Can’t have too many knives

Can’t have too many knives

I suppose the concept of “too much of a good thing” is real. It certainly comes up often enough. In high school it was more scientifically referred to as “the law of diminishing returns.”

One chocolate fudge Pop-Tart is good; seven of them are gross. It has to be a sliding scale, in that I can see where too much of even the best gin could be a bad thing pretty quickly, but the idea of too many winning lottery tickets is much harder to grasp.

I can’t really make myself imagine someone saying, “I just have too many stunning, comfortable shoes,” but it’s easy to call up an image to go with, “I have way too many rusty Buicks.” Same for, “There is too much dog hair on this couch” vs “I’m having too much sex.”

This is my tortured argument for coveting an endless number of knives.

I suppose it would be possible to have too many knives, like, say, if your kitchen looked like a 13th-century Mongolian Horde armory and you couldn’t cross it in the semi darkness at 4 a.m. to get a drink of water without slicing yourself to ribbons.

That might be too many.

But before you reach that point, it’s fair game. And even then, any smart cook knows enough to have a big glass of water ready on the night table before going to bed to eliminate the need for water hunting.

The only way I can imagine having too many knives around the kitchen is if you’re the victim of a home invasion by someone with evil intent and there you are, supplying them with a warehouse full of sharp things. You could get around this by also keeping a couple of noisy poodles and deadbolt locks with extra long throw bars. Then you can still have all the knives.

Because we live in a time of unprecedented options, I’m seeing a dazzling number of great kitchen knives offered for sale these days, and I frankly want all of them. There’s this knife-cleaver hybrid for which I’ve watched the YouTube video a few hundred times. The guy has it out in the wilderness chopping ingredients for a chili he’s making over an open fire, and I’m going to have one of those things soon if I have to sell these noisy poodles to get it.

Then there was the one last week that was in the background in a picture showing off a huge chunk of wagyu beef. It looked like a miniature saber, and in fact I learned it is called “the devastator” and is part of the “gladiator series.” Hurry up and take my money.

My wife was gifted with an enormous, scary, sharp chef’s knife for her birthday recently, and she has been hogging it in a way I find unseemly. I got to use it last week and managed to slice off half a fingernail before I got through the first onion. And now I’m grounded again and not allowed to use it.

The Japanese are absolute artists in creating sharp toys, and the array of beautifully machined, perfectly balanced knives coming from there with whopping price tags attached is blinding. I want all of them, and the well-crafted leather cases they come with as well.

The thing about knives is that they’re very specifically purpose made: a knife for every conceivable kitchen task. To section an orange, you need a fruit knife. A scaling knife for fish. A boning knife for, well, bones. A slicing knife for that wagyu beef. There’s a special knife for every task.

And the list of possible tasks is endless. So it is impossible to have too many.

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