Using the Wrong Knife
Why it’s bad: You’ll damage your food. If you’ve ever tried to slice a baguette with a chef’s knife and flattened it as a result, you understand. What’s more, when you select the proper knife for the job, you have better control over the blade. This allows you to slice and dice more neatly and efficiently—and helps you keep your digits intact.
Do this instead: Opt for a chef’s knife (the big one with the long, wide blade) for most chopping, slicing, dicing, and mincing jobs. It gives you the best leverage, which is particularly helpful when you’re dealing with firm ingredients (like onions and squash) or cutting things into small pieces (like garlic and fresh herbs). A small, slim paring knife is best for tasks such as peeling and removing pits, seeds, stems, and potato eyes. Pick up a serrated knife (with the sharp teeth) for bread and bagels; delicate pastries, like meringues and cream puffs (the blade won’t compact the layers); and smooth-skinned fruits and vegetables, like tomatoes and plums.