Zen and the art of (not only) knife sharpening
As you may have noticed, I (occasionally) enjoy cooking. First chapter in the
Food Lab book,
that I praise in the cooking for nerds post, is about kitchen
tools - what you probably need and what is nonsense. It also contains section about how to work
with the knife like a pro and how to sharpen it. The author pointed out, that working with sharp knife
is pure joy - you do not need that much force to do the cutting and in fact, it is (kinda counterintuitive)
much safer to work with the sharp knife, than with the dull one. That’s because when working with dull knife,
you use force to make the knife cut at least something. But it usually ends in a way that dull knife slides over
the onion (or whatever else’s) surface and the knife blade often ends in your fingers. Fortunately, this did not
happen to me, but I have seen it personally at least twice - one of those people was my brother, and I needed to
drive him to hospital for some stitches.
I wanted to try the so-praised difference and had my knives sharpened by the professionals, and it is a HUGE difference, so I must agree with the book author: Working with sharp knife is joy.
The sharpening instructions in the book are very brief, and because I kinda liked the idea of being able to sharpen my knives myself, I wanted to try it on my own. So I dug a bit deeper into the topic of knife sharpening. I have read some articles, and I have seen some videos (mainly from the Youtube’s Burrfection channel). And because at that time Christmas Eve was behind the corner, I wished to get the sharpening stones. And I got them, yay!
I tried many times to sharpen my knives by myself, and I failed miserably at the beginning - the knives were duller than at the beginning. But eventually, after some time, I succeeded, and I was able to cut paper and vegetables to very thin slices (practice makes perfect, you know? 😎). The feeling was great! And when I found out the right way to do it, I can get into the “flow” state and then, not just the result is very satisfactory, but the sharpening process itself, too!
Not only knives can be sharp!
I like woodworking. So I work with chisels, too. And working with dull chisel is very painful experience (and the end result is very shitty, too). So when my chisels went dull, I was able to sharpen them to the level I could shave myself with them. Pretty satisfactory!
But the chisels and knives can be a metaphor for other stuff. You can be honing your soft skills, take care of your bike or whatever else you find satisfactory. I have found that simply working with the skills and tools you have nurtured yourself brings more enjoyment, and it kind of forces you to take even more care - When you spend hours, for example, sharpening your knives, you just don’t toss them into the dishwasher anymore (at least I do not) and wash them with love with your bare hands ❤️ Same applies to my chisels. I am very careful not to accidentally let them fall on the floor or dull them when manipulating.
My beloved things
Generally, when you put much effort into something, you protect the thing more.
I can remember, when I was around 14 years old, I had an opportunity to make some cash in my mother’s job. The job was pretty laborious manual repetitive work and very poorly paid at that time, too. But I was glad for that opportunity, because that was the only way at that time to make some cash. When I finished the work after around 2 weeks, I earned around 5000 CZK. This was the time, when no smartphones exist yet, and the pocket MP3 players were trendy, and I wanted one so badly for a long time, but never had the money. Until now! So I went and bought Sandisk Sansa C240, which was one of the better MP3 players at that time, for about 2500 CZK. And because the money was for the kinda hard work, I had it for so long time and was caring for it so much!
At that time, I was spending the majority of my spare time in local skatepark doing aggressive inline skating. And the next year, the opportunity to do the hard work at my mother’s job came again, so I took it! After three weeks I was done and earned about 7500 CZK. I really wanted some new top-notch aggressive in-line skates. So, for my hard earned money, I bought Rollerblade TRS A6 in-line skates for about 6000 CZK (pretty serious money at that time). And the best part? I still have them in my basement (pretty beaten up, though, but that’s the nature of riding in skateparks) and approximately once or twice a year I ride them. And it always brings so much great memories 😊.
The morale of the story is: Take care of your (not only) things, you will love them and protect more!