Tools: Razor-Sharp Paddle of Doom

OK, doom may be a stretch - but this hand-held mandoline puts a serious hurt on anything that gets close to its double-edged blade: cloves of garlic, onions, cucumbers, fingertips, you get the idea. Very thin (2.5mm, or about 1/10”), uniform slices fly off the ceramic blade at an astounding rate; the double-edge means that you can slice on both the downstroke and upstroke, so a clove of garlic disappears in seconds.

What makes this gadget much more useful than a knife or a countertop mandoline is the ability to slice directly into a sauce pan or mixing bowl. Flick paper-thin wisps of garlic right onto your green beans. Float delicate onion rings into sizzling butter, for the start of a great curry. Make a cucumber salad in 30 seconds, without a knife - just shave into a serving bowl and toss with rice wine vinegar and a little sugar. Shred a head of cabbage into cole slaw in 2 minutes flat.

In addition to impressive performance, it’s easy to clean by hand, and also dishwasher safe. Inexpensive, too - about $25.

There are a couple of downsides. At 3”, the blade isn’t very wide; you’ll need to cut large onions in half, and heads of cabbage into quarters to fit. Then there’s the razor-sharp blade. A reviewer on Amazon aptly describes the situation as “99% glorious and 1% terrifying.” The blade is incredibly sharp, and the included plastic finger guard is absolutely useless. Suck it up, and you'll be rewarded with a terrific tool.

Williams-Sonoma has these guys in stock, or available online here.

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