Dear Home Ec 101,
I have heard dull knives are more dangerous than sharp knives. I can’t wrap my brain around this idea. Doesn’t a sharp knife do more damage?
Perpetua the Perplexed
With knives it’s all about control.
Think about cutting a firm, slippery object such as an apple. When the smooth edge of a knife is applied to the slick surface of the apple one of two things will happen: either the blade of the knife will skid along the surface of the fruit or it will cut into the flesh. A dull knife is more likely to slip rather than cut. Once the knife has slipped it is a matter of luck and reflexes where the business end goes.
When cutting items a sharp knife requires much less pressure to cut into an item. When combines with a reduced tendency to slip, this gives a cook greater control over the blade.
So yes, a sharp knife applied directly to your skin will cause more damage than a dull one; however as cooks rather than cannibals, fingers are not a primary target. Keep your knives sharp, practice safe cutting techniques, and your chances of injury in the kitchen will drop significantly.
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