Monday, 31 March 2008

Good buy, bad buy.

The good buy:

For quite a few years now, Shinkansen have made a sharpener for Global kitchen knives (those expensive Japanese kitchen knives with the odd shaped stainless steel handles with black spots). They have ceramic wheels which are set at an angle and run in a small water bath; you gently slide the blade of the knife backwards and forwards a few times and the blade is as sharp as when it was new. It's pretty much foolproof, and perfect for people who find keeping a sharp edge on a knife difficult. I do tend to regard nice knives as good gifts, and always give the recipients one of these sharpeners too; people are always amazed at how well they work. They're not that expensive either, at around £20; a good investment.

I needed one to send to friends, and on Saturday I popped into town. The design has now passed into general use, and I knew that Lakeland (a UK chain of kitchenalia shops) stocked it in the 'Analon' range. It may lack the slight hint of art deco of the original, but few would care about that. So it's on it's way now, and I know it will get a lot of use.

The bad buy:

Lakeland sell a lot of their own products, and some of them are very good. Of course their knife rack had something I hadn't seen before, this time a butter knife which at £2.50 seemed worth a try. "Spread and cut with ease". It looked very sensible, with a sharp edge and a broad spatula-style blade for spreading the butter.

There's a big gap though between looking sensible and actually working. It didn't seem to offer much control when cutting the butter, and was a disaster when it came to the spreading; the butter just seemed to cling to a blade that wouldn't even cover the full width of a piece of toast. So, a big disappointment and a certain amount of annoyance with myself; I already have far too many knives in my kitchen and normally resist acquiring more. But I never quite learn!

Ah well, it's easy enough to use a traditional knife, truth be told.

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