National update your parents' spice rack month
December 11th, 2012
06:00 PM ET
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Yo mama's cinnamon is so old, its UPC code is "1."

Yo mama's thyme is so old, they used it to season the Last Supper.

Yo mama's cloves are so old, the bottle has a Brontosaurus steak recipe on the side.

I'm sure your mother (or father, aunt, cousin or relative at whose home you might be spending some quality eating time this holiday) is a warm, lovely and gracious host. I also have a sneaking suspicion, based on perusal of my own friends, family and in-laws' cabinets, that their spices are rather past their ideal use-by date or are poorly stored.

That doesn't render them harmful at all, but does increase the likelihood that your dishes will taste like the ghost of rosemary, bay or nutmeg past, rather than robustly of the spice itself. I mostly blame the manufacturers for packaging such ambitious quantities of spices that are meted out by the quarter teaspoon, pinch or dash, and often doing so in glass bottles. They're lovely to look at, but they let light in, and that's not at all nice for spice.

There's also a human factor at play. If they're not arranged into a wall-mounted, light-sucking rack, spices are often tossed wherever they happen to fit - even if that's perilously close to a heat or moisture source.

Both of those will sap spices of their full flavor, as does being jammed in the back of a cabinet behind the baking powder and cornstarch and forgotten. If you've never ended up with multiple tins of cinnamon because the several you had were out of sight, you are a better human than most of us.

spice tins

So I'm declaring December to be National Update Your Parents' Spice Rack Month to ensure that they are living an optimally delicious life, and not just sitting on a Smithsonian-worthy heap of kitchen clutter.

First, see and sniff the spices. If the color is faded or you have to work hard to catch a whiff when you rub a little into the palm of your hand, toss them out. The flavor diminishes along with those characteristics.

Next, check the dates on the containers. Roughly speaking, ground spices are good for 2-3 years, whole spices for 3-4 years, blends for 1-2 years and dried, leafy herbs for 1-3 years and extracts (except for vanilla, which stays potent) for 4 years. If it's beyond that - or even undated and smell-free - your trash can will eat semi-deliciously today.

Some major spice producers like McCormick, Durkee and Spice Island and Sauer's share brand-specific information about informational codes on their websites.

Once the exorcism is complete and you're ready to restock, look for those sold on air-tight tins, or consider buying from bulk bins where you can buy only the amount needed for the recipe at hand. Keep a few empty food-grade small, lidded tins on hand, or wash, thoroughly dry and re-label newly-emptied tins to reflect the new contents and the date on which they were purchased.

If you'd like, you can get all Pinteresty and cute about where and how to store them, but location is crucial. Avoid spots near the stove or radiator (too hot), in front of windows (too bright) and near sinks and dishwashers (too damp).

This will ensure that holiday treats back home will taste like Christmas present and future - and not like old spice.

See Eatocracy's board of cool spice storage solutions on Pinterest.

*The picture at the top is my mother-in-law's spice carousel and the one in middle is of strays from the back. These were taken in 2011, not the mid-70s.

**If this works out, we'll try for National Sharpen Your Parents' Knives Month and National Stay Calm While Your Dad Teaches You How to Load the Dishwasher Properly Day



soundoff (130 Responses)
  1. jj

    Or move out of your parents' basement and buy your own spices.

    December 4, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
  2. aubrie

    I cook A LOT and really enjoy it... Herbs and spices are what make cooking an art, so I used them liberally... As a result I'm constantly buying more. There are only a couple things in my cabinet older than 4 years. Most are replaced every few months. AND I really enjoy growing my own. It's so easy. sage, rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil, parsley and chives.... so much better fresh.

    December 4, 2013 at 2:31 pm |
  3. The consumate gourmet

    "Your spices are old.. your spices are old." Perennial cry of the chef who's furnished a spice budget.

    December 4, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
    • Guest

      Spices are a cheap addition to a meal.

      Let's say you go all out and spend $100 on spices in a year. That amounts to about 30 cents a day. Not enough to buy a cup of coffee at a fast food joint. Thirty cents a day is not a lot to make your food taste good, even if you're stuck with cheap food. Enduring lousy-tasting food (or spending more on better-tasting food) in order to save a few cents on spices is false economy. And that's toward the higher end; you can easily get by with less than half of that, and get a year's worth of spices for the price of a single tank of gas.

