Archive | 9:30 am

Shuns: what ninjas use when they’re not performing stunts.

22 Mar

Let me start by claiming I’m a pretty decent cook. I’m curious about food. I read about food. I have a pretty good sense of what flavors complement each other, and what techniques best develop those flavors. And – most importantly – I spend a fair amount of time in the kitchen experimenting.

Knowing this, Alan has found it inexplicable that I stubbornly use a set of poor quality kitchen knives that I won via a contest back in the late 1990s. (Yes, let’s digest that for a moment: WON KNIVES IN A CONTEST. My life parallels the plot from “Glengarry Glen Ross” with surprising detail.)

Back to the knives. In my defense: they were sharp when I got them. I guess (like anything else) I’ve just adjusted as they gradually lost their edge.

This fall I finally confessed that I agreed with Alan’s assessment, that they were CRAPPY knives. As soon as the words were out of my mouth, he responded with, “Great. That’s what I’m getting you for Christmas: real knives.”

We finally went this weekend to Sur la Table so I could handle all of the knives and see what felt right. Forty minutes later, we walked out with a set of Shun Premier knives. Holy awesomeness.

I’ll admit, I was initially prejudiced against the Shuns based on appearance. As I told Alan, “If I didn’t know anything about knives and saw these in someone’s kitchen, I would assume they bought them at World Market for $50.” They just look a bit OVER THE TOP.

And by “over the top,” I mean they look like something a samurai should carry in sheath, not something for my urban kitchen. On the up-side, I figure if I ever have dinner guests and the conversation stalls out, I can whip out one of these knives and use it to segue into the story of my surviving a car accident due to my mad ninja moves.

“I realize these aren’t traditional knives,” I can imagine myself saying. “But ever since my ninja training saved my life, I feel a real affinity for all things Asian.”

Anyway, suffice it to say: if I chose the knife that I liked least on the basis of appearance, it must mean it did something pretty spectacular when I held it. You’ll just have to take my word for it.

I’ll admit, these knives are more than a little frightening. Having had a dull set for over a decade, I realize how easy it would be to cut myself. I’ve already told Alan it’s a foregone conclusion that it WILL happen, so he shouldn’t freak out when I tell him it has.

He just shook his head at that thought. I guess I’ve done a good job desensitizing him to random ER stints… as any good ninja should. Now bring me some tin cans so I can show you what these knives are really capable of!