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Mandolin

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Effigy View Drop Down
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    Posted: 31 July 2013 at 03:01
I have experienced 2 mandolins, both unwanted gifts, which I used once and re-boxed as gifts.
Why can't my family understand I just want a Sabatier?
Finally, this year,  I am going to be graceful in defeat. I want to work with my non-foodie step-daughters who believe that a mandolin is the way to be a chef. (Sigh)
Unless you - FOtW forum - can convince me there is a mandolin that will unite us in the kitchen I will resume my fight for a fine french knife.
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gonefishin View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gonefishin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 July 2013 at 08:02
   Hello Effigy!

   I'm sure they have their place, but 99 times out of a 100...I just don't cook with a need for a mandolin.  Maybe if I cooked for larger parties, or if I were more refined...but most of my home cooking is rustic or small plates. 

   The mandolin I have is probably the cheapest thing made.  It has no inserts, only an adjustment for thickness.  This is all I need in the very few instances where I need many thin slices of something (like the potato scales).

   I am not one for a bunch of cooking gadgets.  I hardly use my mandolin...but it did come in handy for the potato scaled fillet.

    Overall...I vote for "not needed in most cases" (but that's for me)

   take care!

 Dan
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HistoricFoodie View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 July 2013 at 08:05
Now that's a can of worms for sure.

It's not just non-foodies. The base problem is that people watch cooking shows, and see celebrity chefs using what is the second most dangerous tool in the kitchen, and think it's absolutely necessary to have one.

Don't get me wrong. There are times when a mandolin is useful. One is just about essential, for instance, to make the enrobed cod dish we've been discussing elsewhere.

But for the typical home cook, even the advanced cook? Not hardly. I use mine primarily when 1. I'm involved with volume, such as when making kraut, or 2. When it's important that all cuts be as much the same as possible.

Let's keep solidly in mind that a mandolin is only a knife in reverse. In the regular scheme of things, the product stays in place and you move the knife. With a mandolin, the knife remains stationary while the product moves.

Once that's understood, the importance of knife skills becomes apparent. If one wants to be a great cook, knife skills are essential. A mandolin is not, repeat not, a shortcut to that.

So, yeah, keep pushing for a fine chef's knife. Whether or not a new Sabatier is the right choice is a moot question.
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pitrow View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pitrow Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 July 2013 at 09:25
I received one as a wedding gift. I think I've used it twice or three times. And then pretty much only to cut potatoes for chips. Not sure what else to use it for that I can't do with a knife.

Don't get me wrong, I like the thing, but for the most part it's just quicker and easier to do it with a knife than to pull it out, set it up, cut things, take it all apart and clean everything, etc.

I have to admit that I was one of the "have to have that" crowd, ever since I started cooking. Since I've owned one though, it's another story.
Mike
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hoser Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 August 2013 at 02:52
I own a mandoline and use it on a fairly regular basis. As the other commenters said...there is no replacement for good knife skills, but certainly a mandoline is a cherished part of my collection of kitchen tools. 
This time of year summer squash is abundant, and one of my favorite recipes pretty much requires it's use to get all the squash julienned to the same size to cook quickly.


Could I live without my mandoline? Certainly. It is, however a great time saving device when I make potato cakes, chips, or spaghetti with squash.
Go ahead...play with your food!
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Rod Franklin View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rod Franklin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 August 2013 at 19:30
Hoser, I have that same mandolin. There's nothing that can be done with a mandolin that can't be done with a knife... but
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AK1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 August 2013 at 05:10
Like anything else, it has its uses. I may not use it a lot, but it sure comes in handy those few times I do. 
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HistoricFoodie View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 August 2013 at 07:03
There's nothing that can be done with a mandolin that can't be done with a knife

Absolutely true, Rod. But let's not forget that all a mandolin is is a stationary knife. And that most home-cooks (hell, even many professionals) do not have the knife skills to make every cut of something equal. A good friend of mine is always astounded when I do something like slice a potato and all the slices are as near the same as to make no never mind. And he's a good cook in his own right.

The real question is: what is the purpose of a kitchen tool? If it makes a task easier or more efficient, then it's the right tool for the job. If it's obtained just because it's the "in" thing, or perceived as such, then it probably isn't the right tool.

In my own case it's a question of volume. If I'm slicing a few spuds for a dish, then I use my knife. But if I'm making the same dish for a crowd the mandolin probably is a better choice, because of its speed.

What scares me is the way most celebrity chefs use it on TV. No safety guard; no protective glove; and high speed. For the typical home cook, that's a sure formula for disaster. Unless, of course, fingertips are one of the recipe ingredients.

I've said it before, but it bears repeating. A mandolin is the second most dangerous tool in the kitchen, and, most times, isn't necessary.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gonefishin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 August 2013 at 10:35
Originally posted by HistoricFoodie HistoricFoodie wrote:



What scares me is the way most celebrity chefs use it on TV. No safety guard; no protective glove; and high speed. For the typical home cook, that's a sure formula for disaster. Unless, of course, fingertips are one of the recipe ingredients.

I've said it before, but it bears repeating. A mandolin is the second most dangerous tool in the kitchen, and, most times, isn't necessary.


   They'll operate a mandolin with no regard, yet they'll make sure that you see them washing their hands 25 times an episode  (I really can't watch the Food Network any more...good thing as we got rid of cable/sat years agoLOL)

  Dan
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pitrow View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pitrow Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 August 2013 at 11:50
It's really no different on any of the other channels. Home improvement shows especially show them doing stuff all the time with safety guards removed, disabled, etc. but they make sure they show them putting on safety glasses and gloves! 
Mike
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 August 2013 at 11:51
When I think of a mandolin, the two words that come to my head are a) consistency and b) volume. As a kitchen tool, I believe that it certainly has its place and, as has been said, is more valuable than a lot of other gadgets, gizmos and widgets out there. I know that if I were making sauerkraut or potato chips, for instance, I'd be grateful for one.
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HistoricFoodie View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 August 2013 at 15:10
The hand washing thing has always amused me. They wash a dozen times, but not once worry about having transferred crap to the faucet handle.

It's like gloves. In some restaurants they put on a pair of gloves at the beginning of the shift, and don't take them off until shift's end.

Kind of misses the whole point.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Percebes Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 April 2016 at 17:07
I use my old wood and metal mandolin about once every 15 years.
Just to make Gaufrette Potatoes.
Then it gets buried in my kit
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tom Kurth Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 April 2016 at 17:25
Yep, Got that mandolin about ten years ago. Got it out of the cabinet once to use it about seven years ago. Sliced the end of my pinkie clean off. Got a bandaid or two. Washed the mandolin. Put it back in the cabinet. End of story.
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