      December 4, 2013 at 8:07 pm |
  4. Your momma so old

    the only spice in her cabinet is labeled "rock"

    December 4, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
    • Steves

      LOL.

      December 4, 2013 at 3:28 pm |
    • ha ha

      Funny

      December 4, 2013 at 8:32 pm |
  5. MemereCece

    I know what they mean especially about older people hanging on to items. A college roommate and i found a box of Howdy Doody Pudding mix in her grandmothers pantry in 1974. I just cleared out my pantry and tossed spice , herbs and other packages that where questionable. Some old tins from years past and even overseas living adorn my "kitchen Christmas wreath".

    December 4, 2013 at 12:08 pm |
  6. Gordon

    I bought a container of salt a few days ago and this article prompted me to see if there's a date on it. There is, and it's five years in the future. I'd hate to open it in six years and be overcome by chlorine gas while the container catches fire from moisture in the air. :)

    December 4, 2013 at 12:00 pm |
  7. g.landes

    don't criticize your mother. If this is so important to you, buy her new ones.

    December 4, 2013 at 11:44 am |
  8. lazurite

    Totally did this with my elderly mom's spice rack recently. There was a bottle of oregano in there that had the price ink stamped on the bottom. I'm guessing it was purchased in the late 1960s.

    December 4, 2013 at 11:26 am |
  9. Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫

    The amount o spice is always way more than I will use in a reasonable amount of thyme.

    December 3, 2013 at 2:28 pm |
  10. Jess

    I think the oldest spice in my kitchen is older than me.

    Calgary caterers

    December 3, 2013 at 11:27 am |
  11. Richard

    I edit my mom's spice rack every year. It is just that I like to cook so it is really a gift to me since she doesn't cook much anymore.
    MORE IMPORTANT! Edit the pantry and get rid of the out of date food and bulging cans. Tasteless is one thing, spoiling and dangerous food is quite another.

    November 1, 2013 at 5:18 pm |
    • Edwin

      I actually know an older woman who once opened a can of bulging corn, SCRAPED OFF A LAYER OF MOLD, and then proceeded to eat the contents. She was hospitalized for about a week, and she's still alive and kicking.

      I've become convinced that she's immortal.

      December 4, 2013 at 5:03 pm |
      • Ripley

        Lol! She must be a serious badass to even attempt such a thing. I would never eat her cooking though you would never know what she's thrown in there.

        December 4, 2013 at 6:26 pm |
      • Justin

        What, never heard of Huitlacoche? It's a delicacy! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corn_smut

        December 5, 2013 at 12:38 am |
  12. Jennie @ wooden spice rack

    I could not agree more Kat, spices must remain fresh. Whole is better than ground because it will last longer. Better keep the spices away from light, in a wooden spice rack. Nice blog. Thank you, because that is very useful info.

    April 13, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
  13. Dusty

    I have to replace mine every year. I don't have central AC but live near the ocean and it gets very hot and humid in my house so my spices kinda meld into a solid chunk over the summer.

    December 31, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
  14. OBAMA4EVER

    This advertisement brought to you by the Spice Producers of America.

    Buy new spices! The more expensive, the better!

    December 27, 2012 at 11:21 am |
    • Guest

      Y'know, a FOOD blog isn't likely to have posts like "just eat ramen noodles and canned tuna."

      And while a lot of us can't afford some of the crazy ingredients for the recipes I've seen, decent spices are not only cheap per use, but they make cheap food taste better. You end up saving money. I know this from experience.

      December 4, 2013 at 8:12 pm |
    • Kat Kinsman

      Um, yeah. It was really nice of Big Spice to sponsor that camera crew to go to my mother-in-law's kitchen and "stage" those shots.

      December 4, 2013 at 11:13 pm |
  15. moonridr

    How about bu[[ out, get a life and leave your parents alone month?!!

    December 20, 2012 at 11:35 am |
    • AleeD®

      If that's how you feel, then by all means, leave your parents alone. No need to get all testes abou t!t.

      December 20, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
    • Thomas

      I think I would be annoyed if anyone came in to my kitchen and threw stuff away because "they" thought it was appropriate.

      How about talking with your cooking parent and let them make the decisions in their kitchens?

