A Watermelon Will Always Be Unwieldy and Other Tips -- Knife Skills 101 at the Co-op


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Worth Knowing

Lindsay Smith has this theory: One of the barriers to cooking is the prep time. And one of the chief things that makes even ardent home cooks sigh about prep is chopping. Mounds of carrots. A pile of cubed chicken. A bowlful of sliced apples.

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So at least once a month, Smith, who's the food educator for the Co-op Food Stores, teaches a class on basic knife skills. Her next one is tomorrow, Thursday, August 2, from 5:30 to 8 pm at the Lebanon Co-op. 

Why plunk down $40 if you're not a Co-op member or $20 if you are? Here's what she says:

"It can feel overwhelming. And we're told it's overwhelming -- all of those convenient foods out there are telling you you don't have time. But a lot of it I think comes down to not being able to chop efficiently. The most essential tool in the kitchen is your chef’s knife. And most people don’t know how to wield it properly. But if you embrace chopping and cutting, it connects you better with your food. There's zen in your chop. It feels good. There's a beauty in that rhythm."

You'll learn how to hold a chef's knife -- so that it's an extension of your arm, not of your hand. You'll learn how to use the whole knife, not just the tip. You'll learn how to hone a knife -- "You don't want to sharpen that often, which takes away metal," Smith says, "but you should get in the habit of honing, since metal is soft and gets waves in it, so by honing you're straightening out the blade."

And oh! Let's not forget: "We also make a lot of food," says Smith. "You walk home with a ton of food for that $20."

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