smacking the cutting board with a knife

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by atibbs314, May 10, 2013.

  1. atibbs314

    atibbs314

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    so ive noticed and seemed to have picked up the habit of smacking the cutting board with my knife really fast when im cutting lettuce or mushrooms leaving me with incosisent cuts.  Ive noticed a lot of cooks do this when trying to ether look cool or do somthing fast.  is this frowned upon by good chefs? how do i cut somthing large like lettuce when the tip of my knife cant touch the cutting board and make a good rocking motion? 
     
  2. kokopuffs

    kokopuffs

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    Maybe they simply wanna' clear off the accumulated crud from their knife!
     
  3. petemccracken

    petemccracken

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    Hm, I rarely use a "rocking motion" any more, for me, the "glide", either forward or reverse, is more efficient and less stressful on the wrist/arm/elbow.

    Of course, that necessitates a "French profile" at the minimum /img/vbsmilies/smilies/crazy.gif
     
     
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  4. kokopuffs

    kokopuffs

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    ddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddeleete
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2013
  5. kokopuffs

    kokopuffs

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    French profile, what's that?  Triangular blade versus one that has a curved aka camber at the distal end?  I really like rocking my blade at the camber.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2013
  6. french fries

    french fries

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  7. petemccracken

    petemccracken

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    Far less "belly" than the traditional German profile, which lends itself to the rocking motion.
     
  8. meezenplaz

    meezenplaz

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    Like I assume most in here, I use 3 or 4 diff tecniques dependent on what

    Im cutting, and how. E.G., strip cutting lettuce or fine slicing zucchini etc, I'll

    run a quick-hone and use Chef Pete's  gliding motion--it's slow and precise.

    I'll go nose down and really go to town with just the tip, open-chop really fast for

    fine dicing things like small herbs etc.

    If I need to dice up a bunch of onions, say for sauteing where I dont need great size consistency,

    I'll pin the tip to the board with left hand, and do the "swivel-cut" from left to right, pretty

    quickly, and you can do a big, tear-jerking pile that way.

    Point is, I dont know if there's a "wrong or right", depends, so long as you're not destroying your

    knife in whatever process youre using.

    And sure there are actually names for some of these actions, but dont ask me...been too long./img/vbsmilies/smilies/crazy.gif
     
  9. siduri

    siduri

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    As a home cook, this may not be relevant -  I watched julia child as a teenager and learned how to chop (the first one below) and maybe picked something up from the galloping gourmet and extrapolated from there:

    for chopping, e.g parsley, flattened garlic, etc, I keep the point end of my blade in my left finger and thumb and use that as a "hinge" and loosely hold the right hand mainly at the blade, also somewhat as a hinge,  to chop small things very quickly and evenly, crosshatching first in one direction then in the other.  .

    For slicing smaller carrots, celery, and other low objects, especially if they're cut lenghthwise and don't roll around, with one hand on the handle, fingers holding on the blade to hinge with, and slice even slices. 

    But if the carrot or celery is thick, I use a whacking method, holding the carrot with one hand and whacking with the knife hand and get very even cuts that way.  It would be too big a distance to keep one end of the blade on the board to slice a thick thing.  I think it's almost the same as crosshatching lines in drawing, once you master the parallel lines and the distance between them, it goes very quickly.  I don't have to aim for perfection, since i'm cooking at home, but i must say it works with a pretty good consistency. 

    If it's really big (an onion, a potato) i hold it in one hand, and hold the knife by the handle, sliding it forward (pushing) on each slice. 

    If i'm at someone's house and they only have a crappy knife that has a curved blade I slide it back and forth and i find that that's the only way to get a lousy blade to slice.  Takes more time though but not that much if you;re fast. 
     
  10. maryb

    maryb

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    Smacking the blade edge down dulls it faster because you are bending the serrations at the edge over.
     
  11. siduri

    siduri

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    serrations?  as in serrated knife?  i don;t use a serrated knife
     
  12. kokopuffs

    kokopuffs

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    She may mean the micro serrations that make up the cutting edge of your blade.
     
