The Tojiro American Ultimate Utility or "The Sandwich knife"
November 07, 20232 min read
My first job in a kitchen was washing dishes during the morning shift at an airport golf course. I learned some valuable lessons that summer; a dishwasher gets a plate hot enough to cook your fingers, powdered Hollandaise isn’t so bad, the importance of double-bagging a garbage can is not to be understated, and that breakfast cooks are the zaniest.
The menu was your standard breakfasts—Eggs Benedict, western omelets, two-eggs-any-style, pancakes and french toast—the crew used more spatulas and spreaders than they did knives. While I scrubbed eggy yellow and mooched rashers of bacon, Karl and Matt flipped over-easys and built sandwiches fit for the latest issue of BLT Monthly. They were Knights of the Breakfast Table who never found their blue plate Excalibur, a Tojiro Flash American Utility Knife! Instead of the Lady in the Lake, you just get me.
I have always thought that this knife, as funny as it looks, is perfect for so many people. Who doesn’t stack a Dagwood sandwich, toast and schmear a bagel, or carve cheese-scooping hunks of baguette on the regular? Kids can use it to help make their school lunches, saving their parent’s sanity. Those zany breakfast cooks could butter Texas toast faster than a Deadwood gunslinger and cut Western sandwiches like a train robber divides loot. Anyone who says that they wouldn’t use this knife is a damned liar.
Not only is it insanely useful, it looks the business too. The name, Flash, refers to the damascus steel looking like lightning reflecting in water and the sculpted micarta handle confidently fills the hand like a guitar neck—perfect for a fried peanut butter and banana sandwich, Elvis Presley-style. The meandering serrated edge is made of VG-10 steel so that oval-shaped blade is going to stay sharp nearly forever. So long as you don’t let your kids stick it in the dishwasher, scrape a cheesy casserole dish clean, or pry apart their frozen hot dogs, this powerhouse is going to survive the atom bomb and be making lox and bagels long into nuclear winter.
Tonnes of Knifenerds would overlook this quirky blade for themselves at first but none would go without one after a few uses. Don’t buy it as someone’s very first knife, get a santoku, gyuto, or even a petty, but it makes a great fourth or fifth knife. A person who barely cooks and can’t be trusted with a carbon steel blade or cast-iron pan would see their quality of life sky-rocket with a Senko Ultimate Utility.
I was so excited when I got the 13-hour time difference text from Kevin that said, “FYI I just got the last 70 of that weird sandwich knife you love. They’ll never be made again.” Looks like I know what everyone is getting for Christmas this year.
Chris is a relocated Maritimer that can be found slinking in and out the back doors of Ottawa's restaurants, often with his daughter in tow. Chris has been a fixture in the Ottawa food scene for the past 10 years and has recently laid down his apron to learn the ways of Knifewear. Chris loves cooking big pieces of meat over a live fire and spends his summer feeding wood into his BBQ, Lemmy Smoke-mister.
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