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What is a mandoline?

A mandoline is a life-changing utensil that can also slice off your fingers if you don't use it carefully.

A rectangular device made from wood, metal or plastic and embedded with a razor-sharp blade, it allows you to slice vegetables, fruits and other foods to a paper-thin delicacy and perfect uniformity that is unachievable with a knife. Mandolines have straight or grooved fittings that allow you to julienne carrots or make perfectly crinkle-cut potatoes.

The mandoline is used by sliding the vegetable back and forth across the blade, which is held at a slant. Professional mandolines have a folding mechanism and are expensive; the home cook may opt for a cheap plastic Japanese mandoline that does the job well and comes with a hand guard that is highly recommended. You can also use a protective metal glove.

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