Listen, I know you have a paring knife. Everyone has a paring knife. And paring knives are great. They’re excellent for any type of precision work, from removing pepper seeds and slicing garlic to deveining fish. Most cooks would consider them an essential all ’rounder, but I am here to tell you that there is a small knife that’s even better than a paring knife.
It’s the bird’s beak knife. Aptly named because the small, curved blade resembles a bird’s beak, this little knife is smaller than a paring knife, with a short two- to three-inch blade (a paring knife’s is four to seven inches), but infinitely more useful. But be careful, it’s extremely sharp.
As I’ve mentioned before, my kitchen has very limited storage, so everything in it needs to earn its keep. And this knife has earned permanent residency. It’s the one I grab to peel fruit and vegetables (lookin’ at you potatoes, apples, peaches, ginger and especially melons) because the sharp curved blade cuts super-close to the peel or rind, leaving you with more fruit and less waste. Once you get a feel for how it handles, it does the job much faster than a vegetable peeler and I use it to cut the fruit or vegetable I’ve just peeled leaving me with only one utensil to wash — bonus!
It’s also my first choice for coring strawberries and tomatoes, cutting around avocado pits and slicing citrus into perfect segments. And it’s the absolute best for cutting annoying eyes out of pineapples and sprouts out of potatoes.
The bird beak knife is definitely one of my desert island items, and I promise, once you try it for yourself, you’ll be preaching its virtues and brushing away the dustballs on your lonely ol’ paring knife.