When The Departed left, my father was visiting, so he extended his visit for a bit to help deal with things – lock-changing and lawyer-finding, but also making sure The Child and I ate properly.
He cooked a lot.
He started grumbling. Your knives are all dull, he said. How do you do anything with dull knives?
I realized he was right, and in fact I had complained about this from time to time.
The Departed got me a chef’s knife for my birthday one year, and an identical knife in a slightly smaller size for Christmas.
Except all the other knives taking up room on the magnetic strip were no sharper, and the new chef’s knives rapidly grew dull from near-constant use.
You need to sharpen your knives, said my father.
Oh, I said. I think they do that at the hardware store. I saw a sign there.
You can do it yourself, he told me. Didn’t The Departed ever sharpen your knives for you?
That’s a husband’s job, he said.
I’ve had two husbands and never saw either sharpen a knife, I told him.
He got a little annoyed and searched the kitchen. Finding no sharpening block, he bought one the next day and showed me how to use it.
Seems simple enough, I said.
A few days later, my father was boxing up what The Departed’s called his “shop,” a stall of the garage that largely unusable for anything other than what it was used for: A garbage collection area on top of a tool graveyard. Among the debris, he found a sharpening stone.
He brought it inside, furious. Of course he had one. Of course he never used it. Of course it could not even have been found if you actually went to look for it. It was buried in among piles of screws and drills that don’t work.
He vented a bit more, then returned to the task in the garage.
I mention all of this, because I was reminded of it when I recently made my Candied Orange Peel. My paring knife had become a bit dull, so I went looking for a sharpening stone.
In the back of a recently-purged kitchen drawer, I found a red gadget marked with the name of a knife company. I inspected it closely, and it would appear to be – yes, a knife sharpener. It worked great.
The problem: A house full of dull knives, yet containing two sharpeners.
The solution? Buy more knives.