So get that unsung holiday hero off the top shelf. 
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Cuisinart Electric Knife
Credit: Courtesy Cuisinart

We have gotten through the holiday season, with the turkeys, hams, and prime ribs. Which means for most of us, the electric knives have been safely put back in their boxes and returned to the top shelf in the pantry next to the punchbowl and the Christmas plates. But I am here to recommend you get it back down and put it into regular rotation in your kitchen. Because an electric knife is in fact very useful for day-to-day cooking and prepping in your kitchen, and once you remember to use it, you'll wonder why you relegated it to a seasonal appliance for all these years.

One of the things I love about using an electric knife is that it can often be the safest choice, especially when dealing with things that are either hard to cut, unwieldy, or slippery. Being a total klutz, I'm grateful for anything that gives me a leg up on not accidentally removing a digit. But if you are not used to leaning into electric knives on the regular, what is it best for?

To buy: Cuisinart AC Electric Knife ($49.95),

Use your electric knife on all your cooked meat (not just a holiday turkey!)

For starters, we all know how well it works on cooked meat. And that is the same whether you are tackling a 24-pound turkey or a 3-pound chicken. Especially when you are working around bones, electric knives will allow you to break down your proteins smooth as silk. Whether the meat in question is flesh or fowl, you can turn a larger roast into serving slices, easily divide a rack of lamb, or break down your whole bird into pieces. It is also much easier to create evenly sized serving pieces or thinly slice things with an electric knife than a manual knife; as anyone who has ever tried cut a piece of meat into thin slices knows, with a regular knife you might end up with a pile that looks like rags, or weird ragged chunky bits. 

Use your electric knife on cake (and meatloaf!)

Electric knives work great on things that are soft and hard to portion, since the fast serrated action goes smoothly through without pressing or crushing, whether you are serving up a delicate cake or a tender meatloaf. Slow-braised meats like short ribs, brisket, or pot roast can fall into shreds when you try and slice with a regular knife, but an electric knife will work wonders. 

Use your electric knife on crusty bread!

For me, one of the reasons I keep my electric knife at the ready is how well it works on my crusty sourdough bread. Being able to get a perfect slice through that hardy crust without risking the knife twisting or skidding gives me much more confidence, especially for that morning toast when my eyes might not be fully open. 

Use your electric knife on frozen food!

Even better? It works wonderfully well on frozen items. Only need a half a box of that frozen spinach? Slice the frozen brick in half and keep the other half still frozen. Have a loaf of sliced bread in the freezer that doesn't want to give up a pair for your sandwich? The electric knife will separate them easily. Have a log of frozen cookie dough and want some fast cookies or a frozen compound butter to top your steaks? Slice off what you need and leave the rest behind.

Pro tip: Use a carving fork, too

I always use a carving fork when using an electric knife, which ensures my hands are well away from the blades. Even with baked goods, it is helpful to have it on hand just to make sure nothing moves around.