Knives are another of those subjective items.  Especially with knives it is extremely important to go for what feels good and is easy for you to use.  I have some Cutco knives that I love, but can’t afford (mine were a gift) to add on to as a set.  I also have some of the older Pampered Chef knives that I love, but their newer ones are just not the same quality. I have a couple from the restaurant that my dad and grandfather ran when I was a baby and I also have some old Wilkinson knives from my maternal grandmother that I love!  I have a lot of knives, like cutting boards I use a clean one with the change in food and use.
I prefer a French, German or Brazilian made knife, but that too is a personal preference.
I think that there are a few essentials that will get you by in any kitchen:
  • SANTOKU – I like this over a traditional chef’s knife because it is a bit shorter with a thinner and broader blade. The indentations on the side make it easier to cut through food by creating air pockets that reduce the friction to make for a smoother cut.
  • UTILITY –  this knife will become your best friend – it’s the ALL PURPOSE knife that does everything that the specialty knives don’t.
  • PARING – great for coring, peeling and trimming vegetables especially.  I have several of these. 
  • CLEAVER – This one doesn’t get used much, but is essential if you need to cut through bones.
  • BONING – The long, narrow, thin blade of this knife works to get into tight places when you’re trimming fat and tendons away.
  • BREAD – scalloped teeth of a serrated edge is great for cutting through bread and softer foods. 
  • SLICER – a long thin bladed knife that is ideal for slicing roast beef.
  • POULTRY SHEARS – these are essential if you want to cut up your own chickens.  Many times I can save a ton of money by buying the whole bird and cutting it apart myself for fried chicken.
  • MANDOLINE – okay I know it really isn’t a knife, but it has a sharp metal edge so I include it in this category.  Don’t skimp on this, get a good quality.
I recommend that you keep your knives sharpened.  A good quality sharpener is as easy to use as your most comfortable knife.

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup peanut butter
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup maple sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 Jumbo eggs
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon espresso powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup oatmeal
1/2 cups minced walnuts
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
1 cup golden raisins

  • Sift together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and espresso powder.
  • Cream butter and peanut butter together.
  • Add the sugars and cream again.
  • Add the vanilla and eggs and cream until smooth.
  • Gradually add flour mixture until well blended.
  • Add oatmeal until well blended.
  • Add nuts and combine well.
  • Add chocolate chips and combine again.
  • Add raisins and mix well.
  • Drop by spoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet.
  • Press down slightly.
  • Bake 12-15 minutes.