Get your knives sharpened. Often. Sharper knives make it easier to chop food, which makes it that much safer — and more enjoyable — to work your way through the steps of a particularly involved recipe. “But wait,” you cry, “I already sharpen my knives!” Possibly. But there’s a good chance you only hone (or steel) them.
This is what you’re doing when you slide your knife along that steel rod in your top drawer. It’s still important for the maintenance of your knife, but it doesn’t actually make it sharper — rather, it keeps your blade edge aligned so that the sharp bits are all facing the same direction.
With sharpening, metal is actually shaved off your blade to create a whole new edge. The best way to tell if your knife needs to be sharpened is to hold a folded newspaper and attempt to slice through it at an angle. If your knife doesn’t make a clean cut, you have two options: invest in an electric sharpener or seek out a pro.