      December 5, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
  16. Thinking things through

    I recently bought hanging wall racks so I could get away from the problem of the deep narrow cabinet where herbs and spices languished, threw out all the older spices except the one or two which still have scent, and refurbished the collection where needed. Herbs and spices are a part of my life, and now I am glad I can at a glance see most of them! (A few larger containers are in the FRONT of the aforementioned cabinet, and I store the salts on top of the toaster oven - removing them when that appliance is in use.)

    December 17, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
  17. Meg

    I thought as long as you could smell it, the spice was still good. Is this not true?

    December 14, 2012 at 9:06 pm |
    • lazurite

      That's what I always go by.

      December 4, 2013 at 11:27 am |
    • Guest

      Depends on what it is that you smell. I just tossed out a jar of dried parsley that smelled, all right, but it smelled like hay. All the volatiles that make it taste like parsley were long gone (yeah, it got pushed to the back!) and all that was left was generic dead-plant smell. Y'know, hay.

      My favorite spice vender (Penzey's) sells bulk spices in heat-sealed mylar bags, and they seem to keep practically forever in those. I need to get some small ones and put part of a big jar of spices into each. (I happen to own a heat-sealer already, from a former business) Mylar bags hold spice volatiles better than glass jars, plastic containers, or just about anything else I've tried.

      December 4, 2013 at 8:15 pm |
  18. Jamie

    This article is timely because literally three days ago I went through and purge my spice rack. I had nothing older than 2008, but several containers had contents solidified from humidity and heat changes, and many were just expired. I replaced all of these with the nice, square, metal lidded glass jars from Target (I know, glass is bad, but they're kept in a dark cupboard) by Archer Farms. I love the jars because they're all a uniform size, and they look sort of old fashioned. Even though clear is bad, it allows me to see how much is left in each jar so that I don't run out at a bad time.

    December 13, 2012 at 10:10 am |
    • bob

      no one cares about this boring personal anecdote

      January 11, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
      • JellyBean

        I read it and I do care. So there.

        December 4, 2013 at 11:17 am |
      • Amy

        I cared.

        December 4, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
      • aubrie

        I do too... If you were bored, why read it? Please go to another site then.

        December 4, 2013 at 2:28 pm |
      • Mariela

        Ah, the Grinch IS alive and well...

        December 4, 2013 at 6:57 pm |
      • yeebon

        No need to be rude. I enjoyed the posting too. Mom always told me, "If you can't say something nice.....".

        December 4, 2013 at 7:24 pm |
  19. TX4UREXKARLENE

    I Love old tins !!! I have a huge Calumet baking powder tin & try to rescue band – aid & spice tins :-)

    December 13, 2012 at 10:04 am |
  20. jeniffer

    i have a sibling who lives in a remote area and i send new spices every two years for christmas. mom's pretty good about hers, not so much with the lipsticks though. some of them are older than me!

    December 13, 2012 at 8:50 am |
  21. Babs

    A Sharpie pen is well needed in the kitchen. Date you spices and lable your leftovers!

    December 12, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
  22. Jenni

    Our summer cabin has a lovely old jar of MSG

    December 12, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
  23. mariah b.

    This is PERFECT and so real. I had this conversation with my mom last night as my sister LOADED a piece of bread with what has to be 7 year old garlic powder. "Would you like some bread with your garlic, H?" my mom asks, jokingly. I guess it really is time we update our spice rack. I'm shamelessly passing this article along.

    December 12, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
    • bob

      wow that was REALLY INTERESTING

      January 11, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
      • JellyBean

        Troll.

        December 4, 2013 at 11:18 am |
      • Mariela

        Oscar, please put your lid back on your can!

        December 4, 2013 at 6:58 pm |
  24. GiGi Eats Celebrities

    LMFAO!!! This sooooooooo needs to happen when I get home! There are BILLIONS of herbs and spices in my parent's pantry. I think my father believes he has run out of Thyme every evening (ha ha, oh the pun), so he runs to the store the following day to buy some. Really he hasn't though, he just has SO MANY other herbs and spices (including about 10 bottles of THYME) so it's hard to find anything. No spice/herb organizer can make a difference, no one will ever be able to know for sure if they have enough garlic powder, oregano or saffron in their pantry! LOL – Although, I do know they have about 6 cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice jars in there, so I am set for when I come home!

    December 12, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • Rick

      There are several hundred dollars worth of herbs in my pantry....and I sure hope the police don't find out

      December 12, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
      • GiGi Eats Celebrities

        Ah ha ha ha ah! Well if you don't want them to find out, you shouldn't admit it on here! lol

        December 12, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
      • Amy

        just don't put poppy seeds in your muffins the day before a pee test.

