one paring/utility knife that I don't get her will come at Christmas.

    So in a nutshell, looking to replace 4 types of knives, Chef, Utility, Paring, Slicing.

    Looking for recommendations for all of them and looking for suggestions for all of them. 

    Hope that clears some confusion, let me know if there is still any.
     
  11. foody518

    foody518

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    Okay, let's put together a theoretical list

    Chef's - Gesshin Stainless wa-gyuto

      This knife cuts tomatoes. A serrated utility knife is redundant when you have a sharp chef's and a good length bread knife. Why I underlined above is pointing out what is not needed with a proper setup and maintenance routine

    Bread - Mac Bread Knife 15% off right now http://korin.com/Knives/Pastry_bread

      The ONLY things this should really be needed for is exceedingly crusty bread or a bread crust embedded with a bunch of nuts and seeds and stuff you just don't want to hassle your chefs for. You could also do roasts I guess.

    Petty/Paring - The Vic Paring you mentioned is just fine

    How often is something sliced that the above chef's or bread knife cannot handle?

    Loaded strop - $30 bucks 
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2017
  12. theophany

    theophany

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    Do you mind if I ask why you recommend the
    Gesshin Stainless wa-gyuto, and also why you recommend it over the Mac? I don't know much about it. What level of mantinence would she need to do for the knife and handle?
    I don't think she needs a bread knife very much. She rarely bakes bread or cuts bread herself. When I said slicing knife I meant more for cutting meat, not sure if I used the correct terminology, I apologise. I would say she would use a carving/slicing/whatever it should be called knife around 1 time a week. She often makes roasts, or has a rotisserie chicken from the store and things like that.

    I also agree that with a good knife there isn't much need for serrations.

    I will definitely get the Vic 4" paring. I have one it works great. That being said, is there something in between a chef and the paring knife that she could use? I think she likes the in between length. And I'm fine getting her something in between the chef and paring.
     
  13. theophany

    theophany

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    This his might be a dumb question but I made a post last night where I quoted you, but it contained a link in it. It has not shown up yet, when do the moderators normally get around to allowing/denying it? And how will I know?

    edit- It just showed up... 
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2017
  14. millionsknives

    millionsknives

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    IMO grandma will probably chip the gesshin stainless.  Dull nice knives are still dull knives.

    I recommend victorinox or wusthof pro and a pull through edge wrecker for that toothy edge.
     
  15. theophany

    theophany

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    If I get her a a Japanese knife, gesshin or Mac, or whatever. I will get her a Vic fiberox for cutting squash or things with bones inside. So that one gets beat up cuz it can handle it a lot better and be replaced if needed for a lot cheaper.
     
  16. millionsknives

    millionsknives

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    That's not what a victorinox chef knife is for.  That will get chipped too.   You want a cleaver for those tasks.
     
  17. theophany

    theophany

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    Then what cleaver would you recommend?
     
  18. chefwriter

    chefwriter

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    An inexpensive chinese cleaver found in most asian markets will do. There are a number of different ones. Bones need a big heavy blade. It isn't so much the brand as the weight and heft of the blade. 

         As for other knives, I'm a big fan of Sabatier but Lamson and Goodnow in Mass is back in the game after a large capital investment. 

    They have knives at different levels and if you can take a road trip, they have a fantastic kitchen supply store in Shelburne Falls, Mass. Lots of other stuff 

    to see while you are there.

     There are numerous other middle of the road brands. 

    I also prefer high carbon knives. These fell out of favor with much of the general public because they can rust if not cared for and acquire a 

    patina so they don't stay shiny. But for me, they sharpen easily, retain an edge well and I like the look. They are great knives 

    for around $100 or less and if your grandparents don't mind keeping them clean and dry, they might be just the thing. 
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2017
  19. foody518

    foody518

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    I use the thinnest knife I have for going through squash, kabocha, and large melons 

    My chef's knife recommendation reflected what I think to be one of the better grinds on knives in that price range. Thin behind the edge for ease of cutting. A nicely put together knife and good value purchase

    You could get a straight edge or a serrated for the slicer. You can tell I have a bias towards the 5-6 inch serrated 'utility' knives. A good serrated bread knife would cover you for breads and roasts. 

    You could try for a 6 inch petty. I just think it's gonna turn out that either the petty or the paring gets used, and not both

    The important thing here is to figure out if you think it's going to be a board knife vs an in-hand tasks knife, because for the former, knuckle clearance and blade height come into play
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2017
  20. rick alan

    rick alan

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    Well she actually won't chip the vic, but if she tries hard enough she will dimple the [relatively] soft edge.  A 10" Vic is still a good choice though, or Wusthof Pro.

    Millions suggestion of a cleaver/Chinese chef knife is a good one though, as the tall blade provides a great safety factor, keeps fingertips a good distance from the edge.

    @MillionsKnives, what's the latest ebay bargain here?

    If she can cut veggies without torking the blade on the board, then I'd suggest a few extra bucks for the Geshin Gonbei AUS-10 chef knife.  It will hold an edge better.  You could save on the bread knife with a Tojiro instead of the MAC.