The Corner

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Knife Control

Churchmen in England have demanded the government “take urgent measures to promote the sale of safe kitchen knife designs and restrict those designs which have been used in so many acts of violence.” Basically, they don’t want pointy knives to be sold in Britain.

What I find interesting about this letter is how it just gets facts about knives wrong. “Historically we needed a point on the end of our knife to pick up food because forks weren’t invented,” is says, “Now we only need the point to open packets when we can’t be bothered to find the scissors.”

Do these churchmen cook for themselves? It is extremely wrong to suggest that the only knives cooks want to use are stubby, or that the only point of a pointy knife is to open packages better opened by scissors.

Pointy knives are especially well suited to rocking motions used to chop herbs. Points are also useful for piercing food itself — say opening a small hole in the skin of chicken breasts, the better to insert a little butter before roasting.  If you’re deboning fish, you need a pointy and flexible knife.

Getting rid of pointy knives may also lead to unintended consequences, say a surge in the market for non-pointy cleavers, which I should add are useful if you want to brain someone and kill them.

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