Using a mandoline

A mandoline slicer is a tool you might approach with trepidation--understandably so. The compact, hand-operated piece of kitchen equipment is fitted with a sharp blade that thinly and evenly slices a piece of fruit or a vegetable as it is moved rapidly up and down the face of the slicer. Since the item being sliced is hand-held, most mandolines come with a guard for securing the item, and which protects the hand holding it from drawing too close to the blade. First time users sometimes discover out how sharp that blade can be.

When he was 11 years old, I showed my nephew Casey how to make a potato gratin properly, using a mandoline to slice the potatoes.  He and I were both terrified and then satisfied, as Casey managed to finish the task without incident. 

A mandoline is an inexpensive and incredibly useful kitchen tool that saves time and allows the user to create consistent cuts in a variety of shapes and sizes. Practice first with softer vegetables like zucchini, mushrooms and even onions. This video shows the ease of using a mandoline, but remember that they can be dangerous.  Always take it slow and use the guard! (Do as I say, not as I do . . . .)