Mandoline Madness

by Laura on April 3, 2012

in Tools

For all you grammarians: All French references to this classic kitchen tool will be made without an ‘e’. English references will include the silent ‘e’

Years ago as editor of a magazine, I received a Bron Mandolin to try out. I was excited. I loved the idea of making waffle cuts in potatoes, cutting vegetables into thin strips, and creating rippled cuts of cabbage with ease. I still love the idea of it, but the truth is, that professional-style mandolin has only been brought out on occasion. I’ve tried and tried again, but the reality hinges on several things:

1. Storage: I have a small kitchen, so the mandolin must be stored somewhere in a cabinet or drawer deep enough to hold the mandolin and its hand guard. As a result of lack of space, it’s buried deep in a cabinet where those items I don’t use often are kept. I don’t have time to locate and retrieve it if it is beyond two arm lengths away.

2. I have problems deciphering the user manual. I don’t have time to refer to a manual to remind me of which way the legs go, or how to position – and reposition – the blades for what I want to accomplish. I’m living in a bang-out-a-meal kitchen that doesn’t have time for re-learning a task, or committing a manual to memory.

3. And, when I do take the time to figure it out, it’s awkward to use. I find the professional mandolin hard to switch between thicknesses, and the going is never as easy as it is on the YouTube video (I’m guessing there is probably one, I just haven’t had the time to check and provide you with a link).

4. Despite all my safeguards, I slice and/or grate my skin every time.

My struggles have made me turn to my food processor, even though I know that the precision I can get with a mandolin(e) is much better.  So, when I received the new OXO Good Grips® Hand-Held Mandoline Slicer to give it a test drive, I did so with great anticipation.

I broke it out last Friday, to make oven-fried potatoes. Three simple steps and its intuitive design won me over. All I had to do was adjust the knob to the desired thickness (three different thicknesses), grasp the food with the holder and then slide over the blade. And, as always, OXO is thoughtful in design. The soft foot can be hooked over a bowl so I can slice directly into a bowl. Yes, the stainless steel blade is sharp, but but when locked into position, I am assured my skin stays on my hand. (thank you!)

As for the Bron mandolin slicer, it may be a classic professional tool that is both durable and versatile (and has a history dating back to France in the 1930s), but the romance of using this original design, doesn’t overshadow my past less-than-perfect experiences. No I’m giving a nod out toOXO, for updating a classic design, with one that works so well in this not-so-professional and far-from-France kitchen.

If you’d like to give an OXO Good Grips® Hand-Held Mandoline Slicer a try, let us know. Send Laurea an We’ll randomly pick a winner on April 16th.


(Many thanks to OXO for sending one over for Family Eats to try, and one to give away!)

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