Chef Knife

Steel chef's knife with plastic handle
Steel chef's knife with plastic handle
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Chef’s Knife The knife my father gave me last year is not an heirloom. It’s not an antique and it’s not top of the line-it’s a simple, lightweight kitchen knife with a molded handle in matte black and a thin blade as broad as my hand and just a bit longer. It’s wickedly sharp, and cuts clean through anything I put under it-dry sausages, potatoes, whole stone fruits with the pit in. More than that, though, it’s a coming of age-my own knife in the kitchen to match my own apron on a hook, my own place at a cutting board next to the man who taught me to use it. It’s a fairly simple accomplishment, but it represents years of effort. When I was in elementary school, my father would call me into the kitchen to help him prepare dinner. I’d stir a pot or measure salt, getting the menial work out of the way for the main event, just like an apprentice in a professional kitchen-or perhaps just a pair of small hands occupied at a boring task. In any case, that way I learned family recipes and family techniques in the same style as my father before me: carefully slicing up chunks of vegetables with my hand on an adult-sized knife, guided by my dad’s hand over my own. Today, the knife I use is nothing like the one I learned with, the light blade of a girl cubing apples rather than the heavy cleaver of a grown man slicing steak. We work in tandem now, for holidays and quiet evenings, following together in the footsteps of my grandmother, who taught him recipes she grew up with in France. 

Place(s): NYC, Santa Monica, France

– VS

Relationship:  Grandchild of im/migrant Grandchild of im/migrant