A Paring Knife

Buy a paring knife. Whatever kind you want, it doesn’t matter. Pare things with it.

Don’t read the above paragraph as dismissive. Seriously: paring knives are amazing. They do lots of great things that a chef’s knife is too large and menacing to do: peel fruit, devein shrimp, carve radishes into roses. (So easy! I learned how to do it when I was 7 and spent an afternoon reading my mom’s childhood copy of The Betty Crocker Boys and Girls Cookbook. It involves letting the radishes “bloom” in ice water.) But unlike a chef’s knife, most paring knives are more or less created equal. You probably could find a truly crap one if you tried, with a too-flimsy blade and a handle that snaps off when it encounters a terrifyingly insurmountable foe like orange pith or a tomato. And you could also probably wildly overpay for one, if for example you paid the list price of $67 for a Wusthof 3½-inch when you could get it on Amazon for a nickel under $40. Just stay out of the extremes and you’ll do fine.

My pick: I have three Kuhn Rikon 4-inchers which came as a set, have a perfect shape and balance for my hands, and are brightly colored, which is a surefire way to get me to want to buy something.

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