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How to Select Knives

Home cooks really need only three essential knives: a 10- to 12-inch chef’s knife, a 9- to 12-inch serrated (bread) knife, and a small paring knife. When you go shopping for knives, you can find the right fit in each kind of knife:

  • Find the highest-quality chef’s knife you can afford. A chef’s knife is really the workhorse of the kitchen, so investing in a great chef’s knife always pays off.

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  • Look for a serrated knife that has wide teeth. A serrated knife, generally with an 8- to 10-inch blade, is essential for cutting bread.

  • Get a paring knife with a blade from 2 to 4 inches long. A paring knife is for delicate jobs such as peeling apples and coring tomatoes.

  • Hold a knife before you buy it. The handle should be comfortable. The knife should be balanced — the handle shouldn’t be significantly heavier than the blade or vice versa.

  • Buy high-carbon stainless steel knives with riveted wooden handles. These knives are durable and don’t rust the way carbon steel knives do.

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