I have always considered myself to be fairly competent with my knives in the kitchen. At least, that’s what I thought, until I was faced with exactly how little I actually know about knives and kitchen techniques. The Complete Book of Knife Skills is a compilation of a truly amazing amount of information. This is an excellent guide that really will help you become more knowledgeable and skilled with your knives.
The first chapter, titled “Everything You Need to Know About Knives” is a basic primer that I found invaluable. Here, you will learn how knives are put together, differentiate the different parts of a knife, understand the various blade styles and their intended use. Best of all is the section on types of knives, which includes a photo of each type and a detailed explanation. I have always felt overwhelmed by the types of knives available and never confident about buying the knives I need, without spending too much. I also enjoyed the explanations (with photos) on the proper ways to hone and sharpen your knives. Chapter two is equally useful, demonstrating basic knife safety measures, and how to hold a chef’s knife, as well as explaining other knife grips.
The next eight chapters focus on how to cut specific foods, separated by food type. Learn how to make basic vegetable cuts, plus how to peel, pit, and slice some of the trickier fruits. What make this book so wonderful are the number of quality photographs that accompany each step. The instructions on coring a pineapple contains five action photos so that you are absolutely sure you’re on track. The poultry and meat chapters give directions on boning and slicing all sorts of large, raw meats. I’ll admit I flipped through these as quickly as possible – I would never make it as a butcher. Similarly, the fish and shellfish chapters give directions on scaling and filleting fish and preparing seafood. The last chapter is how to make creative garnishes: create fluted mushroom caps, strawberry fans or apple swans to add decorative flair to your dishes.
Overall, Complete Book of Knife Skills is just an incredibly helpful book for the kitchen. The spiral binding allows you to lay the book out flat and follow along step by step. Tons of photos make it easy to attempt a recipe that you may have shied away from in the past. Good knife skills really add to the presentation value of your dishes and will increase your confidence in the kitchen!
Jen lives in Michigan with her husband and six year old son. She writes reviews of children’s books on her blog, FIRR-Kids and loves filling her own shelves with cookbooks.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by The Lisa Ekus Group. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.