Always use Scarily Sharp knives

A few years ago, I was in search of an activity to do with my son one weekend. I found a class on the Scary Sharp technique run by a Steven Tucker at TechShop in San Jose. Scary Sharp was something my teenage son had introduced me to after finding it on YouTube. It is one of those things that takes something that is deceptively complex, and makes it simple by combing some clever use of materials with simple repetitive process and the ability to assess the quality of your work. Our workshop involved sitting round a workbench with a group of likeminded souls as Steven worked both the whiteboard covering a mixture of math, physics, metallurgy and a bit of history with helping us each use pieces of float glass, spray adhesive, sandpaper and photocopier paper to make blades we selected from the small pile of edged things he had deposited in the middle of the bench scarily sharp.

Some Sunday nights after the rest of the house has gone to bed as I spend time preparing for the week ahead I like to apply what I learned that afternoon and sit and sharpen our kitchen knives. It is one of those things that is best done when the house is quiet, the repetitive motion helps clear the mind. Tonight, as I sat there in the dark house honing edges I realized that there are so many great lessons that I have learned from this that could be shared in an epic blog post. Amongst other things I could write at length on the:

  • need to always be open to learning new things and getting outside our comfort zone
  • value of a great teacher like Steven and how he teaches
  • quality time we need to invest with our kids to enable us to pass on our values
  • benefits and discipline of a repetitive process like knife sharpening
  • appreciation of evaluating quality and understanding when things are sharp enough

but instead I just want to point out how good it is to cook with sharp knives.

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