Mandoline Versus Food Processor [moved from Home Cooking]
I do have a food processor & sometimes consider purchasing a mandoline, but I am on the fence about adding yet another gadget in the kitchen. Will this just become another gadget that stays in a dark corner of a drawer?
Do you have both? Which one do you prefer?
What do you use your mandoline for?
Thanks in advance for your advice.
I have both. The mandolin scares me, so I don't use it much. Maybe it's because I'm left handed. It's an Oxo, and I love their products, but I feel very clumsy with the mandolin.
The food processor makes messier slices, but quicker. Sometimes I use the flat blade side of my 4 sided cheese grater to slice cukes.
Maybe others have an Oxo mandolin who can give me advise on using it efficiently and safely.
I have an OXO mandolin as well. While I think it works great, I would caution those using it to use great care. My very first time using it (or any mandolin ever) I sliced the tip of my finger off. Two months later, it is still healing and extremely sensitive. I've used it since, but this time, when I get down to the smaller pieces I just set those aside and just use larger pieces on it. Not worth another finger! It's worked great to make small uniform pieces for my dehydrator.
Using a knife instead of a food processor or mandoline - yes, great idea, but my knives are so dull & I have not mastered the art of sharpening my own knives. There is a guy in another town that sharpens people's scissors & knives, but you have to take them to an exclusive kitchenware shop for him to pick up & they look at your shabby knives like, "Are you bringing THAT in here, my word!". Of course they want you to purchase a new set of knives while you are standing around looking sheepish.
We tend to forget there are simpler ways of doing things that don't cost much money, use much electricity or take up much room. With that said, would someone tell me about a simple way to sharpen my knives???
The easiest-to-use home sharpening devices (of the ones that work reasonably well, anyway):
An accusharp or similar carbide-based sharpener
- problematic/useless for hard Asian knives
- Quick and easy
- Removes metal fairly quickly
- Somewhat useful for some kinds of serrated knives
A Chef's choice electric sharpener or similar design
- More expensive
- Also not too great on hard Asian knives, but not quite as bad as the Accusharp... still not recommended
- Not quite as easy to use, but close
- Similarly quick
- Slightly better edge than the Accusharp, usually
- Exaggerates the problems caused by full length bolsters
- Also removes metal fairly aggressively
- Not too great for serrated knives, though scallop-style serrations can get some benefit from it
No pro sharpener worth a damn will criticize you for bringing in a budget knife. That's how he makes his money. If your knives are so shoddy that they won't take a decent edge (and, true, some knives won't), then he might gently suggest an affordable alternative, preferably not one that he or his associates are selling. I'm not a big fan of most sharpening services run by kitchenware stores - a lot of times, it's just a minimally-trained worker running a Chef's Choice electric sharpener in the back room.
Here is a much more elaborate post about different sharpening options:
cowboyardee, wow - you certainly know a lot about knife sharpeners! Thanks for the comprehensive list of sharpening methods.
My knives are old knives that came from a butcher shop that closed. The blades are very thick & can be sharpened to a razor edge - only thing is the handles are thick wood & certainly have seen better days, but it just shows they were well used.
I would like to purchase a couple of Asian knives, but don't know which brand is best. I will search around on Chow to find a thread on that subject.
Just curious, how do you sharpen a mandoline????
For Asian knives, do you mean European style knives with Japanese hard steel? Or do you mean Japanese style knives with Japanese steel? Also, do you mean Asian knives as in any Asian knives? Or do you mean Japanese knives?
Do you have a budget for your inquisition of the Japanese knives?
For Westernized Japanese knives, Tojiro is a brand of good quality and nice price, especially the DP series:
Thanks for links, am really learning lot. Yes, any Asian knife will do, I just try to stay middle of the road in everything I purchase.
I would like one of those knives that slice tomatoes paper thin.
Maybe what I need is a good knive instead of a mamdoline. I sure like the "crinkle" edges on veggies though.
"My knives are old knives that came from a butcher shop that closed."
Old knives that take razor edges are cool, and any professional sharpener who doesn't think so should be viewed with suspicion and/or contempt. About those handles: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8241...
"Just curious, how do you sharpen a mandoline????"
A straight blade from a mandoline can usually be removed from the device and sharpened on a whetstone without much trouble (if you know how to use a whetstone, that is). They are typically single bevelled - meaning the cutting edge is one-sided, and needs only to be sharpened on one side - and the edge seems to be around 20 degrees (this might vary quite a bit between different makers), though really you'd be examining the blade to figure out exactly how the edge is set and following that geometry (google 'sharpening, magic marker trick' for starters). If you're not decent with stones, it probably wouldn't be the first job I suggest trying. A good pro could handle the job without much trouble at all. A mandoline blade with a zig-zaggy edge.... frankly, that would be such a PITA to sharpen that you'd be better off just buying a new blade (though you technically could sharpen it using a small squared stick and some wet/dry sandpaper with a lot of brow furrowing).
"I would like to purchase a couple of Asian knives, but don't know which brand is best. I will search around on Chow to find a thread on that subject."
There are a lot of threads on the matter. I was avoiding getting too elaborate about a tangential matter, but note that most of the hard knives I was thinking of are actually Japanese. There are some fantastic Japanese knives available at many price points, and what's best depends heavily on what exactly you're looking for.
The food pro can slice if you have the disc but also chop and purée
I use a mandoline for things where I want a very consistent thickness but use a knife where that is not as important.
If you're interested in getting a mandoline, consider a Japanese Benriner. They're inexpensive, work great, and are completely safe when using the cutting guard that comes in the package. And they're easier to clean than a food processor. When storing I keep the guard over the blade with an elastic band in order to avoid accidentally getting a cut. The guard doesn't allow you to slice something as small as garlic. But I would use a knife for that anyway.
I have both FP and a Benriner. The FP has its uses but it doesn't do what a sharp mandoline will do. And even with pretty decent knife skills, and perfectly good and sharp knives, I like to use the Benriner from time to time for ease and uniformity with speed.
And the Benriner's so compact, it barely takes any room in the drawer.
I bought myself a Benriner a couple of years ago and I can't figure out how to use it. very frustrating. can't get the top slidy thing to work.. I've had people at my house who say just don't use it but I really would like to learn to use it the right way and then take it from there. The levers are confusing to me and I can't seem to get the right pressure down. If someone could direct me to a youtube video that would show me how to use a Benriner that would be cool.
Levers? Do you have the large one? It has two set screws under the stage to adjust thickness. The regular one just has one set screw.
If one screw just adjust to the thickness you want. If it's the large mandoline just adjust both screws evenly to the thickness you want
By the "slidy" thing you mean the finger guard, right?
I don't use it until I get down close to the blade but it does work. Some abandon it and use a protective glove. I've learned to stretch my fingers out so the curve upward and can slice pretty far down but it's taking a risk I would suggest to others. If I want that last bit I use the guard
I'm sure there are plenty of vids out there just google it