Part two of the gifts that change the way I cook. And eat, come to think of it!
I can’t correctly carve a turkey – or any other fowl – for love nor money. When I’m done, the board looks like some feral animal stole a cooked turkey and went to town. And yet I recall Christmas dinners where dad had not just white meat sliced and in perfect order on the serving plate, but dark meat as well. Given a big enough turkey, you can carve slices off a thigh. And he did. And it was a thing of beauty.
I have tried carving watching a video of how to do it. I’ve tried with a step-by-step magazine open right in front of me. I think I even tried one year after talking to dad on the phone whilst the turkey was resting under foil. Nothing worked, and dad had a theory: my knives suck.
I figured that was a real possibility, as most of my knives were a sort of mish-mash of different things I’d picked up here and there. Here being Canadian Tire, there being Wal-Mart. And sometimes I’d grab something from a garage sale, or something a friend was getting rid of.
So I went to Home Hardware and bought a knife. And it helped. I did manage to get one or two nice looking slices, but that was it. And that was only after I’d take the breast off the bird altogether and sliced it that way. Very frustrating! Little did I know that all that was about to change.
Last year, at Christmas, The Boy bought me an entire set (minus a cleaver, which I have no use for) of Paderno knives, all housed in a bamboo butcher’s block. And The Man took them to a knife shop and had them sharpened. I’d never had that done before. The most I’d ever done was sharpen them at home with a weird curved device that was supposed to sharpen knives “more efficient that a professional”. Poor grammar aside, they should have said more efficiently and less effectively.
These knives have changed my life; I am purposely seeking out recipes that require lots of chopping, slicing and dicing. Soup, stew, Jambalaya, Shrimp Étoufée…if I get to use my new knives I am happy. I even went so far as to buy a Henkel knife ….wallet? Holder? Whatever the case thing is that lets your knives travel with you. I NEEDED it because I cook at the apartment with The Boy, but I also get to cook at the house with The Man. Not willing to risk hurting my knives, so they now have a proper travelling kit. Ok, maybe wanted it is more appropriate than needed. Still, it’s a great thing to have.
Have I carved a turkey yet? Nope, but I have a frozen roasting chicken that The Boy bought from the farm he gets eggs from. That thing might as well be a turkey, it is so big. And not from being force fed, or fed with growth hormones either. It pecked its way around a regular farmyard living a normal life. I figure if I’m going to be an omnivore I’d rather source my meat from something other than a factory farm. All I need now is someone to share a cow with me. And maybe a pig or two!