Chat Leftovers: Any way you slice it
Welcome to Wednesday, always a fun day for a couple of reasons. First, there's our weekly Free Range chat, a great give-and-take in which you can ask us whatever culinary questions are on your mind. And then tonight there's Episode 7 of "Top Chef: D.C.," which will be followed tomorrow by our live post-show video wrapup. If you haven't been catching that, make it a point to see it. Sometimes I'm not sure which I like better, Bravo's show or ours.
Remember, join us at 1 today, and bring your questions. Like this one, which we couldn't get to in a previous chat:
I saw a mini hand mandoline for sale and wondered: For someone who does a lot of slicing of veggies, are such devices actually useful? Or are they too small/too cheap to be reliable?
I'm a big fan of small, inexpensive slicers, and I think there's definitely a place for one in the kitchen. But shop carefully, because this is a piece of equipment that can do real damage if it doesn't work right.
I've had several good V-slicers, the ones with a blade in the shape of a V. They cut thick and thin slices, plus large and small julienne. Each worked great for a few years, after which time the blade became dull and I had to get rid of them. But because they cost less than $30, I thought they were worth it; I do a lot of slicing. One, a Borner, seemed sharper than the others.
Real Entertaining columnist David Hagedorn has extolled the virtues of Japanese-style slicers, which looks a lot like a V-slicer except a straight blade is set on the diagonal. He uses the Progressive International Multi-Slicer; you can find it at online merchants, sometimes for less than $12.
One very inexpensive mandoline, made by Oxo, has gotten a lot of buzz ever since it was introduced a few years ago. At $50 or not much more, it's way cheaper than other mandolines. But I'm sorry I bought mine. The blade is so dull that I feel like I'm risking amputation every time I use it on something even a little hard, like an apple. For something like a turnip or potato? Forget it. This model has legions of fans, but I'm not among them.
So I say, buy a V- or Japanese-style slicer. Pay attention to the reviews that are found everywhere online these days. Avoid injury by always using the hand guard; or you can buy a special glove designed to protect your hand from cuts. Then start slicing away, and pretty soon you'll wonder how you ever lived without one.
-- Jane Touzalin
July 28, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
Categories: Chat Leftovers | Tags: Chat Leftovers, Free Range, Jane Touzalin
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