It was about ten years ago when I first handled a butternut squash in my own kitchen. I was in my apartment, and was expanding my cooking repertoire when I found a recipe for butternut squash fries. The butternut squash was bought, and I was there in the little apartment kitchen with some terrible knives that I brought from home. The idea of sharpening a knife was so foreign I didn’t even know it was a thing. Cutting that stupid squash was my workout that day with those terrible knives. I honestly don’t know how I didn’t lose a finger or even my whole hand.
Somewhere along the line, Patrick’s friend started sharpening my knives when he came to visit. The first time I used one of his sharpened knives I cut myself and didn’t even realize it until I saw blood on the cutting board. That’s the difference between using a ragged edge knife and a well-sharpened one. It’s the difference between a tiny easily-healed cut and a visit to the ER. Since then we’ve kept well-sharpened knives in the house and have learned to do it ourselves.
Patrick has an entire wet stone sharpening assortment and can spend the entire day getting the perfect bevel. For me, when I’m in the middle of something and need to get my blade in a better place, I love this little IKEA gadget. It might not be what you’d sharpen your expensive blades on, but used well, it makes a noticeable and workable difference in my blades.
Cutting up the first butternut squashes of the fall reminded me of this when I was struggling to get the blade through the vegetable’s tough outer skin. I immediately stopped, rinsed off the blade, and set it aside for another more recently-sharpened blade. And just like that, it was like cutting butter instead of butternut squash. Consider this your PSA for the season: cut squash, not yourself, and sharpen your knives today.