I love to cook with my kids. I was in the kitchen with one of my older girls the other day, and she asked if she could cut an onion for a soup I was making. Her technique scared me a bit, and I realized I needed to teach her how to properly use a kitchen knife. I used to work as a sous chef for a while after college. How well I learned to cook is debatable, but I did become pretty proficient at using a knife. Here are a few tips:
- Use a good, sturdy cutting board. Keep it from slipping by using a board with non-slip feet, or put a wet towel or non-slip mat underneath.
- Never cut food that you’re holding in your hand – place it and cut it on the cutting board..
- Keep knives sharp – dull knives are more likely to slip and accidentally cause an injury
- Secure the food with your opposite hand, and tuck your fingers to form a “claw” – your fingers should be straight up and down and can be used to guide the knife. Here’s a picture of the technique.
- Use a cutting board with plenty of space, and try to keep the tip of the knife in contact with the board as you chop.
- Keep knives away from the edge of a counter top, and if a knife falls DO NOT try to catch it.
- A good tool for kids to use at first is a double handled half moon knife (Mezzaluna). This can only be used for chopping, but its design keeps stray fingers out of the way of the blade.
- Always have adult supervision until you’re completely comfortable that a child can use a knife safely.
Here’s a good video that does a good job showing these techniques. Stay safe and have fun cooking with your kids.