How can I buy something from Cutco with the least amount of pain?
July 22, 2013 5:09 PM   Subscribe

A family friend is selling Cutco knives (I know, I know). For personal reasons, I have agreed to have a "presentation" and will need to buy something. I don't need advice on how to say "no," I need advice on what will be available that will optimally represent the best value, if not the lowest price point.

FWIW, I actually don't cook much and what I do is mostly vegetables. I will not provide additional contacts to the seller, which I gather is a thing. Any other tips?
posted by anonymous to Food & Drink (26 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
If I had to buy a knife from someone, and I wanted to get the best value for the least amount of money , and I mostly needed it for vegetables, I would by a paring knife.
posted by deanc at 5:15 PM on July 22, 2013 [7 favorites]

I know no personal experience with them, but I vaguely remember reading that the scissors were quite good.
posted by Magnakai at 5:16 PM on July 22, 2013 [3 favorites]

Their website indicates that they sell gardening tools. I might go for that over anything cooking-related.

I did see a friend of a friend cut a penny in two with a pair of Cutco scissors, which I have to admit was pretty impressive.
posted by showbiz_liz at 5:19 PM on July 22, 2013

Don't assume that just because the company is crap, every product is crap. Amway cleaning products used to have quite a fan club even among normal consumers. Before I learned to cook from scratch, I liked their Spaghetti sauce mix, which I'm sure was made from salt-laden soylent green or something but was delicious...

So yeah: buy the scissors!
posted by DarlingBri at 5:28 PM on July 22, 2013 [5 favorites]

I love my Cutco knives. 10 years later, they're still amazeballs. I got the ones with the beautiful white handles too.

I have a butcher's knife, 2 paring and 2 serrated (bread) knives. I got the scissors as a freebie.

The best deal would be a serrated knife I believe - they stay sharp and are excellent for tearing through bread. Or the scissors. That's my 2C (which of course the scissors will cut through).
posted by St. Peepsburg at 5:30 PM on July 22, 2013 [4 favorites]

I have many pieces and they are super. I love the kitchen scissors and mine are probably 10 y/old now; I had previously gone through several other brand name ones that just didn't last, including costly Henckel brand.
posted by Lornalulu at 5:31 PM on July 22, 2013

I can't speak to the brand, but as someone who cuts up a lot of vegetables, I encourage you to consider a santoku knife.
posted by janey47 at 5:31 PM on July 22, 2013 [2 favorites]

I sold Cutco many eons ago, and this may no longer be true, but at the time, we had basically a tiered amount we could throw in for free when placing an order, based on the value of the order itself. Buying the sets was not appreciably cheaper than buying the individual knives, unless you reached the level of throwing things in for free, and then we could add stuff to your order. What we couldn't do was discount your order -- the price of a knife or a set was the price of a knife or a set, and that's what we had to charge, all we could do was add in extra stuff for free -- commonly it would be 'buy a set, get a pair of shears' but sometimes it was other things.

So, pick the knives you're interested in that suit your budget for spending on this -- you may want to check out the online catalogue ahead of time so you already know what's likely to suit your needs -- and just ask for those things. If you want more than about 4 things start by saying you want three of them and then hem and haw about the 4th and 5th things and you'll find out if you made the limits for them throwing in free stuff, because if that's still the way they work, they'll tell you how to configure the purchase so you can buy some of those knives and get the last one thrown in.

Personally, I think the two most useful items they sell are the Trimmer, which is a small, multi-purpose knife and the kitchen shears. I own two trimmers, and given how rarely I do dishes relative to how much I use them, I'd happily have two more. They are just excellent for so many kitchen applications, and I use them in place of a carving knife for all the but largest roasts, and in place of a paring knife, and as a basic utility knife. I'd say 75% of my knife uses is a trimmer, and the other 25% is done using my Global Chef's knife and an uncountably small percentage uses any of my other knives.

I dearly miss my Cutco shears, which were stolen by a roommate long ago. Bastard.

Don't bother buying anything with a straight blade like a pairing knife or a santoku, as the only real value in these knives is in the special edge and the not needing to sharpen them much. You'll find similar quality straight edged knives in other brands at your local department store for considerably less.
posted by jacquilynne at 5:35 PM on July 22, 2013 [3 favorites]

The Trimmer is pretty great. I have my mom's old one, and it's the king of tomatoes.
posted by padraigin at 5:52 PM on July 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

My parents bought a set of cutco steak knives from a friend selling them 16 years ago and they are still awesome! I'm not sure what the prices are these days, but those puppies have outlast two sets of knives bought from hechts.
posted by frecklefaerie at 5:57 PM on July 22, 2013

We have some Cutco that's at least 15 years old, maybe closer to 20 - the steak knives are beginning to snap off at the handle, but just recently. The others (general purpose serrated) are still hanging in. It would not be the worst investment you make.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 6:02 PM on July 22, 2013

Seconding white-handled steak knives. Former Cutco salesperson here.

