Make the Cut
Santoku knives became an overnight sensation in the United States in the early 2000s, when Rachael Ray declared on TV that she loved her Wüsthof model. Sales shot up, and several knife manufacturers, both Asian and Western, scrambled to create their own versions or promote their models to Americans. The appeal was the friendly shape of the blade: 5 to 7 inches long, with a rounded front edge and a boxier build than the typical chef’s knife, which usually stretches between 8 and 10 inches long and has a sleeker profile and a sword-like point. The style was developed for postwar Japanese home cooks as a more versatile alternative to vegetable cleavers—santoku reportedly means “three virtues,” which are described variously as “meat, fish, and vegetables,” or “chopping, slicing, and dicing”—and quickly became the country’s most popular kitchen knife.
Magnetic Knife Strips
Magnetic knife strips hold knives of all shapes and sizes without taking up valuable drawer or counter space. Since we last tested knife strips, our favorite, the Messermeister Bamboo Knife Magnet, introduced a new mounting system and changed the shape and size of its magnets. We wanted to know whether the revamped strip met our standards—and whether it stood up to new competition. So we bought seven knife strips of different materials, priced from $15.30 to $154.95, including our redesigned winner; mounted them on a wall; and used them to hold six-piece à la carte knife sets.