Coffee heat rising

New Knives? Or Old Folks’ Stuff?

The honored Chicago chef’s knife…

{Chortle!} I remain bewitched with the idea of buying a gigantic set of fancy new German kitchen and steak knives (with white handles! oooooohhhh!) at Costco. The ridiculousness of dropping $200 on any such thing is manifest.

Still…if I don’t spend any more on anything else (and there’s no reason I should), by the end of this month (which it already IS, almost!) I’ll have $200 left in the budget. Why should I not spend it on myself?

Or, one might reasonably ask, why should I spend it on myself?

Thing is, a perfectly fine collection of fancy Wüsthof and Henckels knives is sitting right there in the drawer. I don’t need any fancy new knives.

But…but…the other thing is, every one of them is all scratched up, from the time I took it into my hot little head to use my father’s whetstone to sharpen the knives, which had gone mightily dull. This was an exceptionally bad idea. In my clumsiness, I ruined every knife in the house!

Except they’re not ruined. They look terrible, but they take a perfectly fine edge and there’s nothing wrong with the way they work. So what if they look terrible? Who sees them?

So, here’s another Thing:

Whenever you go to one of those uncountable estate sales out in Sun City, these scratched-up knives are the sort of thing you run into. Those, and the blue-and-pink furniture and the much-scrubbed Revereware pans and on and on. You find the leavings of the make-it-do, use-it-up generation: people who pay a middling-high price to get the best Stuff they can afford and who are then stuck with it, because it never wears out. By the time you’ve owned it half your lifetime and you’re tired of it, it really isn’t worn out.

These houses are full of tired, out-of-style Stuff that’s still perfectly serviceable. Serviceable outmoded furniture. Serviceable old-fashioned pots and pans. Serviceable mixers. Serviceable food processors. Serviceable blenders. Serviceable fans. Serviceable old analog scales and clocks. Serviceable towels. Serviceable sheets. Serviceable throw pillows. Serviceable half-bottles of Arpège and Windsong. Auuughhhh! So depressing it comes out on the other side of depressing.

So the question becomes one of WTF are you saving that two hundred bucks for, anyway?

I dunno. I’m so cheap I don’t want to part with it. Plus I like my knives. I’ve collected them over a lifetime. Handing them over to Goodwill feels like a betrayal. How can I even think of taking my knives to the pound? Auuughhhh!

One thing we can be assured of: despite all those expensive German brand names, the best knife in that drawer was made by Chicago Knives. It takes an edge like a razor blade and holds the edge forever with just light honing. A-n-n-d you cannot buy a decent Chicago knife anymore. That’s another fine American product that has gone down the tubes — though reviews at Amazon average in the four-star range, still some 11 percent of reviewers hate it. Here’s my knife: one guy says Chicago “must be the name of a town in China.” 😀 This one is particularly juicy: “After some very light use and cleaning, the wood on the handle SHRANK exposing the sharp edge of the full tang in the handle. The edge of the tang is sharp enough to cut my fingers.Hee HEEEEE!

Okay. Yeah. Why, again, do I want to replace a lifetime collection of high-quality German and (real!) American cutlery for…what? Something made in China, like everything else? So my knives are old folks’ stuff. BFD: I am an old folk.

What’s a few scratches, after all…