The truth can be told, I’m a knife nerd
The phone rings on a Thursday afternoon, right in the middle of a thought.
Pop goes that thought, never to be had again.
But, it’s Chefhusband and, while I am known for ignoring calls at all times of the day and night, for muttering hexes on Alexander Graham Bell and his dratted contraption, I am always glad to hear from Chefhusband, who works long hours.
Right away, I can tell he’s been bit by a bug of news.
In the ambient noise behind his voice, I can hear his entire kitchen staff has been infected, too.
“Guess what’s come to Kelowna?” he says, pausing to give me time.
(Tick tock. Tick tock.)
Now, while he’s waiting for me to guess, let me take you back to October of 2010.
It’s a beautiful autumn afternoon in Calgary and I’m with a friend, browsing the shops and food boutiques in the newly trendy area of Inglewood.
Back when I lived in Calgary, Inglewood was a shambletown, an area of the city known for drugs and, well, drugs.
Now, the smirch has been all but washed away and, in its place is a chocolate shop that imports its own cocoa beans.
There’s a thrummingly busy deli the size of a warehouse.
A bakery wafting the scent of sourdough at nose level.
And there’s Knifewear, a Japanese knife shop, from which I emerge with a new chef’s knife, a ceramic steel and a t-shirt that illustrates various cuts of horse.
(We are not horse eaters, but any anatomist will tell you we, and all animals, are made of roughly the same cuts. The grim irony made me snicker.)
The knife, made in Japan and bearing the river patterns of its forging, was for Chefhusband.
Since giving it, I’ve not seen it more than twice.
Very little, it seems, is worthy of its edge and, since I am not Samurai (AKA a certified chef), I am not permitted to use it.
Now, back to last Thursday, where we’ll skip straight to the answer.
“Knifewear opened a shop on Pandosy!” exclaims Chefhusband.
We are there before the weekend ends.
At first, I pop into a shop next door to see about a chair for the desk I use when hiding upstairs from the phone.
With one in mind, I then wander two doors down and find just about every chef in the valley getting teary at what they behold.
Every chef, including mine.
Up and down the display cases, they pick up blades with the sort of reverence not seen since Indiana Jones lifted the Holy Grail.
They are philatelists at a stamp convention.
Lepidopterists in a butterfly museum.
Nerds in a comic book store.
“Knife nerds,” I say to myself, smiling at their goofy expressions.
On a butcher block in the centre of the display cases is a potato and a soft tomato and, when no one else is busy, I’m given a knife (girly, but fierce) to try.
It is a thing of glory.
“Knives should be sexy,” I’m told as I grasp the handle, which settles into my hand with perfect balance and slices through the tomato with the force of nothing but its own weight.
I lift the knife and look into its surface — and then I see it.
Through the smear of tomato juice, through the flowers embossed in the steel I see a goofy grin.
I see the same look as on the faces of the chefs around me.
I see a knife nerd.
And she is me.
6 ripe Roma tomatoes, diced
1/2 small shallot, finely diced
Leaves from 2 stalks of basil, thinly sliced
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus ex
1 1/2 tbsps. white wine vinegar
Flaked kosher salt/freshly ground pepper
Baguette or other artisan bread, sliced
1 clove garlic
Chevre (fresh goat cheese)
In a large bowl, toss together tomatoes, shallot and basil together with dressing ingredients. Season to taste.
Brush top sides of bread with olive oil. Place on a grill (or in toaster oven) and toast on both sides. Slice garlic clove in half and rub on oiled sides of bread. Spread with goat cheese and top with bruschetta mixture.
Darcie Hossack is a food writer and author of Mennonites Don’t Dance. For past recipes, go online to nicefatgurdie.wordpress.com. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.