All posts by Liz Childers

How to Channel Your Inner Ninja

A ninja is the ultimate fighter. He is stealthier than a tiger hunting his prey. He can camouflage as though he is invisible. Most importantly, he can finish off his enemy with one fell swoop from his blade of choice.

If you’re reading this,  it’s unlikely you’re much of a ninja, but more likely you’re a big-time knife fan sitting on the couch.  No worries.  Here are a few ways you can channel your inner ninja.

Throwing Star
When the Samurai sword fails, a ninja has his handy throwing stars to rely upon.  Ninjas don’t use these as primary weapons. They are meant to distract the enemy, while a more dangerous weapon is used for fighting. These little guys aren’t just shaped like stars, and they are always concealed. So be careful – you may not know when you’ve encountered a throwing star until a sword is coming close behind!

Of course, you can use throwing  stars for recreation,  as tossing them into targets makes a great hobby.

Throwing Knife

Throwing knives are the less common version of a throwing star. Even though they have just two blades, instead of four, throwing knives are a badass way to get into top-flight ninja shape.  Buy a set of throwing stars and blow away onlookers at your next BBQ

Sword
The sword is the most important weapon a ninja can carry. The typical ninja sword used in movies and depicted in books is short and heavy – more of a blade than a sword. It is perfect for ninja combat. Historically, there is actually no proof that this standard ninja sword existed.  However, experts agree that it would look like this because ninjas would have carried an easier-to-wield version of the standard samurai sword and this modern image fits that need.

Continue reading

Man Walks Into Diner and Orders Coffee…with a 5-inch Knife in Chest

Sometimes we like to take a walk back in time, traveling down the historical path of men who have simply proven themselves to be more badass than we are. Or could ever hope to be.

Today, we may have hit a dead end. We will never find someone more badass than this.

The story sounds like the beginning of a corny joke. “A man walks into a diner..”

But let’s finish the sentence.

“A man walks into a diner with a 5 inch knife in his chest. He orders a coffee and complains about the cold weather.”

On December 23, 2009, a 911 operator in Warren, Michigan received a phone call from an unidentified 52-year old man. He told the operator, “I’m gonna sit down at Bray’s ’cause they got a chair and it’s cold out here.”

A diner employee reported that the man was calm as he ordered his coffee.

The man had apparently been stabbed in an attempted robbery half a mile away. He, then, walked the distance to a pay phone that was located in the diner’s parking lot. Ambulances arrived at the diner and took him to the hospital, where he recovered.

Sure, we can understand that it was probably pretty chilly in Michigan in late December, and we definitely get the need to warm up in a diner with a hot cup of coffee. But really, shouldn’t you get that knife taken care of first? Guess we’re just not as badass as this guy…

 

Repurposing Knives and Guns for a Sustainable Cause

Of the many concerns for Olympic host cities, safety is one of the top priorities. For London, a city in full preparation for the upcoming Summer Games, this has been an even hotter topic than in past Olympics. London is still dealing with the global focus of their violent summer riots, in addition to rumors of terrorist attacks.

With that in mind, it is interesting that there will be an estimated 14 tons of guns, knives, and ammunition in the Olympic Stadium. That’s right: 14 tons. You will not be able to carry them in, nor will they be any help in protection. Rather, you might be sitting on them or using them to help yourself up the stairs. Continue reading

Always Use Knife Safety When Carving a Pumpkin

There are few things more symbolic of fall than bright orange pumpkins sitting on doorsteps and the toothy grins they begin to wear around Halloween. Carving those jack-o-lanterns is a fun part of Halloween and an activity greatly enjoyed by the kids.

Without knife safety, pumpkin carving can turn into a nightmare. Research shows that Halloween is a top holiday for ER visits – and it’s all due to hand and finger injuries.

The outside of the pumpkin is uneven, hard and slippery. This is a horrible combination for making smooth, safe cuts. Additionally, when you start pulling the pulp out of the pumpkin, your hands, the knife and the outside of the pumpkin can become slimy.

When said like this, it almost seems safer to avoid pumpkin carving altogether. But, of course, there’s a safe way to go about it. The first step is to use the right knives.

