While cooking is from the heart, it is sometimes about the equipment, too.

Mandoline slicer
The greatest mandoline

One of my favorite pieces of kitchen equipment is my old friend the mandolin.  No, it’s not a stringed instrument but a wickedly sharp blade mounted in a heavy, stainless steel frame.  With it, I can cut perfect paper-thin slices, basket weave slices, match-sticks, or fatter sticks.  It helps me to work fast and professionally.

chioggia beets sliced on the mandoline
cathy arkle photo

 The mandoline I have is the professional variety, and its blade is worthy of respect. That is why I wrap the hand that will slide the vegetable or fruit over the blade with a thick layer of cotton towel, just in case my attention wanders. I want the ingredient sliced, not the pad of my hand.

slicing chioggia beets on the mandoline
cathy arkle photo

There are lots of mandolines on the market.  I have a Bron brand that is as sharp today as it was when I bought it, more than 25 years ago. And it’s beautiful. It has no bells and whistles, it’s not red, white, or blue, but it’s noble. It inspires confidence.  A good pice of equipment is like that.  It looks like it can do the job better than anything else, and it can.

slicing vegetables on the mandoline
This is how you use it! cathy arkle photo

If you’re thinking about getting a mandoline, I urge you to do so.  Naturally, I recommend what I have, and if you click on Bron, you’ll go right to amazon where you can pick it up.  

Please be careful, though. I suggest you use my method of wrapping a towel around your hand.  To wrap your hand, fold a cotton tea towel in thirds, lengthwise.  Hold one end between your thumb and your palm, then wrap the towel around the back of your hand, then around your palm with your thumb INSIDE the towel, which should cover the pad of your hand below your palm.  Then wrap the towel around the back of your hand again, and tuck the end firmly into towel that’s covering your palm.  Sound complicated? It’s easy and effective, but you can always buy a glove!


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