Knife is a love-letter to this essential culinary tool - its form, history and creation. The knife can be the most functional utensil or the most exquisite piece of design - avid collectors pay jaw-dropping sums for a piece of Japanese hand-crafted steel, made according to traditions that date back thousands of years. Through interviews with knife-makers, chefs and collectors, acclaimed food writer Tim Hayward explores how the relationship between cook and blade has shaped the both the knife itself, and the ways we prepare and eat food all over the world. From Damascus blades to Chinese cleavers and sushi knives, at the heart of Knife is a fascinating guide to 40 different types of knife, each with its own unique story, detailed description and stunning photographs. Lavishly illustrated and designed, and as cool, personal and desirable as the most intricately crafted deba, Knife opens up the world of this most covetable of culinary implements.
Although restaurateur and writer Hayward's love letter to the knife isn't the first of its kind, it's one of the best and most beautiful on the topic. Hayward (Food DIY; The DIY Cook) highlights dozens of knives, ranging from the common and instantly recognizable workhorses (chef's knives, bread knives, classic steak knives) to more specialized fare such as boning gouges, truffle slicers, and the dao bao, a paring knife from Southeast Asia that's used for peeling and shredding hard vegetables. Each entry is accompanied by a photo of an iconic example as well as a brief description of its most common applications. Hayward makes a strong argument for viewing what's often considered a tool as a work of art, profiling artisan knife makers such as Bob Kramer, whose knives are only sold via auction, and offering salient tips on selecting and getting the most use out of one's cutlery. Even if readers completely ignore his narrative, they're sure to be pulled in by the book's gorgeous photos of knives and some of the people who make them. Hayward has crafted a finely honed and precisely executed assessment of one of the world's most common culinary instruments, and his work is sure to strike a chord with novices and seasoned chefs alike.