The Danger of Dull Knives & How to Sharpen Them
You’ve likely seen the mantra that “sharp knives are safer than dull ones” being thrown around. Doesn’t that seem a bit counterintuitive? So why is that the case? Wouldn’t a sharp set of knives be able to inflict more harm than a dull blade, which can barely cut through the food you’re trying to cut?
Well, yes and no. A sharp blade is certainly capable of inflicting more damage on an object, slicing through with more ease. But that’s not where the danger comes from.
Why Dull Knives Suck
When you start pressing a knife blade down into an object (hopefully a piece of food, such as fruits or veggies), it will either cut into the object if sharp, or if dull, it won’t. You’ll need to use a lot more pressure and force to get it into the food, but if very dull, it might just slip and slide around. You’ll be more likely to lose control and when that happens – bad things happen.
If your knife is nice and sharp, however, it will easily slice right through the food, allowing you to maintain control of the blade and make exacting cuts – on the food, and not your fingers.
How To Keep Your Knife Sharp
It’s true that you don’t exactly keep your knife sharp; you have to sharpen it regularly to keep it in tip-top cutting and slicing shape. Which, thankfully, is easy – and doesn’t necessarily require a sharpening knife.
Using a Manual Knife Sharpener
Get yourself a manual knife sharpener (you can grab one on Amazon for like $5), place it on the edge of your counter, and simply slide the knife blade through the V-shaped sharpening slot. The abrasive ceramic or carbide rods will quickly sharpen and hone the knife edge. And when it costs like $5, there’s really no excuse not to buy one of these eventually. Cookware Junkies recommends Cooks Standard Professional Ceramic Rod Knife which runs about $10 on Amazon.
Using A Sharpening Steel
A sharpening steel – the long, thin steel rods most people have at home for sharpening – doesn’t exactly sharpen the blade, but simply hones the edge of a dull blade, re-aligning it and allowing you to go longer between sharpening sessions.
Using one is simple: hold the steel sturdily planted, with the edge on the countertop. Place the heel of the blade against the steel at a 15-degree angle, and then slowly slide it down the length of the sharpening steel. As you do, slide the knife back and forth, so the entire length of the blade makes contact with the steel. Do this four or five times for each side of the blade, and your knife will be ready to go until the next sharpening session.
Using A Ceramic Mug
If you’re in a pinch, you can sharpen a small knife at home using nothing other than a ceramic coffee mug. Simply flip it upside down, hold the knife at a 15-degree angle, and (slowly and carefully) draw the knife across the rough, unglazed edge of the mug. Do this several times, on both edges, and you’ll be able to extend the sharp life of your small kitchen knives.
Everything you need to know about doneness levels of meat when grilling
Not only does cooking meat at the correct temperature ensure the cut is perfectly done every time, it will also ensure your meat is cooked safely. Meat needs to be cooked properly to kill the bacteria which it naturally carries on the outside. One of the most challenging aspects of grilling is maintaining the perfect internal grill heat temperatures when grilling with wood or charcoal. Most grills come with a stock temperature gauge that aren’t worth the space they take up on your grill. We recommend purchasing a trusted internal temperature thermometer for accurate readings of the internal temp of your grill throughout the cooking process.
Depending on your taste preference and the type of meat, a variety of cooking temperatures will be necessary.
Best practices for grilling meat:
There are four main points to remember when handling, preparing and cooking meat: clean, separate, cook, and chill.
Clean: When going to handle raw meat, first wash your hands. Clean all surfaces which you will be using to prepare your meat. Afterwards, clean your hands and surfaces again before preparing any other food.
Separate: Don’t cross contaminate. Use different knives, plates, and chopping boards for your raw meats. Keep them away from your cooked foods at all times.
Cook: Cook at the correct temperature to safely cook your food as per our guide below.
Chill: Seal and store your leftovers in a refrigerator within two hours.
Which meats need to be cooked all the way through?
Certain meats must be cooked all the way through for safety. These include poultry, pork, sausages, liver, kidney and other types of offal, and some fish.
Foods such as burgers, rolled joints of meat, and meat that has been skewered or minced also needs to be thoroughly cooked, as the bacteria, which usually lives on the outside of the meat, has been moved through it in the preparation.
To check if meat is cooked all the way through, pierce the thickest part of the joint or cut of meat. If the meat is properly cooked, the juices should run completely clear. It should be noted, that meat, including chicken, can be undercooked even if the juices are running clear. It is a must to use a thermometer to test doneness. It is worth it to invest in a good thermometer as they are more likely to be accurate and can obtain accurate reads quickly.
Which meats can be eaten rare?
Beef steaks, lamb chops, and whole joints of either can be eaten rare when cooked at a high temperature. The high temperature seals the meat and kills the bacteria. When the outside of the meat has changed color the meat has been properly sealed.
Degrees of doneness:
Doneness is the scale used to describe how thoroughly a cut of meat is to be cooked according to your taste preference. The scale ranges in graduations from extra-rare (also known as ‘blue’), which is not recommended for safety reasons, through to well-done. Below is an overview of the perfect internal temperatures when estimating the ideal degree of doneness for cuts of meat such as beef and lamb.
