A dull knife is a cook’s worst enemy, and easily the most dangerous tool you can have in your kitchen. Thankfully, keeping your knives in good condition to use isn’t terribly difficult, and you probably already have the tools required to do it.
Honing or sharpening a knife is not a science. You’ll find different people do it in different ways, all of which can get the job done. Still, there is an easy and repeatable way to go about it that doesn’t involve potentially cutting yourself. Here’s how.
Honing vs. Sharpening
The first thing to clear up is the difference between honing a kitchen knife and sharpening one. When most people at home use a “honing steel” or “butcher’s steel,” or that long metal rod that comes in the center of a knife block, to “sharpen” their knives, what they’re really doing is honing them.
The difference is that a honing steel straightens out the blade of a knife, making the edge straight and ready to use. As you use a knife, the tip of the blade will eventually bend and curl so you don’t get a real blade-on cut at the very tip. The best you can really do at home is to hone your knives regularly to keep the cutting edge straight – for most at-home cooks, this makes the knives “feel” sharper. Check out this video at Chow for a visual description.
Actual knife sharpening is something you’ll probably want to have professionally done, but more on that later. First, let’s look at how you can keep your knives well honed.
How Do I Sharpen a Kitchen Knife?
The most common knife honing tool is a honing steel, or a butcher’s steel. They’re ideal for regular, per-use maintenance, and for bringing your knives back into alignment so they cut cleanly with each use. Most knife sets come with them, and most department stores sell them, and since they’re so common, we’ll focus on those.
Honing steels aren’t the only things you can use to keep your knives in working order. You could always buy a sharpening stone or water stone, which is usually a flat, rectangular stone that can come in coarse or fine grades depending on the type of knife you want to hone and how sharp you’d like it. You can also buy honing kits, which usually come with multiple sharpening stones of different grades. While we focus on honing steels, the same tips apply to sharpening stones as well.
As for manual or automatic knife sharpeners you can buy from department stores? They vary highly in quality by price and manufacturer, and they’re no real substitute for doing it yourself with a honing steel that you probably already have. Plus, some low-end sharpeners can do more damage to your knives than good. We suggest you avoid them altogether, save some cash, and do it yourself.
At some point in our lives, most of us have thought about starting up our own business and enjoying the freedom that comes with entrepreneurship. Starting up my own business was the best decision I ever made because it allowed me to actualize on a lifelong dream to pursue my dream. However, the biggest barrier when taking this bold step is usually the high start-up cost associated with the move. With most financial institutions requiring that a business have a business address, getting a physical office and furnishing it increases the start-up costs and makes the self-employment dream remain just that: a dream. However, with the increased number of virtual office providers in most countries around the globe, it has become easier to get that executive business address. Still, the major task remains choosing the right provider. In this post, I look at some of the considerations you should put in place when looking for virtual office provider.
Before you begin looking for a virtual office, it is important to assess your business and determine short and long term needs. Because most providers offer a myriad of services, it is important to select only the package that will suit your business needs. For instance, it would not make sense to subscribe to a package with teleconferencing facilities when your business will never have to use the facility. On the other hand, if your business long term goals indicate that your business will expand in the near future, subscribing to a teleconferencing packaging will not seem like such a bad idea.
It is also important to make a visit to the provider’s physical location before signing up for their service. This helps you to assess the technical ability of the virtual office provider to support your business. As a minimum, they should have a professional meeting room in case you need to conduct meetings in a physical location. Additionally, it help you assess whether they will be able to handle all your business needs. You do not want to receive an email with a client saying that they tried to reach you at your phone number but were unable. That will be embarrassing, especially for a start-up business. (Read: Wikipedia)
Also of importance is to consider regional-specific laws and regulations concerning businesses. A while ago, a blogger friend of mine in Malaysia needed to expand his online business and was in dire need of virtual assistants. He took up a virtual office in Kuala Lumpur and received able assistants who he believed were locals. A few weeks later, he received emails letting him know that his virtual assistance had been relieved because they did not have valid work permits. He was later to learn that Malaysia has some of the strictest labor laws in Asia. Rules vary from once country to another and would therefore be different for a virtual office in Nagoya, Japan for instance. Therefore, it pays to do your research before choosing to go with a specific provider.
In conclusion, choosing the right virtual office provider will get you tons of benefits, especially if you are a start-up. It will help you with establishing a professional image and put you on the right track to success.