Thursday, January 23, 2014

Fun with knives

See, I don't get to cook much in my own house, though let's not worry too much about why. (Ok, one big reason is that my roommates are vegans, which, I mean. I do like meat a bit.) But I also enjoy cooking recreationally sort of a lot and get kind of bummed out that I don't get to do it more often.

So I'm one of those guys who takes his knives on vacation. Does that seem weird to you? I'm really asking--it seems like the most normal thing in the world to me, but maybe there are people out there who would find it disquieting that I travel with a selection of large, very sharp knives. But man, one of my favorite moments from my last vacation was...just making a salad the first evening. Looked roughly like this:

Ok actually it looked exactly like that, although large gin and tonics always look larger than they really are in pictures. And if you truly want to nerd out, that's a Wusthof 8 inch heavy chef's knife, which works well for those of us who tend toward "paws" more than "hands."

Where it really gets wonky is when I need to fly with my knives. Of course I don't think it's a good idea to have the airplane cabin full of folks with large knives (or any knives for that matter, really). And I don't think it's likely that I'm going to feel a sudden, forceful urge to chiffonade some basil at 30,000 feet. But if you're flying me down to Los Angeles to cook Thanksgiving dinner for you and your ragamuffin orphan-bachelor friends, I'm seriously not going to rely on your on-sale-at-Target-for-$6.99 weird semi-serrated "chef's knife." I'm bringing my own. (Alright fine, sometimes me traveling with my knives is out of sheer snobbery. But do you know how frustrating it is to chop down fifteen pounds of potato with what's effectively an over-sized butter knife?) So sure, I'll cheerfully check a bag with my knife roll in it, aware of all the attendant headaches that's going to cause. It's worth it. 

But then I read this NYTimes quickie travel piece by Alton Brown where he points out that some of his kitchen equipment was prima facie dangerous, a threat to the safety and well-being of everyone on board the plane, a clear and present danger embodied omelette pan. 

An omelette pan.

To be fair, this apparently went down a few months after the September 11th attacks, and maybe everyone had their danger meters a little skewed. But (and I think Mr. Brown is probably with me on this) I really just can't quite...I mean, how are you going to threaten someone with an omelette pan? Am I under-appreciating the chances of someone having two too many Mrs. Ts bloody marys and toddling around the cabin, whapping people in the head like Little Bunny Foo Foo omelette pan?

Having written all of that, it's actually only now that I've figured out my subconscious reason for it: I could use a vacation. And as much as I love seasons (and I do), my friend in LA pointed out yesterday that it was so cold there that he had to put on a sweater. It was in the low 60s. 

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