Recently a dissatisfied reader wrote to Slate for the purpose of accusing me of displaying a “wildly dangerous knife technique,” among other sins. I must confess that there’s some truth in this accusation: I didn’t go to culinary school, so no one’s ever forced me to chop onions for hours on end. I don’t habitually use the expert-recommended “claw grip” to hold onto foods I’m cutting, not because I have anything against it, but because muscle memory overrides conscious deliberation every time. I cannot dice to save my life.
And yet I almost never cut myself in the kitchen, a stroke of good fortune I attribute to the fact that I keep my knives sharp. (Dull knives have a tendency to slip around instead of going into the food you want them to penetrate.) Knife sharpening is far simpler than I used to think. For more details on sharpening, for a few bonus knife-related tips, and for footage of my terrible knife technique, see above.