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Kitchen gadgets that perform any way you slice it

Consumer Reports News: February 15, 2012 04:58 PM

With their low prices and promise of less work, new eye-catching kitchen gadgets are many a cooks’ impulse buy. But once you get one home there’s no guarantee that it won’t end up in the junk drawer along with your other castoffs. To prevent that, Consumer Reports tested 40 kitchen gadgets—peelers, graters, zesters, garlic presses, can openers and more—and found several that live up to their promises and others that don’t.

In addition to the 10 vegetable peelers, five can openers and other utensils tested in our kitchens, we tried three affordable mandolins. You can pay $100 or more for one of these slicers but the ones in our tests ranged in price from $18 to $25. We sliced tomatoes, onions, cucumbers and zucchini.

Like traditional mandolins, using the Food Network and Zyliss models entails sliding the vegetables over the blade. We found the Zyliss easier to use and clean and it produced slices of a consistent size. Slicing tomatoes on the Food Network model, however, was more problematic and it’s not dishwasher safe.

The third model, by Michael Graves, works by putting the vegies into a chamber and then squeezing the handle to force the food through the blades. All-in-all it was an awkward affair with food having to be cut to fit the chamber before pressure was applied. Watch the video to see some of our other winners.

Mary H.J. Farrell

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