        December 4, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
  25. Suebob

    A few years back, my mom realized she had some spices on her shelf that were in "Victory" boxes – cardboard containers made during WWII when metal was being used in the war effort. 65-year-old Allspice, anyone?

    December 12, 2012 at 10:49 am |
    • Tom

      Oh Oh ! I'll take it!
      Only because I'm a WW2 history nut, no way I would even consider using it!
      What a hoot.

      December 4, 2013 at 4:43 pm |
  26. SPE Certified

    Make sure you've added turmeric powder to the spice rack! ! It's been found to clear infections, help heal wounds are help prevent many diseases – http://specertified.com/blog/view/the-benefits-of-turmeric-and-its-use-in-cooking

    December 12, 2012 at 9:59 am |
  27. Ann

    I have my grandmother's jar of allspice. I think I may have replaced the contents about 10 years ago, but the jar is priceless. Anyone remember when One-A-Day vitamins came in a round glass (yes, GLASS) bottle with a stopper top? That's what Grandma used for spice jars. The ancient, yellowing masking tape label with her handwriting is still on the jar. It's probably from the 1960s.

    December 12, 2012 at 9:54 am |
    • Ann

      OT – I also have a small jar of Vaseline that I keep refilling. It's round, glass, about the size of a baby food jar – and has a price sticker on it that says 25 cents. Love it.

      December 12, 2012 at 9:55 am |
      • emma

        Noxema used to come in beautiful blue glass jars. I wish I had thought to keep one.

        December 6, 2013 at 9:33 am |
    • lazurite

      I remember those One-a-Day bottles. Wow!

      December 4, 2013 at 11:29 am |
  28. Jessica

    Totally did this at my parent's house over Thanksgiving. There were some that were at least 20 years old from the looks of it!

    December 12, 2012 at 8:56 am |
  29. nuketim

    Loved this story....

    December 12, 2012 at 7:37 am |
  30. mememememe27

    please step away from my spice rack....the bottles may be old but the spices are replenished with either stuff i grow or bulk from the store....looks can be deceiving but i like to reuse the bottles.

    December 12, 2012 at 7:24 am |
    • W247

      Me too!!! Don't touch my spices! You never know what is in them! I actually use small jelly jars, label the lids and put them in a drawer in my kitchen so that I can see what I have. I also grow my own herbs, dry them and grind them in an old fashion mortar. Love it!

      December 12, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
  31. Jugi

    My mom has that yellow rotating spice rack.

    December 12, 2012 at 7:00 am |
    • Rick

      Mine did, too

      December 12, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
    • LinSea

      lol, my mother had one too. She also seemed to think that spice rack were supposed to be solely decorative. I think besides salt, pepper, and cinnamon she would use sage at Thanksgiving and that was it.

      December 4, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
  32. Home Cookin'

    We COULD have this problem ...except for the fact that we have a Penzys spice store around here. We are constantly using up our favorite herbs/spices, and after you get used to a certain quality you really don't ever want to go back to that wretched other stuff.

    December 12, 2012 at 6:30 am |
  33. oldbutnotdead

    Well I dumped some oregano that had turned a lovely shade of pale, pale green and was completely odorless, but most of my spices get used fairly frequently and those I don't use frequently usually get the "sniff" test every couple months. Have to admit to the "round the world" spices though. I spent 12 years in and my husband retired from the Air Force after 23 years and I swear when we finally moved for the final time I dumped stuff that I had from our first house together! Really trying to do better!

    December 12, 2012 at 6:30 am |
  34. unowhoitsme

    Buy your spices from a company in Oregon called Mountain Rose Herbs. They are very inexpensive and very high quality. I'm a chef and appreciate the quality of their products sold at a very fair price.

    December 12, 2012 at 6:11 am |
    • Ann

      Another good source is Atlantic Spice Co. in Truro, MA. They sell in bulk, for VERY good prices. If there's something you use a lot of, it's great. I have a favorite recipe that calls for 1/3 cup of paprika, so that would cost a fortune if I used those little jars from the store!

      December 14, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
      • Van

        Thanks for the reference to the Atlantic Spice Company! The prices are amazing compared to what you find the the grocery store. They even sell plastic storage bottles in bulk if you are just starting your collection (like me).

