Living on the edge: A guide to knife anatomy with Swetha Sivakumar

Updated on Sep 23, 2022 07:07 PM IST

What makes a good knife? What makes a good user? There are some things one should never do with a blade. There are clues to heft tucked into the handle. Take a look.

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BySwetha Sivakumar

A good knife, for someone who likes to cook, is like a really good pair of shoes. You don’t really know what you’ve been missing, until you find the right fit. Don’t know more than the blade from the hilt? Learn some knife anatomy.

Parts of the blade

* Edge: The part with which you cut your food. Keep it sharp! The edge can be straight or serrated.

* Spine: The back of the blade; the blunt side. Use this side or a scraper when scraping chopped food off the board. Don’t use the sharp edge or you’ll prematurely dull the blade.

* Granton: These are the dimples along the edges of some knives. They minimise the amount of food that sticks to the blade while chopping.

* Tip: Use it to score ingredients or for delicate cuts. Don’t use to open cans or packages; it will chip more easily over time.

* Heel: The side opposite to the tip. Use the heel for cutting large vegetables such as pumpkin.

Parts of the handle

* Bolster: The bump at the point where the blade and handle meet. It’s added to some knives to protect the hand after an accidental slip. Having this part can make it difficult to sharpen the blade thoroughly.

* Tang: This is the part of the blade that runs through the handle. It the metal of the blade runs all the way through to the back of the handle, that’s a full-tang knife. A full tang makes the handle feel heavier in the hand. This counterbalances the heaviness of the blade and makes cutting and slicing easier.

* Rivets: These hold the blade and handle together

* Pommel / Butt: The very end of the knife.

In the end, what matters is that you buy a knife that feels comfortable. Don’t break the bank. There are plenty of good brands in the medium-price range. But do put some thought into it.

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