Sharpening cooking knives

So how do you know when your knife is dull?  I can hear you now, " Duh,  you can't cut your food as easy."  Well, yes that's right, but I also learned that you can stare down the blade and if you see any glistening specks vs. one smooth, almost invisible line it's time to sharpen.  I learned that trick of the trade in a knife skills class taken at the Kitchen Conservatory (http://www.kitchenconservatory.com)  over a year ago.  The class was taught by a Wusthof representative.  We practiced honing our knives with a sharpening steel and sharpening knives with a ceramic sharpener.  To be honest, I was a little scared at first using the sharpening steel, and it was difficult to maintain the 20 degree knife angle.  The ceramic sharpener is a no brainer and what I use at home.   You simply pull the knife through the course wheel 3-6 times and then the through the fine wheel 3-6 times.    The representative suggested that you check the sharpness of the knife prior to each use.  If you use a knife very often, like the paring or chef, you might have to sharpen once every 1-2 weeks.  Other knives, like the deboning knife might be done just before Thanksgiving dinner.  You should not use these techniques with serrated knives, those need professional sharpening.  He also suggested that you should have all your knives professionally sharpened every 3 years.  Considering that these knives are investment pieces in your kitchen I would heed that suggestion. 

 I would definitely recommend taking this class, especially if you want to be a master at turkey carving! Oh, remember to bring your onion protection glasses, our whole class was crying by the end of the night.  Thank goodness no one needed a bandage!

A great resource for reviewing or learning honing and sharpening techniques is   http://wusthof.com.  Click the information-center tab.  Happy Cooking!