Is it Mandolin Slicer or Mandoline?
If you're an experienced cook, there's no question what the mandolin slicer is. For the non-professional or casual cook, it may be something unheard of. This kitchen utensil serves the purpose of slicing uniform pieces of food. It is mainly used for cutting juliennes but can creatively cut or slice almost any type of firm vegetable or fruit.
The concept is simple. Two parallel working surfaces, one surface adjustable and holding a blade, balance the raw food down to the blade where it is sliced and falls to the table below. Other blades are available to fit onto the existing blade, making a maze for certain cuts. Thin or thick, straight or crinkled, the blades turn out perfectly sliced vegetables or fruit for preparation. This manual food processor comes in a variety of different designs and made out of plastic or metal. Professionals opt for the adjustable platform mandoline slicers where some are basic to only certain cuts. The Matfer is also a professional grade mandoline, combining stainless steel and commercial grade plastics for the skilled cook.
Mandolin vs. Mandoline
Mandolin slicers have been around since the 16th century, mentioned in cookbooks with pictures that portray small cutting boards with a central cutting blade and other small blades to the side that were used perpendicular to the main blade. The Italian musical instrument had a role to play in how the cooking utensil copied the name. In the 1930s, mandolines didn't have a small V shaped stand and the cooks would hold the board under their chin, against the chest, slicking vegetables directly into a dish. It quickly caught on as "playing their mandoline." These are different from the "guitar slicers," which work by folding over a food item to slice.
As more and more homes are finding enjoyment in the skill of cooking, mandoline slicers for ameaturs are expanding in the stores. You might have had something similar to this in past years but the true mandoline has extremely sharp blades and great care must be taken when using. Metal gloves are recommended for not only the casual cook but for the experienced, as well. Uniformity does not come without a price and you don't want a limb to become part of the meal. There are many different knives on the market today that also have the same intense sharpness as the blades on a mandoline slicer but without the precision guides, a perfect cut is almost impossible.
Slice almost anything
When looking for your first mandolin slicer, take into consideration what type of cuts you will be trying to achieve. French fries, potato chips, julienne carrots or sliced fruit are but a few of the choices in designing your food for the deep fryer, plate arrangement or casserole. Know how the grip is going to feel and if it is comfortable or awkward. Keeping control of this utensil is imperative.
Once you begin using the mandoline slicer, you will wonder how you ever cooked without one. A meal just seems to taste better when the display is a masterpiece and this is one item that will make your food really stand out with perfection.