Monday, June 29, 2009

Sharps: Patina

We had a family meal last night, our first in several weeks -- lemon chicken on the grill, sweet corn, and fresh berries and cream over angel food cake.

As preparations were getting underway, I was finishing yesterday's post. At one point my wife ducked into the office and asked if there was a particular knife I'd like the boys to use for slicing and chopping -- and since the new Mora was sitting right there on my desk, that's what I gave her.

The older spawn returned with the knife about 15 minutes later.

"Um... are you gonna be writing about this?" he asked, handing it to me with some hesitation. "I was slicing strawberries and the blade turned weird colors -- like, even black."

I pulled the Mora from its sheath and smiled, admiring the beginnings of a warm patina that eventually would give the steel its character.

I explained to the puzzled teenager that this is what happens to carbon steel when it's exposed to an oxidizing substance -- like the acids in strawberries, for example.

Having been spoiled by stainless, he had no idea. I sheathed the knife and handed it back to him. Mrs. KintlaLake wanted to use it to cut up a lime.

Ah, more patina, more character -- just two of the many reasons why I love carbon steel.