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I have new knives! Kind of a “starter set”, which probably sounds silly for someone who cooks (and loves to cook) as much as I do, and has been doing so for about 45 years. You’d think by now that proper knives would be first and foremost in my kitchen. But it’s confession time.

When I first left home and first discovered the delights of fresh food and homecooking, I was a broke teenager putting herself through highschool. I’m sure there were a few crappy knives in my various kitchens back then, but I always made sure I had one good one. This turned out to be a Henkel paring knife, which was all I could afford. Why Henkel? Because this was the brand I always trusted for scissors (I was still keen on a career in the fashion biz back then). So my one Henkel paring knife served for everything. And I guess I just got used to that, and developed ways of using that one small knife while filleting meat and fish, chopping onions, smashing garlic, and even occasionally peeling vegetables.

But lately I’ve been thinking about this, now that I have a small but serviceable kitchen, with my own oven installed and a new induction cooker. How much easier, better, whatever, it would be to have a proper set of knives? I wanted to find out. But what to buy?

Thankfully my friends (and professional cooks) Anna & Jorge @GuitianMayer served as my advisors, in terms of what types of knives to get and what price range to look at. First off I was thrilled that they also recommended Zwilling-Henkel (I had made the right choice all those years ago!) but I still had to work out what I needed. In the end I went to El Corte Inglés as all the Z-H knives are 20% off right now. But you know, they could actually train people there – the woman I spoke to clearly knew nothing about knives. And so, after several whats-apps, sending questions and photos to Anna & Jorge, I made my choice.

With these four new knives I suddenly feel inspired to try making things that actually require more than a paring knife. I know I am going to have to adjust my technique, but that’s kind of exciting. Feeling a bit like Christmas here today.