We had a chance to buy a very nice sabrage knife this summer, but even Maurizio with his mania for acquiring kitchen things his wife finds optional drew (or cut) the line at a $500 (circa) sabrage knife. The experience did enrich my vocabulary, always a good thing. So there we were in the Tuscan town of Scarperia, since forever a center of fine knife making. In one of the artisan shops which double as museums in price & elegance was the item in question.
What’s sabrage? If you are Hussar in Napoleon’s light cavalry, you had plenty of victories to celebrate and did so by uncorking a bottle with your sabre. This is sabrage. It takes skill and an indestructible esophagus that laughs at silly little bits of glass.
We did get steak knives at L’Artigano Scarperia despite my comment that we don’t eat much steak. Ah, but they’re art. And they are truly lovely, with handles made of olive tree root wood. Who knew that olive tree root wood has this other purpose? So . . . when I consign my finished draft to HarperCollins, we’ll invite 4 friends for Beef Wellington, in honor of the battle the Hussars did not celebrate. But we’ll have to open the champagne the regular and wimpy way.