A knife is the most basic and most versatile of all cooking utensils. How else can you cut up meat, dice an onion or slice a piece of cheese? With all the tasks knives do, it's no wonder you can buy sets containing five to 15 styles.
Most cooks seem to agree that if you had to survive in the kitchen with just a single knife, a good chef's knife is the ideal choice. The chef's knife is the most versatile, all-purpose kitchen cutting tool. It's used mostly for chopping, but comes in handy with other tasks. Its medium size gives you good leverage and easy grip for efficient chopping, slicing and dicing, and the long, tapered blade (usually around 8 inches or 20 centimeters) makes it easy to rock while you cut.
Other good knives to keep on hand are a paring knife and a serrated bread knife. A paring knife is excellent for smaller precision tasks, like de-veining a chicken breast or, as its name suggests, paring the skin off of fruit. A serrated bread knife is also handy and will make slicing that freshly baked loaf of French bread so much easier.
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