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!

4 Responses to “Shuns: what ninjas use when they’re not performing stunts.”

  1. restaurant refugee March 23, 2011 at 3:10 am #

    two things:
    1 – I’ve had Shun knives for years and can confirm that they remain magical and amazing (with proper care.)
    2 – given that you’ve been working with dull knives for more than a decade, you may want to get yourself a pair of kevlar cut-resistant gloves (they’re not that expensive and not too thick.)
    3 – now that you’ve got great knives, you may really wish to invest in a knife skills class at SLT.

    • pithypants March 24, 2011 at 6:12 pm #

      Glad to know they stand the test of time.

      As for the knife skills class – absolutely. I actually used to work for a culinary school and intentionally skipped the skills class because I knew I would only get *that* much more frustrated with my existing knife set. I think the time is right.

  2. Alicia March 24, 2011 at 8:33 am #

    keep these out of sight of my boys when they are there. You know they fancy themselves little ninjas. We don’t want our little ninjas to spend their time in DC in the ER…though we know you know the way quite well by now…

  3. Lucas March 26, 2011 at 8:52 am #

    Ninjas don’t perform stunts. The execute strategic kills.

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