It is better to have three top-quality knives that will perform well, stay sharp, and last a long time than it is to buy a set of mediocre cutlery that you will have to replace sometime down the road. Here are some of the basic knives:
- 6, 8 or 10 inch chef’s knife (for chopping herbs, dicing vegetables, and slicing some meats and poultry)
- 3 or 4 inch paring knife (for smaller tasks that require more control)
- serrated knife (for slicing bread and tomatoes)
- I would add a vegetable peeler. Try some out at friends’ houses to find one you are comfortable with. Look for a stainless steel blade.
When choosing, hold a few knives from various manufacturers and select one that feels comfortable and balances well in your hand. If the handle is wood there should be no space between the handle and the blade as moisture can get trapped and deteriorate the handle. The blade should be composed of high-carbon no-stain steel. The carbon helps the blade maintain a sharp edge, the no-stain steel prevents the blade from rusting.