my new German knife

I will write another entry about brand loyalty, but this is my way of exploring it with a story.

Once upon a time, I wouldn’t buy anything German.  I didn’t want to give them any money.  That was after visiting Germany one summer and spending enough time there to feel uncomfortably unwelcome.  Of course, I didn’t/don’t speak the language, and didn’t learn the language, even though I’m pretty good at that.  Or was, at least.  I learned how to say cauliflower and how do you go to such and such a place?  You know, functional language.  But the place remained barbaric to me, even though I was the original barbarian.

We went to see Fiddler on the Roof.  In German.  When the Russian constable meets up with them, I closed my eyes and saw the Gestapo coming in to round up the Jews.  That was the strength of my discomfort of the summer in Frankfurt.

My mother wanted me to buy Rosenthal china while we were there.  After all, it was never going to be cheaper and we could get a really good deal for the dollar exchange.  I was uneasy about buying something that expensive on my own; what if the husband, whenever he comes along, doesn’t like it?  Okay, she probably thought that was the silliest thing; I don’t think my father ever shared an opinion about things in the household; but she bought it.  I really didn’t want to buy anything German.

So when we were married and buying our household stuff, the husband for real did agree with me about no German products.  And that meant finding a good alternative for a good knife.  After all, the best ones were Henckels and Wusthof, without question.  American?  Okay, we got a couple of really good bread knives from Chicago (the brand), but for some reason, their chef knives were not so sharp.

French!  Sabatier!  Okay, that would work.  It felt good in my hand and so for over 30 years, I used this one knife to the point that it is  falling apart.  If I cut at least 5 pounds of onions, 3 pounds of carrots, 2 pounds of broccoli, 2 pounds of peppers, etc., every week, well, that adds up to a lot of cutting, to the point (oh, I get it) that the edge is indented from being worn away.  I actually bought a second one, just like the first one a few years ago, but it’s not the same.  It isn’t that sharp. So it was time to find something else.

Who says old dogs can’t learn new tricks?  I can adapt.  I wouldn’t want to buy anything French these days (except French kosher wine:) ), so what–Japanese?  Not so fast.  After all, who is now a better friend to Israel than Germany?  So why not?  Especially since when I tried my daughter-in-law’s knife, it felt fantastic.

I will spare you a re-telling of The Hunt.  I can just mention that it included the husband, so it got larger than if I had gone out and gotten something.  I know–he doesn’t even use it!  But he loves his hunts!  We ended up at a strange shop very much out of the way that he had been to at its previous location.  Let’s just say that there are more hunting knives than kitchen knives at this place, to put it in perspective.

We ended up with a Wusthof santoku 5 inch knife.  It feels great and cuts the thinnest slices imaginable.

And the Rosenthal china?  I am still happy that I didn’t buy the set that caught my eye when I was 17, because my own tastes have changed.


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