Many thanks for your thoughts on this. I'm glad you liked it.
I tried reorganising the first paragraph to open with her at the table looking at the wall, but couldn't seem to get it to work as well that way round. I think it was a good idea to try it though.
Regarding the knife, I can't see how to get it there at the start, as it seems to need to appear after she's had her period of reflection/remembering -- in response to the memory and the decision to make a stew. It has no reason to be there beforehand, I think, and if I give it a (different) reason -- peeling an apple say -- I don't know that hangs there menacingly.