The Best Holiday Gift to Yourself: Get Your Knives Sharpened
Stay safe, Kelly Ripa
Kelly Ripa is a national treasure and I'm worried about her. During some recent banter with Live! co-host Ryan Seacrest, Ripa mentioned that she and her husband Mark Consuelos keep their knife stash dull so as to minimize the potential of injury and I think I may have screamed aloud at the television. I'm not sure what's happening chez Ripa-Consuelos where this has become a problem that requires a solution, but they've arrived at the wrong one.
Dull knives cause infinitely worse and more frequent injuries than sharp ones for a few reasons. Dull knives require more pressure to use, which can make them prone to slipping. And if they do, they hit with that much more force, and result in a more ragged, much harder to heal injury than one a sharp knife would make. I want so much better for Kelly Ripa, and I want better for you. I don't expect Kelly Ripa to begin sharpening her own knives—per several stories about her morning routine that I just skimmed, she goes to bed at 1 a.m., fights insomnia, gets up at 6 or 6:30 a.m., and then goes about the business of being America's sparkly sunshine aunt. Preserve that precious energy for your restorative evenings with Anderson Cooper, Kelly Ripa, and take your knives to be professionally sharpened.
Yes, it's entirely possible to sharpen your knives at home, and it's something everyone should do on the regular to preserve the integrity of your blades (and, again, stay safe) but here in the thick of the holidays, forestalling kitchen bloodshed should be one of your priorities. Once you have your knives sharpened by a pro you can maintain them without too much hassle, but maybe just this time, let them set the baseline so you can concentrate on other holiday matters or maybe get a nice manicure on your knife-scarred hands. It's OK to be kind to yourself sometimes.
I live in a neighborhood where a knife sharpening truck rolls through playing a merry tune like Mister Softee, but that's likely not the case elsewhere. Package your knives safely for transit by packing them in a knife roll (should you possess such a thing), rolling them in kitchen towels, or putting them between taped-together sheets of cardboard (a folder or thick envelope also works well) to schlep to your local knife sharpening service. Where's that? Plenty of cookware shops—like Williams-Sonoma and Sur La Table—offer knife sharpening, as do some grocery stores, butcher shops, hardware stores and fix-it businesses like shoe repair and locksmith shops. There are also dedicated knife sharpening businesses—some of which provide mail order service if you don't mind being separated from your stash for a while (maybe send them off on your way out of town for vacation). Kelly Ripa, you can probably just have your assistant do this.
You know in your heart when your knife is dull, but a good rule of (not cutting off your) thumb is to try to slice through a tomato. If the blade goes through anything but easily, it's time to sharpen. Honestly, Kelly, as a great lover of dining out, you could probably just roll up to the restaurant and send them back to the kitchen and they would one billion percent pull someone off the line to make sure they were honed by the time dessert rolled around, but I wouldn't suggest that to a non-Ripa. Maybe find a line cook who could use some extra cash for the holidays (that would be all of them) and work out a deal. Then make it your New Year's resolution to keep right on that edge and never let your blades dull again.