When it comes to cooking, I can be really terrible about keeping some of my kitchen tools and appliances in tip-top shape, including my set of knives. I know I should probably work on them every couple of weeks after daily use, but I often don’t get around to it, and I don’t own an actual knife sharpener, either. Luckily, there’s a quick hack to sharpen knives in no time, and all it requires is an old ceramic mug.
An interesting fact: It turns out that dull knives are often more dangerous to use than sharper knives, because we tend to apply more pressure when using them and have less control over what the knife does if the blade isn’t properly maintained. That means there’s more room for error — and for accidents. In other words, if you weren’t trying to sharpen your knives regularly before, now’s the time to start.
This tip comes from chef J. Kenji López-Alt, and I was stunned at how easy it is. All you have to do is take your ceramic coffee mug and turn it over. Most older mugs will have a rough edge on the bottom where there’s no paint, so be sure to use that portion for this trick. Take your mug and run the knife blade across it quickly for roughly 15 to 20 seconds. Just be careful to watch those fingers, and that’s it!
Being the queen of tea drinking that I am, I have way too many mugs in the back of many cabinets, and I was more than happy to put one of my older ones to good use.
I followed López-Alt’s instructions to a T, and sure enough, my knives were immediately sharper than they were before. And now I have an excuse to keep hoarding all of these mugs — if anyone asks, they’re my own personal knife sharpeners.
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