Perfect grilling temperatures chart:
Certain factors should also be considered when using the below chart as a guide, such as the size, shape, cut, and thickness of the meat, as well as the size of the oven dish or type of grill bring used.
It is also very important to note that meat continues cooking after being removed from the heat. Therefore, to achieve your desired degree of doneness, remove your meat from the heat in advance of the desired internal temperature being reached.
Type of meat
Minimum cooking temperature
|Rare||120°F – 125°F (48.9°C to 51.6°C)|
|Medium-rare||130°F – 135°F (54.4°C to 57.2°C)|
|Medium||140°F – 145°F (60°C to 62.8°C)|
|Medium-well||150°F – 155°F (65.5°C to 68.3°C)|
|Well done||150°F – 155°F (65.5°C to 68.3°C)|
|Rib eye, sirloin, rump, fillet, standing rib roast, rolled rib beef roast||400°F (200°C)|
|Silverside, blade, round, topside, eye round, oyster blade||320°F (160°C)|
|Rare||135°F (57.2 °C)|
|Medium-rare||140°F – 150°F (60°C to 65.5°C)|
|Well done||165°F (75°C) and above|
|Eye of loin/backstrap, lamb round and rump, topside roasts, mini-roast||425°F (220°C)|
|Rack of lamb, four rib roast, crown roast||400°F (200°C)|
|Loin (boned and rolled), leg or shoulder of lamb||350°F (180°C)|
|Chicken||165°F – 175°F (74°C to 80°C)|
|Turkey||165°F – 175°F (74°C to 80°C)|
|Fresh pork/pork chops||145°F (63°C)|
|Fresh ham (from raw)||145°F (63°C)|
|Ham, Fully Cooked (to reheat)*||140°F (60°C)|
|Lobster, shrimp, crabs||145°F (63°C)|
|Clams, oysters, mussels||145°F (63°C) or until shell cracks open|
*Leftovers should be placed in shallow containers to cool quickly. They should be refrigerated at 40°F (4.4°C) after no more than 2 hours. Reheat foods until they are steaming hot or have a minimum internal temperature of 165°F (74°C). Left over meats can be eaten cold if they have been properly cooled and stored.
Laminate Flooring is a Cost Effective Alternative to True Hardwood
For those seeking the look of a hardwood floor on a limited budget, laminate flooring can provide an ideal solution. Made from layers of compressed wood, the surface has the appearance of real wooden flooring by applying a photographic layer under a clear surface “wear layer”. Laminate flooring is relatively inexpensive when compared to real wood alternatives.
So what is Pergo Anyway?
Laminate flooring was invented by Swedish company Perstorp in 1977 and sold under the name Pergo. The revolutionary Pergo flooring was created with ease-of-installation specifically in mind. The flooring is comprised of ‘tongue and grooved’ planks, which interlock easily, making it reasonably straightforward for any home DIY enthusiast to install.
When Pergo laminate flooring was launched in Europe in the 1980’s, homeowners loved it. It quickly gained in popularity and by the mid-90’s, Pergo was widely available in most DIY stores across the United States. The prized design was soon picked up by competitors, and today the laminate flooring industry is vast. However, Pergo has maintained its high quality and continues to be regarded as one of the best laminate flooring brands available.
Pergo is literally the origin of laminate flooring, developing and expanding their product lines for decades. Therefore, it is unsurprising that their collections of wood and stone-look laminate flooring are vast and inspired. From classic wood styles such as oak, to exotic options like acacia and bamboo, Pergo have ensured that there is a design for every possible taste. Over the years they have continued to expand their range and add contemporary styles, like distressed wood and paint-like stencil features.
Pergo flooring is generally designed to be easy for DIY homeowners to install. As with most laminate flooring today, Pergo planks have a ‘tongue and groove’ feature so they lock together quickly and easily.
Some Pergo styles are considered more difficult to install, such as Pergo’s American Era collection from their hardwood range. This project is not for the DIY novice. Seek out a flooring pro like Gonzalez & Sons who specializes in hardwood and wood-like flooring alike. However, due to its ease of installation, if a professional is needed, it won’t take them very long to complete, keeping your overall costs down.
How to Install Pergo Flooring by Pergo
As with all laminate flooring, Pergo is easy to maintain. The surface of the laminate can easily wipe or wash clean, and can be vacuumed for years without dulling its sheen.
The drawback to laminate flooring is that, due to its compressed wooden interior, the planks can swell if liquid is allowed to seep between them. Therefore, if you want to keep your laminate flooring in good condition, it’s important to thoroughly clean up any spillages.
Pergo is extremely durable and is far harder to scratch than competing brands. Laminate flooring gets an “AC” rating for quality. Pergo products have an “AC-4” rating (with “AC-5” being the best), meaning that their products are rated to withstand regular foot traffic throughout a household without showing any wear. This rating makes Pergo one of the best quality choices for domestic use.
When Pergo flooring is purchased, they come with one of best warranties options available, from 25 years to a limited-lifetime guarantee. But take note that their warranties are non-transferrable. So if you sell your home, the warranty ends.