The Knife

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This knife was given to me by my dad, who got it from HIS dad, both of whom cooked Frank_Ray_Perkins.v1with it professionally for many, many years.

My Grandfather used it to help prepare the dinner for President Franklin D. Roosevelt at the dedication of Timberline Lodge on Sept. 28, 1937, and for his fellow WPA workers who built the lodge, before that.

My Uncle used it to cook for his fellow sailors on the Battleship “USS Missouri” at Pearl Harbor (1944), Iwo Jima (1945), and Okinawa (1945).

If the stories are to be believed (and I choose to believe them, lol) it was even used at a picnic to cut a slice of pecan pie for Dr. Martin Luther King, in Atlanta, GA (1965)

Frank Ray Perkins
USS Missouri – Okinawa 1945
Frank L Perkins
Dad – Carving a Baron of Beef at the Hilton Hotel

It was one of the six knives Dad carried, rolled up in an old apron, when we (me, mom & dad) hitch-hiked from Atlanta to Portland Oregon in the summer of 1970 (I was 18/mo old) and was used in some of the finest kitchens in the Pacific Northwest.

Including the Portland Hilton, and the old Trader Vic’s at the Hotel Benson (Now El Gauchos Steakhouse), over the following two decades, as well as in many soup kitchens, homeless shelters, and even a couple of ELK Lodges.ย 

And, of course, many, many family dinners at home and around camp-fires.

It’s cut two hundred dollars a pound Kobe Beef, .29 cents a can SPAM, and everything in between..

I was taught the right way hold, hone, oil, and cut with it from the time I was 8 years old.

How to love it, and how to respect it.

1510975_969331846434982_8983838740117068454_nThe last time Dad used it, before giving it to me, was to prepare mine and Vickie’s wedding rehearsal dinner on April 19th, 1996.

The blood of three generations of my family is (literally, lol) in this old wooden handle.

It is my most prized material possession.

Now, I use it once a year, on August 16th (Dad’s birthday) to prepare his (and my) favorite dinner:

Pan Seared New York Strip Steak, sauteed button mushrooms, whole new potatoes, and golden hominy in steak drippings.

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Someday, I’ll pass it along to the 4th generation of Perkins cooks, and then it will be Gracie’s story to tell.

Tonight, she’ll help me make that traditional dinner, and she’ll use this knife.

Happy Birthday, Pops. I’ll teach her right…

~Chef Perry

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