We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
When I left home to go to college, my mother's parting gifts to me were a #8 black iron skillet & a coffee pot that had a strainer & a tank into which you poured the boiling water. These 2 implements got me through college, the start of my career, & the 1st few years of marriage, until we could afford a more varied set of kitchen tools. I still have both.
I don't recall what happened to my Chicago butcher knife. It was carbon steel and took a really good edge. Sadly the edge was so brittle that little chunks would fall out of it. Anyway, Chicago knives are made in China these days. My knife of choice now is a Sabatier Kitchen Knife.
I collect Old Hickory knives and I love them. I use to be able to find them for pennies at yard sales and antique stores. Today all you find is cheap SS crud knives. I can make my meat cleaver slice tomatoes that you can read through.
If your friend hasn't found it. Tell them about Glen And Friends Cooking Youtube channel. Very good. He does a recipe from an early 20th century cookbook on Sunday, but also does history such as shifting from heat level cooking (low oven, hot oven, etc.) to thermostat controlled temperature cooking
Mark Twain said the key to a good restaurant is sharp knives. FFor those of us who like the multisensory experience of cooking, this comes truer all the time.
Assistant Village Idiot
Carbon steel knives are OK, they take an edge quicker, but also lose it quicker. If you value your cutlery, get a Ken Onion Worksharp. It utilizes a narrow sanding belt approach and precise angles to get your knives sharp precisely and quickly. You can get very fine grit belts and even get a leather strop, if you want them super razor sharp - but those edges are too fine to last, impractical and dangerous for cooking knives.
Cast iron - now that's the key to all stovetop cooking, if you ask me (that, and gas). Just made a big pot of Carne Guisada for the cold week ahead and the heavy skillet figured prominently in its preparation.
A few more thoughts. If buying a French carbon steel knife, keep in mind that the word "Sabatier" never was trademarked. Many "Sabatier" knives currently sold are junk made in China. The only remaining true French carbon steel (that is, not stainless steel) knife maker is Sabatier K. You may order a knife from them directly at: https://www.sabatier-k.com/. Their knives are at least as good as old ones.
I prefer to find old French knives on Ebay, looking for examples that have not been ruined by over-sharpening. That LL Bean knife was made around 40 years ago by Dexter in the USA and is a wonderful instrument: It fits beautifully in the hand, does not flex, has a bit wider blade than French knives and takes a very fine edge. Watch out: A careless cook can cut the tip off a finger in a snap!
Thanks, knife guy. I bought my Sabatier at a Sabatier shop along I-26 in South Carolina. Wherever it was made, I like it. The only problem I've had is that it slid off the counter top once and stuck vertically in the plywood/vinyl kitchen floor. Then, it immediately fell over, breaking off 1/2" of the tip. I didn't grind a new tip but just left it that way. Dammit!
I quit using my well-used and well-seasoned cast iron pan when my doc told me that my blood iron levels were too high. I still haul it out when I need to broil something in the oven but use a non-stick pan for most everything else now.
I've also started donating blood more frequently, every month and a half or so.
Two old and good American knife makers are Foster Brothers and Dexter. Foster Brothers is long gone I believe, but Dexters are still available new. Recently bought a 10" slicer on eBay that looks more or less identical to one I got 50 years ago. Great value!
Same carbon steel blade, same beechwood handle. These take a fine edge and hold one well. A quick wipe and dry after use gives no issues with rust. Treated well will last a lifetime and then some.