To know cooking, first know your knives

“Knife Skills” delivers the sharpest cuts in the quickest time.
“Knife Skills” delivers the sharpest cuts in the quickest time.

OK, so you’re handy in the kitchen and your friends are impressed by the dinners you make for them. But are you really savvy about your knives and the proper way to handle them? After all, the well-rounded home cook knows all but shares little.

Can you name the four essential knives in a chef’s repertoire of tools? Which is more efficient — an 8-inch blade or a 10-inch blade? Does your chef’s knife have a bolster? Can you point to the heel?

Find the answers in the to-the-point “Knife Skills: An Illustrated Kitchen Guide to Using the Right Knife the Right Way” by Bill Collins (Storey, $10, 112 pages). The easy-to-digest information is helped along by step-by-step directions and helpful illustrations. Chapters include “How To Buy a Knife,” “Caring For Your Knives” (”Always wash your knives by hand”), “Why Cutting Boards Matter” and “Recipes and Techniques.”

The technique for “How To Carve a Turkey” is just the thing for the upcoming holidays. And, finally, the “secret” to serving tender brisket: “Slice it against the grain.” But you already knew that, right?

Call The Bee’s Allen Pierleoni, (916) 321-1128. Follow him on Twitter @apierleonisacbe.