        January 10, 2013 at 2:39 pm |
    • LinSea

      World Spice in Seattle is also excellent.

      December 4, 2013 at 2:26 pm |
  35. Why?

    am i just missing it? why can't i simply forward this to someone's email?

    December 12, 2012 at 5:54 am |
    • me

      file.....email link...

      December 12, 2012 at 6:11 am |
  36. Steve counter

    The freezer is where we all keep our spices, our understanding is this will keep them fresh longer.

    December 12, 2012 at 4:14 am |
    • W247

      Be careful with that, I am not sure if it will dry out the natural oils?

      December 12, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
  37. Jim

    I try to label the can/bottle when I purchased it (with a Sharpie, and a "P"), and when I opened it (with an "O"). That's not to say they don't get old anyway.... :S

    December 12, 2012 at 2:11 am |
  38. Cj

    My spices are so old that my salt and pepper shaker says 'Made in West Germany.'

    December 12, 2012 at 1:47 am |
    • alr

      How funny! My mother had an eyeliner that also said Made in West Germany. I finally convinced her to throw it away about 5 years ago!

      December 12, 2012 at 11:36 am |
  39. MashaSobaka

    "Yo mama's thyme is so old, they used it to season the Last Supper."

    That made me laugh a lot harder than I expected. Still chuckling.

    Fresh herbs are the way to go, but I can never use them all up before they go gross so I dry and store what I can't use. Luckily my grocery store has perhaps the most well-stocked bulk section on the West Coast and I'm able to buy the other stuff in more manageable portions.

    December 12, 2012 at 1:35 am |
    • Jamie

      I freeze small amounts of fresh herbs in either water, broth, or olive oil in ice cube trays. Pop the cubs out, and keep them in labeled baggies. Then, when you need some fresh herbs, just toss in a cube. Only a little flavor is lost in the freezing process.

      December 13, 2012 at 11:06 am |
  40. Chrissy

    Great article here-think some of mine may be in "antique mode" but am getting better.
    Wish they all had exp. dates...but not so with spices it seems....

    December 12, 2012 at 1:35 am |
  41. Cortanis

    Judgeing by the poll, I'd say this article isn't spot on and yet not far off. Glad that I keep a good stock of fresher spices though. I lack most of my sense of smell and their for have to compensate a bit with the spices.... this also leads to a rather heavy grocery bill when my spices are involved.

    December 12, 2012 at 1:33 am |
  42. Clave

    I find the "average grocery store" spice is already too old to use. I buy mine bulk from (grocery store chain) and get more for much less price and it's way fresher and usually tastes much better. Store it in the freezer and it's golden for YEARS.

    December 12, 2012 at 1:28 am |
  43. SB

    My mother has had the same wall-mounted spice rack for my entire like (I'm nearly 30). Seems she was doing something right, since it has a solid wooden door (interestingly, it's embellished with typographic art that tells which spices are good for chicken, which for pork, etc) and it's nowhere near the sink or stove but over the side counter. BUT I'm pretty sure some of those spices have been around at least a decade or two. You buy things like nutmeg that only get used during the holidays, but they come in such huge jars – that'll take 10 or more holiday seasons before it all gets used up! Next time I'm home I'm going to clean it out!

    December 12, 2012 at 1:21 am |
  44. Tim Grady

    Spices are kept in the freezer; even vanilla extract, which won't freeze because of the alcohol content, but they'll all last until 2075 or so.

    December 12, 2012 at 1:20 am |
  45. Chrissy

    Super article-Probably could get collectors to buy some of mine (containers may be antiques)
    But I am getting better at throwing out the "ancients"

    December 12, 2012 at 1:16 am |
  46. Susan

    Oh, I was thinking about this the other day, I have a Durkee tin of ground cayenne pepper that i have been working on since... I think since I moved out of the house when I was 19. (I'm 53 now) It has a price sticker of 43 cents on it. I also have a tin of Durkee's Pumpkin Pie Spice (that I don't know if I've ever used) that has a price stamped on it (remember the days of grocery stores stamping with inked price labelers?) The price was 53 cents. Still smells pretty good...!

