And Another Thing...

You have to give the Japanese credit for two things. They know about knives, and they know about rice. After spending more time than is actually healthy for an responsible adult lurking in the insane asylum we call the knife forums, I finally gave in and picked up the relatively pedestrian Shun Chef’s Knife. You can already tell that I am suffering from forum brain damage because I feel the need to call this knife pedestrian.

It’s true that the Shun is not the most exotic knife that you can buy. It’s shape is more Germany than Japan, but the materials and the handle hint at Japanese construction. The thing is, the dork forums have a hypnotic effect on dorks, making them obsess over the most trivial details (flat blade or more curved? Damascus finish? Western or Japanese style handle?). Most of all, the forums give you the urge to obtain something unusual, offbeat, and a bit rare. They convince you that you must rise above the mass-produced drek that joe- average would buy at William Sonoma, even if it happens to be the perfect fit.

So, while I apologize to myself that I did not end up with something even quite as edgy (if you will) as a hammer-finished carbon steel wa-handle knife, I also realized that the Shun is two things:

1. Superbly shiny.

2. Perfectly balanced and easy to handle in my hands.

It works so well it makes me sure that I’ve been abusing my poor German knife all this time, using it with an edge that is more like a mousepad than a knife. I guess it’s time to rectify that. But first I have to go slice some see-through pieces of apple or chop some more microscopic cubes of carrot.

Of course, now I’ll have to figure out how to keep the knife sharp, which is a whole separate circle of doom.

Now, about rice.

There are only two kinds of rice worth eating. Risotto is OK if you are into that kind of thing, but short grain white rice is the real stuff. If rice were cheese, the high end short grain white rice would be Stilton. While I am willing to admit that there is a brown rice-shaped food that people eat for general nutrition, don’t expect me to believe that anyone actually enjoys it. And those people making brown rice sushi rolls should be taken out in back of the Whole Foods and summarily executed.

Anyway, a couple of years ago, Julie told me I should buy some Tamaki Gold short grain rice. I looked around for it in Pittsburgh but didn’t find it at any of my normal haunts and I ended up forgetting about it. But, this weekend we were in Lotus in the strip and lo and behold there was a bag of the stuff.

To continue to extend a bad metaphor, this is truly the Colston Basset Dairy of short grain white rice. Out of the cooker it is sticky but not gluey, soft but with just enough toothy texture to make you know you aren’t eating oatmeal or something. I made fried rice the next day with it and it took on an even softer texture, almost like a dry risotto. If you like rice, and you should, you owe it to yourself to get 20 pounds of this stuff and put it through your rice cooker.

Yes I know this rice comes from California and not Japan. It’s the original thought that counts, so get off my back.