Slice Like a Ninja

Jacque Pepin, the famous french chef, was instructing how to beat egg whites in a copper bowl with a wire whisk. And he demonstrated how the large balloon whisk runs through the egg whites and almost never touches the bowl. He said when he was a beginning cook, the chef would walk through the kitchen and shout at the Cretans that were banging the side of the bowl with their whisk to teach them how to do it properly.

That seemed so funny to me, although I imagine that chef stirred fear and loathing in the hearts of the novices.

This week the Sporkful podcast hinted at sounds and how they affect our taste, but also made one mention of a chef noting to a novice that he was cutting his scallions (green onions) wrong… not by watching him cut, but by the sound that the knife made on the board and the food. It was a great demonstration to hear one dull knife smashing the onions and one sharp knife sliding through the onions. I’ve seen other chefs say the same thing; let the knife do the work, stop hacking and banging on your food. The most important thing there is having a SHARP knife. Us home cooks neglect the essential of honing our knife with every use, either before or after, and this is another reminder to do it. Make the knife do the work, don’t bash and bang at your food. The caster entreats you to “slice like a ninja” not like a clumsy giant smashing through the woods.  I love that type of imagery to help me remember what I’m doing and how to do it well.  I would like to think of myself as a ninja, wouldn’t you? Take that, you unruly onion, you!

Listen in on listening to food; it’s an entertaining 23 minutes that will encourage you too. Oh and crispier chips are much much tastier.

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