  13. meezenplaz

    meezenplaz

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    Pinch for pull....pretty much the same principle./img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif  And now that I think about it,

    I may well have learned that technique from Graham Kerr too, say circa 1970 or so?
     
  14. maryb

    maryb

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    Yup all blades are serrated, micro serrations are what actually do the cutting on a chefs knife for example. In a dull knife these get bent over.
     
  15. ordo

    ordo

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    BDL will kill you. Your days are counted. We'll always remember you.
     
  16. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    Mary is safe with me. 

    Serration and micro-serration:

    The micro-serration explanation has been around for a long time.  It is a very popular and seemingly understandable explanation if you say it fast and don't give it much thought.  It's sufficiently ubiquitous that it's not fair to call someone "wrong" for repeating it.  However, people who understand the process of how a knife works do not use the micro-serration model.  The simple physics of cutting with a knife is that the edge acts as a wedge and pushes things apart. 

    A serrated blade (aka "saw") works in the same way; that is, by acting as a series of wedges.  So, by introducing the concept of micro-serration you're not really explaining anything. 

    All edges are micro-serrated to some extent, because in the real world, even in the best of circumstances, no edge can ever be made perfectly fine.  There are always some ups and downs.

    Similarly few good sharpeners actually use the micro-serration hypothesis anymore for explaining what goes on in terms of a knife edge getting bent by impact or truing the bend with a steel, stone or strop. With truing the micro-serration explanation is especially unhelpful because saws cut better with some "set" to their teeth, rather than having them perfectly aligned. 

    Grip:

    Gripping the blade between thumb and forefinger is called a pinch grip.  You can understand the pinch as a "hinge" or not.  A good pinch grip is the hallmark of using a chef's knife properly.  Getting a Grip on a Good Pinch should help explain how a better pinch will make you a better cutter.

    People use all sorts of different actions when they chop.  Sometimes it depends on what they're chopping, and sometimes it's a product of training.  The most popular actions are the "rock chop," the "push cut" and the "glide."  Each of them can work very well.

    "Rock chopping" is done by keeping the belly of the blade in contact with the board (as much as possible), lifting the handle as high as necessary to get what's to be cut under the flatter part of the blade, and "rocking" the blade down using its belly as a fulcrum.  Almost everyone -- with the exception of some really dedicated push cutters using very flat knives -- rock chop with their offhand on the top of the knife near the point when mincing.  German profile chef's knives are especially suitable for rock chopping. 

    "Push cutting" means lifting the blade straight up and down.  Any blade with a long-enough flat section can be an effective push-cutter.  French and Asian profiles work better than German for push cutting.  When you see cooks "speed chop" they're almost always push cutting.  

    Gliding means approaching the cut with the knife off the board but the tip down.  When the cut begins, the belly contacts the board; and at the moment of contact the cutter pushes the knife forward or draws it back (depending on whether cutting something hard or soft).  The hall marks of the glide are silence and precision.  If you've trained in a French kitchen you almost certainly glide.  Otherwise, probably not.  French profile knives are the most helpful.

    You can use any type of profile for any of the actions.  However, most cutters find that if they use a particular knife (or knife type) long enough, the knife will greatly influence their action.     

    BDL
     
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  17. mike9

    mike9

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    Hubert Keller does that and it drives me nuts . . . he taps the board two or three times in between each slice. 
     
  18. pollopicu

    pollopicu

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    Seriously. I hate that too.
     
  19. dc sunshine

    dc sunshine

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    I concur - it doesn't do the knife any favours though...
     
  20. meezenplaz

    meezenplaz

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    Actually....I do that. Difference being I have no idea why. And I drive myself crazy when I do.
    I dunno...a nervous tapping maybe? Or did I just pick it up from another chef subconsciously...
    like osmosis? I've taken to laying my knife down when I catch myself doing it. Its..strange, as
    I see no logical reason to go banging my blade against nothing. A mind control thing maybe?
    Arrrgh. Get OUT OF MY HEAD!!