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Cutting out bad form in Havre Community Education class


Last updated 2/22/2019 at 11:45am

Havre Daily News/Ryan Berry

Kailee Calnan scores a mango after learning the proper way to cut the fruit Thursday at Havre Middle School in Havre. Calnan said she hopes to share some of what she learned with her husband.

Tucked away in the home economics room of Havre Middle School, a small group congregated Thursday night to practice proper knife skills.

Jasmine Carbajal, Hill County family and consumer sciences extension agent for Montana State University, led a class of four in a handful of lessons on different knife skills as part of Havre Public Schools' Community Education Program.

Carbajal said the two most crucial aspects of safely and effectively using kitchen knives is keeping a sharp blade and maintaining control of the knife at all times.

"Using a knife with a dull blade is one of the worst things a person can do," she said.

To emphasize the importance of using sharp equipment, Carbajal started her lesson with showing participants how to sharpen a blade. She also pointed out that the metal rod - or honing steel - that many knife sets come with is not for sharpening, but rather for maintaining an already sharp edge.

Havre Daily News/Ryan Berry

Jasmine Carbajal, a family and consumer sciences extension agent for Montana State University, demonstrates how to properly use a chef's knife during a basic knife skills course Thursday at Havre Middle School in Havre. The course was part of an ongoing series of classes as part of Havre Public Schools' Community Education Program.

After showing the participants how to cut tomatoes, onions, peppers and mangos, Carbajal fielded questions and then sent them off to make salsa as a way to practice new techniques.

Kailee Calnan, one of the four attendees, practiced holding the knife properly while throwing together a mango salsa with another attendee, Curt Lineweaver. All four participants worked to stay aware of their knife usage and correct their holds.

Classes like the knife course are frequently offered through the Community Education Program, and Carbajal said she personally teaches many food-centered courses including an upcoming pressure-cooking class in Gildford Monday and a course next month on how to make authentic flour tortillas.

In Thursday's knife skills class, Carbajal offered lessons on topics like food safety and how to pick good produce, along with the knife techniques. Carbajal has been an extension agent in Havre for a year and a half and said teaching classes is important because it offers all types of people the opportunity to learn.

"If you're not doing it on a daily basis, it can be hard to know (how to use knives,)" she said.


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