Knife: The Culture, Craft and Cult of the Cook's Knife

Knife: The Culture, Craft and Cult of the Cook's Knife by food writer and self-proclaimed "food geek" Tim Hayward (Food DIY; The DIY Cook) showcases a ubiquitous kitchen tool, from lowly paring knives to handcrafted objets d'art. This may not be the cookbook that gets spattered with grease and smeared with chocolate, but it will take a place of honor on the serious cook's shelf.

Essays and lists accompany the 40 featured knives--each photographed in color, with lighting that complements their cool steel blades. Topics covered include the reason for proper grip, 10 rules for carving, and the difference between working and specialized variations. Hayward interviews knife makers and chefs, illuminating an ongoing fascination with the tool. "The knife has a spirit imbued into it by the bladesmith that enables the user to give it character, so I almost look forward to the moment I get a first scratch on the blade."

Along with features of knives themselves, Hayward reviews the proper ways to cut food (who knew there were so many precise names for vegetable slicing!) and, helpfully, what to do when you cut yourself. As he says, "The knife is one of the few objects to which we give house room while simultaneously fearing."

In this beautifully designed book, Hayward's deft writing skills and culinary knowledge provide an intriguing reference for both the casual reader and the serious knife user. --Cindy Pauldine, bookseller, the river's end bookstore, Oswego, N.Y.

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