Chefs and good cooks treasure and protect their knives. Julia put them on magnetic holders where they would both be handy and safe from contact damage. While she insisted that most people only really needed three knives–the standard chef’s knife, a paring knife, and a bread knife–she needed virtually every knife she ever encountered.
The kitchen drawers were filled with specialty knives (for cutting and opening shrimp, clams, and oysters, cheese, grapefruit, cake, and chestnuts) and the butcher’s block was covered with knives, sharpeners, and other tools for use in cutting and preparing meat and fish. Many of her knives were specialized and but many she liked and used were ordinary like the Ginsu knife marketed on TV in the 1970s and given to her by a salesman she met on an airplane.