It's not defrosting the turkey. (Although you should do that too.)


There are so many little, easily forgettable tasks that don't even make your Thanksgiving to-do list. I'm not talking about polishing the silver, or refilling the salt and pepper shakers. (Although those are both good things to get out of the way now.) And I'm not talking about restocking the guest bathroom with clean hand towels, making pie crust, or drying out your fresh cornbread for the dressing. (You might as well get those things done today too.)

I'm talking about something you probably haven't thought to do at all: sharpen your knives. Even if you always carve the turkey with your trusty electric knife, your chef's knife will still get a lot of use over the next few days—there is celery to chop, fresh herbs to mince, potatoes to dice, and green beans to be trimmed. And as we all know, a dull knife only cuts fingers. Now is the time to make sure your knives are as sharp as possible.

If you don't already have a knife sharpener, my favorite model is the Zwilling J.A. Henckels 2-Stage Manual Knife Sharpener. It has two slots—coarse and fine—to sharpen and hone the blade. And an easy-to-grip handle to make sure the knife stays level as you sharpen it and your fingers stay out of the way.

You can also use a honing steel to keep your knives sharp. Unlike a knife sharpener, honing steel cannot give your dull knife a completely new edge. Honing steel is used regularly to realign and maintain the sharpness of your blade. Here's how to do it.

If you can't remember the last time you sharpened your knife, you should use a knife sharpener. If you sharpen your knives regularly, use a honing steel to make sure they are in prime turkey day shape.