This year like alot of other thanksgivings, we'll be going down to Karen's cousin's place just outside Richmond Virginia. Every year it's my assigned duty, to bring a good sharp knife and carve the turkey. I look over my knife block in the kitchen, and make a choice. So far, the choice is none of the ones in my knife block.
I've got this nice block with Victorinox/Forschner kitchen cutlery, and I like them. A lot. There's a nice 7 inch chefs knife that will slice anything a cook needs to slice, a nice 8inch serrated edge bread knife that whispers through a fresh hot loaf of bread with no tearing. A couple of Vic paring knives. But none of them make the cut. No pun intended. Well, maybe a little one.
I go up in the cabent over the fridge and take down a package of rolled up newspaper with duct tape around the one end and the middle. I take out my knives.
I guess by modern standards, they're pretty underrated. Two knives, both identical, both 8 inch slim carving/butcher patterns from another time in America. No stainless steel, firbrox or other synthetic handles, no Japanese blade style that seems to be popular these days with cable TV chefs.
The carbon blades are sort of grey/blue irridesent color, and the walnut handles have seen so many rub downs with linseed oil, they are a golden brown with dark streaks of grain running through. Both are samples of Case Old Forge that I got sometimes around the early 70's. Plain carbon steel, I guess they may be CV, I'm not sure if they used that on the kitchen stuff. They've carved a lot of thanksgiving turkey and Christmas ham in thier day.
Yes, they are old, out of style, but they are my special ones for times like these. I figure thanksgiving is sort of a ultimate traditonal holiday, a traditional knife should be used. I like the 8 inch slim blade profile, it gets in among the carcass contours nicely. I like to carve the breast off the bird, and the long slim blade works like a fillet knife. Once I have both halves of the breast off, I can make nice uniform slices.
This afternoon I touched up the knives. I've always loved the feel of old carbon steel on a stone. For some reason it feels different to me than the new stainless of the month. The "grabby" sharp edge seems to work better on meat than the smooth polished edge. At least to me.
But I guess most of all I just like the look. All my memories of thanksgiving, dad always used this old butcher knife he'd had for God knows how long. Dad was a real creature of habit, once selecting a piece of equiptment, he'd never give it up. New fancy carving set for those special occasions? Nope, forget it. It will sit there on the shelf, a little dusty, while the 40 year old knife/whatever gets it done. Maybe I inherited a little of that. So much kitchen stuff has come and gone over the years, but these old carbon steel knives have outlived alot of their competitors. Especially after Karen and I downsized. This year, like the rest of the times, I'll carve the holiday meal with the same old knives. There's sort of a symmetry about that.
On one of the few times a year when all the family will be together, its nice to have a constant. Something with lots of old memories with it. Theres always a new little face or two, as new arrivals to the family make a first apperance. Sometimes, sadly, an old familiar face is missing, mortality being what it is. It's nice to hold the old oil finished walnut, guide the time darkend carbon blade in the task of serving the family a thanksgiving day meal. And while doing so, remember those who aren't here anymore, and how the sacrafices they made, made it better for us. We wouldn't have it as good as we got, if not for all the dad's, granddads, and Mr. Van's that have been in our lives.
And as we serve our family, look down the table at them, and remind ourselves that we owe them at least as much.
Okay, now that I've told you what I'm carving with in my usual long winded way, what are you guys using?