I’ve been thinking a lot about knife sharpening recently (surprise, surprise) and I’ve drawn some conclusions, just like in science class, only without the fear of Mr Preston loosing his shit.
I’ve sharpened thousands of knives over the last few years and without exception they were in a better state of repair when they were handed back than when they arrived, a much better state.
A blunt a knife is challenge to use, but of course, you get the hang of using it and you can still cut up your spuds, just badly and with frustration. But when sharp a knife can be an absolute joy to use, it can glide though food with minimum effort, it can drastically speed up the time it takes one to prepare meals, improve presentation, reduce the amount of pressure needed to cut veg (therefore reducing the risk of slips which may then lead to injury) AND perhaps most surprisingly of all, when you cut with a sharp knife instead of a blunt one you minimise cellular damage done to food and actually improve the quality and flavour of your finished meal! MIND BLOWN! And these are all reasons it can help us, we haven't even got on the the environment and how that if you look after your knife well it can serve you for years and years, so no need to keep lobbing it into landfill and buying a new one!
So, with all these good things going for it, why isn’t every knife sharpener in the country stacked out the door?
Perhaps not many people have knives these days? WRONG! Of course they do, by my [unscientific, soz Mr Preston] reckoning the kitchen knife is the most used tool in the world (hit reply and let me know if you don’t agree), so I don’t think it’s that.
Perhaps it’s a cost thing? Well, it’s possible, I’m sure that plenty of people won’t have much money to spare at the end of the month, but I don’t think it’s that either, at Community Cutlery sharpening starts at £1 per inch, with the average cost being £4.5 a knife, so my gut tells me that it doesn’t come down to that either.
Maybe people don’t know about it? Now we’re getting somewhere, perhaps people don’t know it’s even a service that exists, after all it’s not something that’s had a presence on the high street for a long time, it was never discussed with us in home ec’ at school, I don’t remember anyone ever talking about it on a cooking programme, so why would people give it any thought?
They probably can’t be arsed. And I think, that in combination with the last point, we have ourselves an answer. A lot of people don’t know about knife sharpening, but a lot of people definitely do, yet they still never get around to getting it done. But surely they would if they only knew how easy, inexpensive and [kitchen] life changing it actually is?????
Well, who knows, no matter how much the word gets out about the benefits of sharpening you’re never going to see everyone lining up with their knives but with a little education and persistence, perhaps we can increase the numbers a little and spread the word about how making this simple little bit of effort can make such a difference in the kitchen.
Now, if the responsibility to educate people about the benefits of knife sharpening doesn’t fall down to us sharpeners then I don’t know who it falls down to, because I’m sure that there’ll be no government mandate coming any time soon, as much as we would like to see the “Mandatory Knife Sharpening Act 2022” I don’t reckon it’s going to happen.
So, if you’ve read this to the end, firstly, well done and thanks! And secondly, if you’ve never had your own knives sharpened then I urge you to give it a go, for all those reasons up there! And if you’re already a convert and you either keep on top of your own knives or send them off for sharpening, then how about spreading the word, tell your mates, tell your family, gift someone sharpen with your local service or if you’re dead keen why not gift yourself a knife sharpening course.
And if you know all this but never make it down to drop your knives off with your local sharpener Be Arsed