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Vegetable Slicers

Over the list break I acquired two wonderful vegetable slicers.  I've
tried various $10-$30 plastic slicing gadgets in the past and found
them all of poor quality and little use.  French mandolines are
supposed to be quite nice, but they cost hundreds of dollars and I've
heard that even so, they are somewhat inconvenient to use and clean.
Food processors sometimes have slicing options, but I find the slices
to be irregular and the whole thing messy and hard to clean.

I have two exceptions:

A Japanese slicing mandoline sold in asian stores under the brand name
"Benriner" or sometimes "New Benriner".  On the box it looks cheesey,
but this is actually a high quality and absolutely wonderful slicer.
The plastic is very substantial, the knife edge is removable and
*extremely* sharp, and the slices it makes are continuously adjustable
in size.  It sells for about $20.  No other plastic slicer even comes
close in quality to this one.  It has two downsides: the *thickest*
slice it can make is about 2mm  (very small indeed -- but then
Japanese garnishes tend to require such delicacy) and it has a flimsy
and dangerous hand-guard.  For this reason I also recommend you
purchase at the same time:

The Boerner V-Slicer.  The V-slicer, like most plastic mandolines,
only offers a few slice thicknesses (the one I bought only offers 2,
one about 2mm and one thicker).  Although the construction isn't as
high quality as the Benriner, this is still a decent slicer.  It's
biggest plus is the very well-designed vegetable holder and
hand-guard.  It works extremely well.  And you can use the
hand-guard/vegetable holder on the Benriner as well.  I got my
V-Slicer for around $20, but I've seen them as high as $40, so shop

Slicing mandolines are very dangerous.  On good ones like the above
two, they slice so fast and well that the urge to forgo the hand
protection is great.  Afterall, you have this great big carrot and
when you start your hand is far from the blade.  But it is very very
very easy to lose concentration and before you know it you've lost
half the tip of your finger.  I only had a near-accident with my
Benriner: I sliced the tip of a long fingernail cleanly off.  Thank
goodness it was only the nail.  

But even though the V-Slicer holder is good, for large pieces you'd
have to cut them up to use it.  So I found another solution:  Filet
gloves.  These are cut-resistant (not cut-proof) gloves sold in
sporting good stores and departments -- usually for fishing.  I wear
the glove while cutting a big piece and when it gets smaller, put it
in the V-Slicer holder.  I'm still careful, but if I slip just a
little, I have a lot of protection.  And the V-Slicer wastes very
little of the vegetable.

Michelle Dick             artemis@xxxxxxxxx              East Palo Alto, CA