I was visiting my folks over the Holiday and noticed that my mom's knives were really dull and crappy. I offered to buy her a new set. She then proceeded to reminisce about the knives she commonly used when she was still a young girl in Vietnam. My mom is in her early 70s. She said that they were grayish/blue in color and was much sharper, remained sharp much longer, and lasted forever. She must be talking about non-stainless carbon steel. She said they were very cheap too. Then today during our New Year feast, one of the relatives was my cousin's wife. She came from the countryside in Vietnam and just arrived to the U.S. a few years ago. She was helping out in the kitchen and commented that she preferred the knives she used in the countryside. They were uglier but better. I asked her to describe them; and again she described non-stainless carbon steel. She said that blacksmiths still forge knives in the villages, but in the cities they used mass produced stainless knives from Thailand or China. While neither my mom or my cousin's wife are professional chefs. They came from a very large extended family, 20 or more people, and had to cook for all of them. They must know a thing or two about kitchen knives. Is this sad that we traded good performance and inexpensive tools for more expensive but convenience tools?