Choose carving knives for your dining style
Say the words carving knives, and most people envision a fat, juicy Thanksgiving turkey on a dining room table set for a feast. But many manual and electric carving sets feature the kind of versatility and ease of use that makes them ideal for everyday food preparation, too.
Investing in an electric carving set has a couple of significant advantages. An electric carving knife minimizes the force required by the carver, which is especially helpful for anyone with arthritis or other condition that could make carving painful. Also, the electric blade takes care of the sawing motion required to cut, meaning you can concentrate on precisely carving that bird or filleting that fish.
Finding a Quality Carving Set
Even if you have a good electric knife, you will still want to have a quality set of regular knives, too. As is the case with other types of cutlery, there are a number of important qualities to consider when shopping for a good set of knives, including:
- Blade quality. While shiny stainless steel may be rust-resistant and an adequate material for many items, it doesn't make the highest-quality knife. Look for knives made of high-carbon steel instead; they're stronger and sharper (providing you sharpen them once in a while). The only downside is that they require a little more care than cheaper knives -- high-carbon blades and dishwashers don't mix.
- Knife composition. Culinary professionals swear by knives that are either single-piece (the handle is made from the same piece of steel as the blade) or two-piece (the blade extends all the way down inside the handle). Fewer pieces mean a stronger knife that is less likely to fall apart.
- Handle design. That wood carving set might look impressive in its butcher's block, but if those wooden handles aren't comfortable, you aren't going to be satisfied with your knives. Try ergonomically designed handles with grips for maximum comfort and safety.
- Weight. You should never invest in a knife set without actually trying out the knives first -- ideally, you would want to experiment with some test cutting, but if that's not possible, then at the very lest you need to hold the knives and see how the handle feels in your hand. The knives need to be the right weight for you, and the weight needs to be distributed correctly between the handle and the blade for proper control without wrist strain when carving.