I am the type of person who will pull hard on a plastic clothing tag to try unsuccessfully to remove it, until I’m forced to walk across the room to a pair of scissors, which snips off the tag cleanly and swiftly. I’m not sure what this says about me, but I tend to keep pulling on the tag before resorting to scissors, sometimes to the detriment of the fabric or my hand.

In the kitchen, I don’t try short cuts in lieu of kitchen shears because I know that certain tasks can’t even try to be done without them. Tasks like cutting the back out of chicken, or cutting a chicken breast, bone and all, in half. Tasks like snipping the little stem off of a grape leaf, which refuses to be pulled off without the shears and their sharp, swift excision. You can snip, snip, snip in a rhythm that will have the typically big batch of leaves all cleaned up in no time.

Your shears, like your knives, must be sharp! And heavy duty, like your sheet pans. There are times when regular scissors have to do, but a strong, sharp pair of shears will find you more often than you might think.

Shun makes an excellent product and I think it’s worth it to invest (about $50). These come apart and can be thoroughly washed and kept nice and sharp. Wusthof also makes great pull-apart shears for about $30, and some other shears for far less ($15). They are not going to do as much for you, but they’re better than standard scissors and much better than none at all.

We’ve all been clamoring for stuffed grape leave rolls, the ultimate spring Lebanese dish. I’m so happy to say that this week we are making a big, succulent batch. But we’ve got to do some snipping of the little tough stems that are left on the jarred and of course are present on freshly picked grape leaves. Believe me, I’ve tried to get away with stemming without the scissors, and it isn’t pretty!

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