Renewed Knives

Dittmer’s, the local sausage-maker par excellence, hosts a knife-sharpening service every second Saturday of the month. I’d been meaning to bring our knives in since June, but one thing or another kept me from getting there on a second Saturday until now. We have a sharpening steel, and a Chinese sharpening stone at home (which I’ve forgotten how to use!). But with seven knives, it just seemed easier to bundle them up and pay for the professional service ($7 per large knife, $4 per small one). Some of them haven’t been sharpened since we got them six years ago!

There were two geezerly gents on the patio, when I dropped the knives off at 10:30 AM, (after a hike up and down Mission Peak with Marcella). One was already at work, flinty sparks shooting from his sharpening wheel like microfireworks. His sidekick noted my name, phone number and number of knives, and told me they’d be done by 12:30. “Do I need a receipt to pick them up?”

Starved after the hike, I went into Dittmer’s to get a Polish sausage sandwich (it was too early for garlic sausage.) They happened to have made-in-Germany Lindt chocolate bars on sale by the cashier. Fish in a barrel had better odds. There was a milk chocolate wafer bar, a version which I’d never seen at any other American retailer.

I went off to do other errands, including running around town trying to figure out how to wire money to Mexico (long story), and then rushed off to the Berkeley for the UCLA game (of course we won, except I did have some doubts when we let them score 2 TDs within 2 minutes during the 2nd quarter! ).

It wasn’t until 9 PM, when we were driving home after a post-game Korean dinner that I realized I’d forgotten to pick up the knives. Dittmer’s was closed on Sundays. And I had no idea how to contact the sharpeners, or where they were from. And the only knife I had left in the entire house was my Swiss Army Knife. What if those guys didn’t show up until November?!

“Well,“ rationalized Joe, “I’ve always wanted a set of Wusthofs instead.” I scowled. Fortunately, the blinking red light on the answering machine bore good tidings. Mark the Knifer Sharpening guy had called me back, saying the knives were done. And then he called me up again the next morning and offered to drop them off at no additional charge. What awesome service! (Good service is quite something in this day and age.)

I used the paring knife to on some tomatoes for chow tomato-egg, and it sliced through the tomato skin like tofu. I used the cleaver to mince chicken breast for gai-krapow (chicken with basil) and it took less time than it had in the past. It’s been so long since we’ve had really sharp knives, it’s a such treat to work with them. (In Thailand, the chicken in gai krapow is minced, perhaps because that way, the basil can permeate throughout more of the meat. It took me a while to get used to the way it’s served in stateside Thai restaurants, just slices of chicken, like any other stir fry.)

So I highly recommend Mark’s knife sharpening service at Dittmer’s in Mountain View.


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