    December 12, 2012 at 1:12 am |
  47. Harvey

    Have a bottle extract since the 60s. Seems to get better and better the older it gets

    December 12, 2012 at 1:12 am |
    • Harvey

      that is vanilla extract

      December 12, 2012 at 4:58 am |
  48. Susan

    In 2002 or so, my husband was organizing our spice shelves. He found some tarragon that was obviously old, and we tried to figure out when it was acquired. I finally remembered that a former boyfriend bought it in the early 1970s, and I had carted it around the world (including a 4 1/2 year stint in Germany) for all that time! My husband asked why I kept it for so long, and I replied, "Well, I never liked tarragon, so it didn't get used up!" We put the tarragon in the compost, recycled the glass jar, and hence evermore my husband has been in charge of the spice shelves.

    December 12, 2012 at 12:33 am |
    • Susan

      And besides being in charge of the spices, he's started a nice herb garden, so we almost always have basil, thyme, rosemary, mint, etc!

      December 12, 2012 at 12:41 am |
    • SusansExBoyfriend

      Susan,

      Can I get my tarragon back? Thanks.

      Mick Jagger

      December 12, 2012 at 6:33 am |
      • Susan

        hahahahaha!

        December 12, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
  49. Kelly

    I've done this for both my mother and mother-in-law in the past two years... working on the knife situation now!

    December 12, 2012 at 12:31 am |
    • Kat Kinsman

      You are on the side of the angels. If I didn't fly in, I swear, I'd bring my own.

      December 12, 2012 at 12:32 am |
    • Trevor Avichennya Zenaide

      For knives, the best in the world are from Thiers Issard by Gilles Reynewaeter. I have a very extensive set with "guillochage" which is their term (or the French term, je ne sais pas) for various, hand-ground decorations along the non-cutting edge. The most stunning are my set of dinner knives and two custom-ordered 14" bread knives made of steel next to micarta (white linen strips infused with resin), next to blue-stained (one) and green-stained (two), resin-infused wood assembled with brass rivets. The bread knife has serrations which are actually very, very, very sharp scallops that come to a razor-sharp point all along the cutting edge. (You'll draw blood if your finger has the slightest touch to the points.) But for cutting bread - from a basic bun to a baguette to brioche to ??? - there is no equal. Maybe ~$550 ca. 1995 is a lot for a bread knife, but no rival can touch it's ability to slice any bread as easily and as thin as a wafer if you so desire. And if you do splurge to buy them, make sure you buy knife guards to wrap around the steel - or bloody fingers will be a constant.

      December 12, 2012 at 1:35 am |
      • Johnny

        "best in the world"? Trev, you really need to get out more often...

        December 12, 2012 at 2:47 am |
      • Jasmine

        As a chef I always find people's knife fetishes amusing. Nobody needs a 550 dollar knife. Professional kitchens mostly use 3 kinds of knives: large, small and serrated. There are also specialty knives for specific foods or creating patterns etc. but they are rarely necessary, especially at home. Just make sure your knives are made of steel, and keep them sharp. A perfectly good sharpener can cost as little as 5 dollars, and excellent knives start at 15. Anything above 50 is a ridiculous fashion statement, nothing more.

        December 12, 2012 at 7:06 am |
        • Suebob

          I agree. The best quality of a knife is that it fits your hand. YOUR hand – not someone else's. I have a set of fairly cheap knives that I keep sharp, but they work for my little hands, and that is what matters most. I have had more expensive knives that I have abandoned because they make my hands ache.

          December 12, 2012 at 10:52 am |
        • Rick

          I see those expensive knives at the kitchen supply store and am always wondering how they are more valuable than the less expensive ones

          December 12, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
    • Jamie

      Ugh, I hear ya on mother-in-laws and knives. My family cooks stuff from scratch at every meal, so we always had decent knives to work with. My mother-in-law cooks less frequently and in smaller amounts, and for whatever reason she never bought or received a good chopping knife. Seriously, she chops vegetables with either an old paring knife, or an old steak knife. This means it's not slicing quickly and cleanly ("Chopchopchopchopchop...")...instead, I watch her push the knife down on the veggie until it finally breaks through and whacks the board, "...Whack!.....Whack!.....Whack!.....Whack!..." It takes forever and the sound of bad chopping is kind of irritating. So, I bought her a nice chopping knife made by Kuhn Rikon ($20 on Amazon) for Christmas. I decided against a chefs' knife, and instead bought a smallish santoku knife because the blunt tip and shorter blade is safer for an inexperienced cook. hopefully she likes it!

      December 13, 2012 at 11:43 am |
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