Eve Felder, associate dean of culinary arts at the Culinary Institute of America, in Hyde Park, New York, recommends introducing your new knives to a steel (a round metal rod, shown at left, that's sold at housewares stores for about $25 to $45), and making sure the two stay acquainted. "Every time you make a cut, the blade splays microscopically," she says. After a dinner's worth of chopping and slicing, run both sides of the blade along a steel at the same angle as the blade's bevel. This will hone it, or pull it back in. Felder warns against using electric knife sharpeners, since they don't adhere to each knife's unique angle and blade shape.