Having a very sharp knife goes a long way toward preventing disastrous knife slips, but there are oh-so-many ways of cutting yourself with any kind of knife. Tom Mylan, a Brooklyn butcher, shares his hard-earned tips on avoiding bad blade slips.
Mylan's not just writing from some high holy mountain of expertise, either — the man's honest about knowing every single way one can cut themselves, whether cooking dinner or breaking down a carcass. Beyond the basics of having sharp blades, he offers a mental reminder of what your knife grip should feel like:
The first element to avoiding your blade is keeping it in your hand. As Fleisher's Aaron Lenz describes it, you should hold your knife like the butt of a pistol, fingers wrapped tightly around the grip "like someone was trying to take it away from you." Some people hold a boning knife like a conductor's baton during a particularly slow part of Pachelbel's Canon. This is wrong. You will either drop your knife through your fingers, causing you to cut your knife hand with your knife, or, more likely, lose track of it in your brain's motor control centre and cut the hand holding the meat.
Read on for more of Mylan's advice about cutting, cleaning and never, ever leaving your knife on a cooking surface. Share your own tips and, if you got 'em, instructional horror stories in the comments.
How to Wield a Knife [The Atlantic Food Channel]