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How To Choose Kitchen Knives
Stainless Vs. Carbon Steel

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Doctor Lecter and Carbon Knives

 - This probably shouldn't be a separate topic, but I've heard and had to answer this so many times... Lots of folks, who were asking about carbon steels being better than the modern stainless, have read Thomas Harris' book - Hannibal. Sequel to famous Silence Of The Lambs and Red Dragon. That happened right after the movie Hannibal was released. Apparently the movie raised interest to the book, thus the surge of interest in carbon vs. stainless steel kitchen knives :) Talk about the Hollywood influencing the masses.
    So, simply put, because doctor Lecter said carbon knives were better(in an episode where Lecter goes to the gun show and buys kitchen knives, there's rather lengthy dialogue with the knife seller about carbon knives, and how they don't leave the metallic taste) bunch of folks got interested, since Dr. Lecter was such a gourmet he'd know better :) Frankly, I do not know. Plus, there's whole bunch of people who believe exactly the opposite, Carbon, i.e. non-stainless steels leave more taste due to oxidation, while stainless is much less susceptible to it - sounds reasonable to me. Even though I am real picky about my food and tastes, apparently it takes Dr. Lecter's superhuman taste sensors to detect the difference in aftertaste left by stainless and non stainless knives in the food. And I suspect that must be raw food too ;) Though who knows, aftertaste might be getting stronger with boiling. I can believe there is a difference for some sensitive folks between salad leaves cut with ceramic and steel knives, but no idea about stainless steels affecting the taste worse than carbon steels. Because of my knife hobby I've used over a dozen steel and non steel alloys in my kitchen, 440C, 440A, VG-10, ATS-34/154CM, BG-42, D2, CPM S90V, M2, 52100, INFI, 1095, Talonite, Aogami I, Aogami II and Super, Ceramics and I can never tell the difference anyway. Even between the stainless steel and Talonite that has no Iron in it, but mostly Cobalt... May be you will :) If you can sense that metallic taste, then your best bet is ceramics I guess.

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Last updated - 09/01/11