(And keep an eye on them during family get-togethers... They have a way of disappearing.)
posted by war wrath of wraith at 6:10 PM on July 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

The Cutco shears are reportedly very good. Don't own any personally, just too hard to justify replacing a perfectly good pair of kitchen shears. But their Santoku-style chefs knives are quite nice too.

What you might want to get depends on what you already have. I'd use it as an opportunity to fill a hole in your knife block. If you use your paring knives heavily, maybe get one of them, or if you (like me) mostly use chef's knives for everything, you might want to get one of them (either the traditional French or Santoku style) in a slightly different size or something.

I would not bother getting the serrated, bread, or carving knifes from them. They are just not heavily used enough to justify the cost, IMO. You want to spend money on the stuff you use all the time for preparation work, not for occasional carving (unless you serve giant roasts of meat, like, every day or something). So that's where I'd invest in good knives just in general, whether you were buying Cutco or Henkels or whatever.
posted by Kadin2048 at 6:26 PM on July 22, 2013

My parents bought Cutco knives from a friend of mine about 10 years ago, and they're still great. As everyone says above, the shears are fantastic. I like the bread knife, but that might just be because the bread knife we had at the time was a total piece of crap and the cutco one was infinitely superior. The steak knives are good too. I also like the Spatula Spreader, although it's probably too expensive for what it is.
posted by number9dream at 6:35 PM on July 22, 2013

Any of the serrated knives or the shears are good value. I sold cutco as well, as do several members of my family (my cousin paid his way through private college working for CutCo actually)...and I hated it, but selling is SO not my personality type.

And my ex stole a lot of my knives in college (including the shears!), which still makes me a little angry.
posted by guster4lovers at 6:36 PM on July 22, 2013

Chiming in about the bread knife. It's great. Mine's held up for five years and still slices like a champ.
posted by Pudhoho at 7:03 PM on July 22, 2013

If what you do is mostly vegetables I would get the chef's knife if I were you (I don't know if CutCo has a special name for it). Their knives are actually not bad. Chopping vegetables can be a huge annoyance if you don't have a nice sharp knife. Smaller knife if you mainly chop smaller things, or bigger knife if you mainly chop big things.

Or, the other thing I would get is the paring knife. It's useful and cheap.

Beware, it's good you've already decided not to give out additional contacts, but the person making the presentation will probably press you hard for them.
posted by cairdeas at 7:31 PM on July 22, 2013

I should also note that my mom's old 12" chef's knife is currently residing in my camping gear, and is going strong after 40 years of hard use, but I wouldn't really recommend any of the straight-blade knives, serrated is really where Cutco shines and despite their weird selling practices, they deserve credit for making a kick-ass serrated blade.

I'd rather have a straightforward sharpen-able blade for my non-serrated knives.
posted by padraigin at 7:57 PM on July 22, 2013

My SO's cousin sold CutCo knives for a little bit. We have the cheese knife. It's a perfectly good knife in just about every way. It compares happily to our OXO products.
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:28 PM on July 22, 2013

Their cheese knife is actually pretty great.
posted by Kreiger at 8:43 PM on July 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

My parents received Cutco knives as a wedding present. They're still using those knives and last year was their 50th wedding anniversary. Oh, and if you take cooking shears out of my mom's utensil drawer, then you will live to regret it. Those scissors are like gold.

I have mostly Zwilling/Henckels knives, but someone gave me the Cutco Spatula Spreader and I use it nearly everyday. I'm not sure it's as high a quality as the Zwilling's but it's a damn nice tool to have.
posted by 26.2 at 10:32 PM on July 22, 2013

I used my friend's Cutco cheese knife this weekend -- it was like a miracle. Cut through a crumbly cheddar like butter.
posted by Malla at 5:02 AM on July 23, 2013

We've got several Cutco knives purchased some years ago from a nephew who my husband wanted to encourage. The steak knives are great, and I like their pruners in the garden. The other knives I don't use hardly at all, but I don't like serrated knives as a rule. We had the shears and they worked very well, but they were w-a-a-a-y too large for my (admittedly) small hands and they kept pinching my palm whenever I used them.
posted by DrGail at 6:08 AM on July 23, 2013

My brother sold them after high school and so we had a set at the house. I am picky about knives, and was not a fan of the chef's knife, mostly because the handle was too small for my giant hands. But the bread knife was good, as were the shears.
posted by Nothing at 6:35 AM on July 23, 2013

Yes to the sheers, cheese knife, bread knife - and if you want to only buy a smallish paring-type knife just get one of the steak/table knives. Smallish, serrated: they last really well. I've had Cutco of various shapes and sizes for many years, and agree that the serrated are best (though I use my chef and vegetable knives all the time, too).

I recently got the garden shears, and they're nice, really nice - but seemed Expensive. Maybe I'm just more used to spending money on knives, or feel better about the cost because I use the knives all the time.

Also, I have my name engraved on several of the larger knives and shears, which has helped them walk off less than my smaller knives.
posted by ldthomps at 11:38 AM on July 23, 2013

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