The number one tool for every cook has got to be their knives.
But as important as the knives are for omnivores, they are even more important for vegetarians who are constantly whacking and chopping all manner of fruits and vegetables.
Which means that keeping those knives sharp is critical.
And I found a great tool to help. A tool that will make an ideal present for the vegetarian mother who cooks.
Not ideal solution #1: Sharpening stones
At first, I considered sharpening stones (or rod sharpeners). But these are fraught with questions: Is the knife at the right angle? If not, will someone get hurt? Or will the ridiculously expensive knife get ruined?
Can you see why I passed on this solution?
Not ideal solution #2: Man in kitchen with knives
Next, I turned toward the husband. Making the husband sharpen the knives worked pretty well. I mean, he did a good job with the sharpening stone. But there are three problems with this solution.
First, the man tended to indulge in maniacal laughter every time he sharpened a knife. Sure, I could see his point. If you are going to sharpen knives, that really is the best time for a sinister mwhahahaha. But, still, that is the stuff nightmares are made of. And the reason we got rid of the juicer.
Second, he insists he can't rush home from the office every time I find a dull blade. I think that's a little selfish of him, but, okay, I'd rather be self sufficient anyway.
And, third, sure I might complain about my husband refusing to rush home to sharpen my knives and laughing maniacally when he does, but, hey, at least he does a good job of it when he is around. But what if your dad does a crummy job? Then what do you do?
Can you see why I don't recommend you make your mom rely on someone else to sharpen her knives?
Totally ideal solution: Chef'sChoice Professional Sharpening Station M130
Despite its utilitarian name, this unit pretty much sharpens everything, including serrated knives which, for some reason, the tiny, wizened, non-English speaking, knife-sharpening man in the van outside the farmer's market always refuses to do. I have no idea why. And I'm afraid to ask.
Which is why I think this is a great solution.
So how does this work?
There are three inserts into which you place your knife. The first one sharpens the edge a bit. The second one sharpens it more. And the third one, which also sharpens serrated knives, can sharpen straight edges even further.
You see, in these indentations are abrasive disks which sharpen the knives. Or there are tiny, ancient, knife-sharpening guys who used to work out of vans at farmer's markets. I'm not sure which.
Even better, sharpening a knife takes, oh, less than a minute. And you don't have to shlep dull knives to, and razor sharp knives home from, the market.
So what's the bottom line here?
Well, certainly it is not as fun as having the husband sharpen the knives. But it is incredibly easy to work, it is impossible to screw up the angle, and it makes the knives killer sharp.
Which means it is an ideal present for the vegetarian mom who cooks, don't you think?