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Dear Chef James,
I was showing how to flawlessly cut brownies using a plastic knife when one of the kids asked why.  I usually love "why" because it sets us off on a web search.  In this case though we've been unable to find the answer.  I knew you'd be the one to answer my question (so there's no pressure here ;-)
Can you please explain why plastic knives cut brownies better than anything else out there.
Thanks for your help.


Hello Dawn,

Plastics generally have a smoother surface (less porous) then stainless steel knives.  Plastic is made from oil – and has some of the same ‘slippery’ properties as the oil it  came from, and many plastics have an affinity for oil – that is why some plastic containers feel ‘oily’ even after washing thoroughly.

A plastic knife may not feel so slippery when dry, but the brownie contains oil (butter) – slide your finger along the flat surface of the plastic knife after you cut the brownies.

And plastics can be turned back into oil.
The first commercially viable process for turning plastics back into crude oil for use as fuel was successfully demonstrated in October.

Chef James,




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