Invaluable Cooking Tools — #1 & #2

What with the world in such tatters—actually one shouldn’t make light of it—this morning I’m moved to treat of mundane matters. What is more mundane than the fact that I still can’t find my reading glasses…and that a poor bedeviled woman had to climb down from the noble perch of Prime Minister of the United Kingdom after just six weeks?…and what one does two/three times a day: COOK?

It struck me that even after how many years (I began as my mother’s sous-chef when I was eight) there are still splendid discoveries in the kitchen. I thought it’d be fun to share them…

The above-pictured knife could easily be My Kitchen’s One Knife. When I’m preparing to do some slicing, I reach for it. I use it for slicing just about every soft-to-medium food from mushrooms to cabbages to onions to cucumbers. I don’t use it for denser surfaces like bread because I don’t want to blunt the finely-cut edges. It’s classified as a tomato knife because it’s serrated and the two-pronged tip makes it possible to simply tap a piece of tomato (or cheese or chicken) and pick it up. So nice. And it feels good–beautifully weighted–in the hand. My hand never tires using it, which can happen.

Termed by its maker, Wusthöf, “The Classic 5” Tomato Knife,” the blade actually measures 5½ inches long. Wusthöf has been making knives in Solingen, Germany, since 1814. Nowadays their metal is forged of a mixture of chrome, vanadium, molybdenum, and stainless steel. I’m surprisingly good about not sending my knife through the dishwasher, as long ago I read you’re not supposed to. Martha Stewart quotes Viola Wusthöf: “A dishwasher can be detrimental to the quality of your knife…the process can cause rust or corrosion.”*

This great tool costs upward of $100. Christmas or Chanukah? But as I say, in addition to your bread knife, chef’s knife, and a couple of cheap paring knives—more of them later—you’ll find that’s just about all you need.

From aristocratic to plebian: the second tool you see above with chopped red onions on it is a plastic cutting board. It’s about 9-inches by 11-inches, with a 2-inch handle. What’s so special? The sides are slightly raised. Not that much, just high enough so I can chop or slice juicy and flyaway bits and carry them straight to the pot without losing anything. The piece has “feet” so it stays put on the counter. I have several handsome wooden cutting boards, but this darn plastic tool is the one I reach for because I’m a messy cook. And because it goes in the dishwasher (of course wood doesn’t).

Just found the name: the “Chop & Scoop Cutting Board” is made by Dexas. My plain white one is years old—I see they now are in watermelon red and lime green…not sure what I think of that. Modestly priced.

More tools to come.

* %22A%20dishwasher%20can%20be%20detrimental,can%20cause%20rust%20or%20corrosion.%22

2 Comments. Leave new

  • It would have been fun, I think, to be my mother’s sous chef if my mother had been any kind of cook. But that skill passed over her, and it passed over me, and it landed firmly on my children and grandchildren. Oh well. So I won’t be buying the knife. But I went to the Dexas website ( and ordered the Dexas Chop & Scoop. And while I was at it, I ordered their PinchMitt, which looked like a great item. Thanks for the suggestion.


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