Remember the scene in Julie & Julia, where Meryl Streep (playing Julia Child) chops a pile of onions bigger than her head? This scene iterates one of the most important lessons of knifery: practice until it feels natural.
Before you know it you’ll be chopping and dicing with the best of them.
There are only a few key knife skills that you really need to know, and some very seemingly obvious musts.
Most importantly—you need to tuck your fingers under (known as The Claw), because there’s no reason you need to cry real tears when dicing that onion.
How to Begin: Put something underneath your chopping block—either an old rubber placemat or a damp tea towel—anything to keep the surface stable. If your cutting board is moving about, not only is it dangerous, but you won’t be able to obtain control.
How to Choose a Knife: Knives are as personal as undergarments. Every knife has a different weight and feel, and the best way to find a knife that fits your particular hand is to test them out. You want a knife that is comfortable in your hand, a knife that feels substantial, but doesn’t drag your wrist down. You should ask a professional at a cookware shop for help.
How to Hold a Knife: You want to hold the knife so that you have maximum control, gripping the handle. Ideally you should be able to pinch the bottom end of the blade with your thumb and forefinger. You want to use your upper
arm and shoulder—not your wrist—to support your chop and give you more control.