Pls help-need chopper for non-dextrous dad
- optimal forager Dec 13, 2007 07:58 AM
I've gotten my 72-year-old dad into cooking recently. He's finished up dishes I've started, he's begun stuff when I've been late, and he even followed from beginning to end an Ina Garten recipe for a fennel-encrusted pork loin for which he made the rub with my mini-Cuisinart (delicious). However, I've been trying to figure out what makes him say, "Oh, you'd better do that," or, "We'll get pizza tonight and you can make that tomorrow when you can be here earlier," and I think it's the stuff requiring a lot of slicing and dicing. This makes sense: he's a brilliant guy, but he put his hand through a window as a young man (not quite so brilliant, that) and is not very dextrous (you should see him try to pick up the cat...). And, obviously, I don't want him to "work on his knife skills"; that would be asking an ER visit.
I want to buy him one of those onion choppers for Christmas, if I can get some testimonials about which are junk and which are miracle-workers. I've seen the Nicer Dicer (BB&B, $40), Progressive Onion Chopper (BB&B, $15), Vegetable Chop and Measure (Williams-Sonoma, $30), and Alligator Onion Chopper (Sur La Table, $30). On the boards, I've seen a rec for the Nicer Dicer and one for the Chop and Measure, plus a thumbs-down for the Nicer Dicer.
If anyone has any experience with any of these, I'd really, really appreciate a quick comment. Many, many TIA.
If the mini-cuisinart works for small jobs, wouldn't a larger size be the perfect answer for your dad's chopping requirements? Maybe there's something I don't understand.
I have the Williams-Sonoma Chop and measure. I like it quite a bit, but it is not good for everything; food periodically requires pre-prep before using it.
It is excellent for soft foods (it makes awesome egg salad), but less so for hard or dense foods (I had to slice onions fairly thin in order for the device to chop well).
-Multiple chop sizes (there are two inserts: a large chop and a small chop. If I recall, each of these has a smaller "mince" area.)
-Fairly easy to clean and is dishwasher safe
-Chopping area is somewhat small
-Only fairly easy to clean
Overall, it's the best chopper I've owned so I would recommend it.
Have you considered a mandoline? the relatively inexpensive Benriner's (and there are even
cheaper japanese ones that are equally good) is a great alternative to slicing.
You won't get the chopping action you're looking for (so this might not be the right
thing) but for many vegetable slicing tasks it's a godsend.
The only downside is that they can be pretty dangerous since you're moving your
hand in the direction of the cutting edge. But they all come with variously useful
food-holding devices which will keep him from reliving his childhood fist-through-
the window trauma.
I have the Progressive Onion Chopper, and it does a fine job of chopping things into little 1/4 inch pieces. It does take either a bit of strength or putting some weight into it to chop onions, and I've never been successful at chopping more than a quarter of an onion at a time. But it's safe and does a very consistent job. You might want this slightly more versatile version of it though, which has inserts that allow slicing and chopping in more than one size: http://www.amazon.com/Progressive-Fru...
Thanks so much for all the input.
I think I'm going to get my dad the W-S or Progressive chopper plus a Zyliss conical chopper. If those baby steps work, then, for Father's Day, I'm going to buy him a very simple, basic V-slicer with a cutproof glove.
My rationale: we don't see a lot of pre-cut stuff in the stores around here. And a full-size food processor wouldn't work: too many parts for my dad. I've never gotten him to use mine. Same is true of my mandoline, with the different plates and the two pieces of the hand guard. It's a mindset thing. And, while I've bought my parents a conical chopper like the one recommended by yayadave, I didn't buy the right brand, I think, because it really didn't work, while a roommate of mine had one that did. So now that I have a brand rec, I'm going to replace the other one.
Thanks for your help.