Too Many Choices and a Mandolin

Last week, I wrote about caramelized onions and how nice it is to have that delectable treat on hand. Why had I not made them in a couple of years? Then I pondered. An onion can be difficult to cut uniformly, so it becomes a cumbersome task. I remembered a gadget I once had called a mandolin. Its sole purpose is to uniformly cut fruits and vegetables with a sharp blade attached to a platform. Even a person with excellent knife skills cannot do what a mandolin does; it can cut almost any vegetable or fruit paper thin. It also waffle cuts and juliennes.

Once upon a time I had a mandolin. It was stainless steel, clunky, and bulky with multiple parts that I found very confusing. Try as I might, I never could get the hang of using it and eventually passed it on. There were a few times where I did have the patience and the result was awesome: vegetables cut with precision and accuracy which elevated my creations to an art form. Curious, I wanted to know if the mandolin had evolved over the years.

When I googled “best vegetable slicer mandolin” I was dismayed to find myself lost in a sea of reviews. Consumer Reports wrote that there were over 100 models currently available. I read reviews from Bon Appetit, Food Network, Good Housekeeping, New York Times, Serious Eats, All Recipes, and a few others. There was even a site that reviewed the reviews. Really? Add to that all the reviews written by professional chefs. To further muddle matters, some models were touted by one site as being the best and then the same model was dissed by another. Each site had a different favorite. Will the real mandolin please stand up?  I read so many reviews and articles about mandolins that I started to lose interest and think that a sharp knife would work just fine. The price range was from $20 to $200 but more money didn’t correlate to a better product. Down the rabbit hole I went and after over two hours of perusing, a clear winner did not appear. I was mentally exhausted from sorting this out. I’ve heard of a phenomena called “decision fatigue” and yes, it’s a definitely a “thing” in our modern society. There were so many versions and options that no matter which choice I made, it seemed it would not be the right one. After reading the many reviews, there wasn’t a mandolin that was a cut above the rest.

I finally decided on one that was twenty dollars, easy to store, and razor sharp. Stay tuned next week; I will reveal who the winner is!