Tuesday, June 16, 2009


I want to buy some knives for cutting fruits and vegetables.

But to be honest, I am a little intimidated.

I saw a set of Farberware Cutlery at Wal-Mart and considered them for purchase. Doing my best impression of an educated consumer, I read the back of the package.

Behind the window of tear-proof plastic was the printed promise of a limited lifetime guarantee... "UNLESS," the short paragraph stated, "they are not properly cared for." I inspected the back of the package for further information about "proper care" of knives, found none, then made a mental note of the Farberware Web site, where another line of text promised I could find "more information."

I visited the Web site and did not, however, find any more information. And so the care of knives remained a mystery...

Then I conducted a Yahoo search.

I learned that, in addition to washing knives in warm water with a gentle soap, "proper care" would also probably include "sharpening."

A few paragraphs attempted to explain the different sharpening methods, and revealed the existence of professional knife sharpeners.

Professional knife sharpeners?

I resisted the desire to find out more about these people: Who are they? Do they have degrees? Where do they work? What do they charge? Is this their main source of income or just a hobby to supplement their livelihood?

I was begining to feel way out of my league.

Who was I to undertake such an endeavor - this immense responsibility of knife ownership - without the proper training?

I took an Advil and closed my laptop.

I thought about my serrated knife in my kitchen drawer. I wasn't sure what it was meant for but I had, over the past five years, used it for everything from cutting watermelon to slicing into the hard plastic used for packaging knives and electronic devices like head phones and MP3 players.

Maybe this, too, is something that is simply a matter of trial and error.

But I don't know.

Sometimes I feel as if each day is merely an exercise in uncovering all of the things I don't yet know.