A serrated knife works best for cutting through the hard pumpkin skin and soft flesh. Many injuries come when the knife unexpectedly breaks through the skin and slices your hand on the opposite side. For this reason, choose a small blade, like a serrated steak knife. Also, avoid holding your other hand directly opposite of where the blade could come through.

Like in any other situation involving knives, you want to have complete control of the blade. When you’re carving, this means you need to keep the pumpkin clean and dry. Scoop seeds and pulp into a bag to keep it away from the pumpkin. When you finish removing the pulp, wash and dry your hands and the knife; slimy hands or a wet knife handle can lead to an accidental slip of the blade.

Most Halloween hand injuries occur in children between the ages of 10 to 14. For this reason, doctors recommend that children don’t do the actual carving. While this may be disappointing to the kids, you can still keep them involved in the activity. Let your child pick out the pumpkin, draw the entire design and help clean out the inside of the pumpkin. They’ll get to participate in everything except the actual handling of the knife, and you’ll have the reassurance that only a responsible, knowledgeable adult has the blade.

The Evolution of the Iconic, Badass Rambo Knife

This post is part of of our Rambo look-alike promotion.  Learn how you can win a limited-edition Rambo signature survival knife, here.

While Sylvester Stallone has access to a seemingly endless supply of high-power gunnery in the Rambo series, it is his knives that have become icons. Each of the four movies has its own blade, which Rambo keeps for the entirety of the film. But at the blades don’t make the jump from one movie to the next. The Rambo knife undergoes a dramatic evolution throughout the series, growing from a relatively small survival knife to a machete.

First Blood

In First Blood, we meet John Rambo, a mentally unstable Vietnam vet trying to pass through Sheriff Will Teasle’s small town. With his stone-cold demeanor and no-nonsense blank stares, it probably should’ve been easy for viewers to deduce that a bizarre arrest for vagrancy would end with Rambo waging a one-man war on a Teasle and his town. With the best survival skills in the country and a badass blade as a sidekick, Rambo single-handedly beats the cops and the National Guard, until Colonel Sam Trautman, the man who trained him, convinces him to turn himself in.

Jimmy Lile designed the knife that showed the world what a badass knife was meant to be. Lile wanted it to contain everything a person would need to survive in the wilderness, and so he came up with what is truly a survival knife. The 9” long steel blade was sharp enough to cleanly cut through paper, so it obviously had no problem dealing with anything else Rambo needed to see sliced. In case he needed to chop down a tree rather than threaten Sheriff Teasle’s life, the knife’s spine had 14 saw teeth. The cross guard featured both a Philips and slotted screwdriver. In the rare situation that Rambo got hurt, all he needed to do was open the airtight handle and get out his first aid kit. The pommel also featured a compass so Rambo could navigate through the wilderness around Teasle’s town.

First Blood Part II

In First Blood Part II, Rambo has been sentenced to a labor prison camp because of the events of the first movie. Colonel Trautman visits him in camp and offers him release and full clemency. The catch? Rambo must return to Vietnam and search for American POWs. He is told to only take pictures of the POWs, but, of course, Rambo tries to rescue them. Marshal Murdock, the corrupt bureaucrat in charge of the mission, abandons him in Vietnam, and the North Vietnamese capture Rambo. Rambo escapes and then returns to rescue all the remaining POWs. Once he succeeds, Rambo leads them towards the American camp in Thailand, where he threatens Murdock with his knife and tells him to rescue other POWs from Vietnam.

The First Blood Part II knife was nearly identical to the original Rambo knife. The difference, of course, was the size. To raise Rambo’s badass aura, the knife grew to 15” in overall length, with the blade measuring in at 10”.

Rambo III

In Rambo III we learn that Rambo stayed in Thailand after his last mission and became a Buddhist. Colonel Trautman asks Rambo to join him on a mission to deliver weapons to the Mujahedeen rebels of Aghanistan who are battling the Soviets in the Soviet-Afghan War. Dedicated to his new peaceful faith, Rambo refuses to help. Trautman goes without his trainee and is captured and imprisoned by Soviets. Not one to see his friends in danger, Rambo sets out to save the Colonel. He does, of course, save Trautman and other prisoners. Together with the rebels, the American duo defeats the Soviets and kills the evil Soviet commander.

