From slivered stones to high-carbon stainless steel, humans have been wielding the blade since prehistoric times.
For certain foods, like onions and garlic, or for serious undertakings like boning chickens, a few tricks of the trade will make your blade-work quick and efficient. For in-depth advice on how best to tackle these techniques, take a look at our knife skills articles.
A sharp edge and a dexterous hand guiding the blade are keys to coming away with all your digits intact. Keep fingertips straight below the knuckles and mind the thumb of the food-holding hand. When done, store knives in racks, in knife trays or safely sheathed in drawers. Never leave them at the counter's edge where they can be easily swept off.
Most functions can be accomplished with a good 8- or 9-inch chef's knife or paring knife. However, it's easy to catch knife fever--the need to acquire numerous knives with different grips and blade lengths, and those designed for specific purposes (like tomato and clam knives).