Thursday, April 17, 2014

O - The Opinel Knife of France

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Today I’m going to introduce you (if you haven’t been introduced already) to a knife. Now this is no ordinary knife and many French people will tell you this knife is the ever-ready, typical French knife that everyone knows about even if they don’t own one themselves. I’m sentimental about this knife, but there’s so much information online about it, I’m not going to go into the details here of why it’s so famous. Check out this link for its HISTORY.  What I will write about is why I’m sentimental. It’s very French (since 1890), and I love it, and yes I do own one. The name of this amazing instrument is “Opinel.” (pronounced oh-pee-nelle)
When I met my husband thirty-two years ago he carried an Opinel in his jean or trouser pocket, like my dad, who carried a pocket knife all his life. Most men in the southern (and western?) US carry a pocket knife. Most would feel practically naked without it. I don’t know about northern men, but in the south it’s a staple. The don’t-leave-home-without-it, original “all in one” tool. My husband, when I met him, used it mountain climbing, in the kitchen, at work, anywhere he found a need. He showed me his when he made dinner for me, the first meal we had alone together in his apartment in Bordeaux. His best mountain-climbing friend and father of “our” goddaughter, Jean Paul Delmas, gave the knife to him after he’d lost his own during one of their mountain treks. He still has that knife 31 years later, and we still use it. Our whole family owns at least one. Mine is special to me because another of my husband’s best French friends, Guy Clement, gave it to me a few years ago. I hugged him tight when he said I could keep it. His gift of his knife felt personal and I cherish it, and use it every day in my kitchen!  
Enough, go check them out for yourself if you’d like, and in the meantime, enjoy the photos!
P.S. Another knife used in France and very famous is a Laguiole  (pronounced Lah-yee-ole)and yes, we have those too…

The special knife Guy Clement gave to me.

My son's Opinel, bought in Etretat the year France won the World Soccer competition. This is a collector's edition now.

My daughter's, a different form, more feminine and thinner.

Our collection of Opinel. My daughter's very first tiny one, her's now, mine, our son's and the last two are my husband's. The largest is the one Jean-Paul Delmas gave him in the Pyrenees while hiking. You can see the difference in the blades, stainless steel and the regular which tarnishes.

16 comments:

  1. This is fascinating. Never knew about men carrying knives in France or the US.

    Damyanti, Co-host A to Z Challenge April 2014, My Latest post

    Twitter: @AprilA2Z
    #atozchallenge

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    1. Yes, it's a bit strange I think, in retrospect. But I grew up with it so didn't think anything of it until I wrote this post!

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  2. Very special knives and the handles look pretty good too. You'll have to be careful though about carrying a 'dangerous weapon' in certain parts of the world.

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    1. Yes. I think I'm a bit immune to a small knife being much of a weapon because it wasn't ever used as one around me. But lately, with all the slashings going on in China and the States, well, those were big knives but knives still.

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  3. very interesting post thank you


    Cecilia

    http://ceciliaaclark.blogspot.com.au

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    1. Glad you dropped by!

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  4. It would be illegal to carry one of these in the UK.

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    1. I'm sure it is elsewhere as well. Personally I think it's better to carry a small knife than a gun!

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  5. Very nice. I'll blame half that pocketknife carrying on the scouts program, or at least, that's why all my brothers and sons have them.

    True Heroes from A to Z

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    1. I bet you're right Crystal!

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  6. A couple of those knives have seen some use! I admit I don't carry one, but it is a staple here in the South.

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    1. Yes, so true. The south is a bit different from the north...

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  7. Fascinating knives. Illegal in Oz to carry any weapons.

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    1. I'm fascinated with the responses to this post!

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  8. Those are beautiful knives! My husband, who won't even wear a watch, has always had (and been fascinated by) pocket-knives. I always thought it was normal for men, I guess!

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  9. Hi Lisa .. I'd never heard of Opinels - how interesting to see yours and see the family's in history .. cheers Hilary

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