Continue reading

The Bizarre Design of Ergo Chef Knives

This morning, Dana Cowin, the editor-in-chief of Food and Wine magazine, tweeted about the Ergo Chef’s bread knife: “4 any1 w/wrist injuries, #fwtestkitchen ‘s Marcia swears by Ergo Chef bread knife. Gr8 w8 + balance.” For you non-tweeters out there, this means that Marcia, who is apparently a cook in in F&W’s test kitchen, reports that the Ergo Chef bread knife has great balance and is a comfortable weight, making it good for anyone who has had wrist injuries.

If you’re like me, your immediate question is…why? I did a bit of research this morning to figure that out. The Ergo Chef knives have bizarre looking designs. The knives actually look like they were put together improperly or damaged before being put on the market (check out the curve of that handle!). However, the angle is designed to ease any discomfort you may get in the wrist while chopping; it also allows for greater precision and faster cutting. Plus, each blade is forged from a single piece of high-carbon German stainless steel, meaning these knives can cut longer without needing to be sharpened.

Has anyone tried these knives? Could you tell a difference between the Ergo Chef knives and regular kitchen knives?

Developing Kitchen Knife Skills: How to Cut a Chili Pepper

No longer are chili peppers limited to spicy Mexican and Tex-Mex dishes. The small, green peppers can be found in everything from steak marinades to mashed potatoes. If you don’t know how to handle them, you are keeping yourself from trying great new recipes. Plus, you miss out on an easy way to add some pizazz to basic dishes of your own.

If you have avoided hot peppers in the past, however, we understand. Knowing how much spice the peppers have can be intimidating if you don’t know how to cut them properly. To help you avoid burning your skin or mouth and to introduce you to the world of cutting chilies, we got back with Kathy Maister, who helped us out on the How to Slice an Onion post. Ms. Maister’s site StartCooking.com is a great resource for busy people who are just learning to cook.

Grab your paring knife

Remember when we told you that Ms. Maister had three knives she couldn’t live without? Those were her paring knife, serrated knife, and chef’s knife (she commented on the onion article emphasizing that these must be “sharp!”). If you were wondering why the tiny paring knife is a necessity for the kitchen, here is your answer. Cutting any small pepper is the perfect use for a paring knife. The short, pointed blade makes it easy to deftly cut and seed a pepper.

Be careful!

Peppers get their spiciness from oils that are primarily in the seeds and ribs. When you cut into a pepper, you run the risk of getting these oils on your hands. Because of this, many people wear kitchen gloves while handling peppers. Gloves are not necessary, but, if you choose not to wear them, be mindful of your hands. Try to avoid contact with the ribs or seeds and clean up well when you finish cutting.

Cut the pepper in half

Cut the pepper in half with your paring knife. You can now see the whitish colored ribs inside the pepper.

Seed the pepper

By taking out the seeds and ribs, you are removing most of the pepper’s heat. There are two ways to go about seeding. When using a paring knife, hold the stem of a pepper half and slide the knife underneath the rib. Moving away from the stem end, slide the knife down the sides, popping out the rib and seeds. If any seeds are left behind, scrape them out with the blade’s backside. Ms. Maister says you could also seed the pepper with a spoon or melon baller – just scoop out the insides!

Slice the pepper lengthwise

Once you’ve seeded the pepper, you can chop it. Cut strips going lengthwise on the pepper half. Space the strips according to the size you want. If you are chopping, make larger spaces, but if you are mincing, the slices should be closer together.

Slice the pepper across

Now, slice the pepper in the opposite direction. Space your slices just as you did in the last step. Repeat with the other side. You should now be left with a chopped, diced or minced pepper that is ready to be tossed into your dish!

Clean up

The pepper’s oils can linger on your skin and underneath your fingernails for many hours. If you didn’t wear gloves, make sure you wash your hands with water AND soap after you finish handling the pepper. Even after a good scrubbing, Ms. Maister says you should avoid touching your mouth, nose or eyes just to be safe. The oils would hurt badly if they started to burn you here!

Know your peppers

Since so many hot peppers can be easily confused, it’s good to know what different ones look like and how spicy they are. Ms. Maister has a great list of peppers with their pictures and heat index on her site.