Food & Home Housewares

Make It Homemade: Slice and Dice

While my husband does have a MacGyver streak in him and can do wonders with a roll of duct tape, he always reminds me how the right tool for the job can make all the difference. And the same is true in the kitchen. Almost every meal relies on some amount of chopping, peeling, mincing, cutting, dicing or slicing. Fun? Not exactly. But the right tool can make the process faster, easier and safer.

First I had the chance to try out the Food Chopper by The Pampered Chef. This manual chopper makes easy work out of cutting up everything from garlic and onions (tear-free!) to pecans and chocolate. Seen that tempting mirepoix soup starter at Trader Joes? Seems like it would save so much time chopping up onions, carrots and celery for your Sunday soup, right? But with a few bangs of the hand, you can easily mince up a perfect mirepoix for half the price. Need a handful of nuts to top off a strudel or to throw into some banana bread? Why waste the time of getting out the food processor for such a small amount? The Food Chopper easily and quickly cuts, chops and dices. I also love that it’s a safe and easy way for the kids to help with food prep, and, when it’s too early for a glass of wine, provides a productive way to get out some aggression while prepping dinner at the same time. (Available at The Pampered Chef for $31)

But sometimes, a perfect slice is what you need. I also tried out the Twin Signature 3-Piece Starter Cutlery Set by J.A. Henckels which includes an 8″ Chef’s Knife, 6″ Utility Knife, and a 4″ Pairing Knife. The first thing you’ll notice – of course with any new knife – is how incredibly easy they cut. It made me immediately get out the rest of my knives and sharpen them. Really, when you have to struggle to peel a kiwi, it’s time to sharpen. A sharp blade is more than just about slicing a tomato without squishing it or cleaning chopping an onion. It’s about safety. Jobs like cutting a carrot in half – which may have given me pause with my old knives – were effortless (and much safer) with the 8″ Chef’s Knife. And the 4″ Pairing Knife peeled my kiwi with ease.

(Need to sharpen your own knives? Check out this how-to on the J.A. Henckels site.)

The second thing I noticed was how lightweight the knives were. With a household of three growing boys and a constantly ravenous husband, I do a fair amount of cooking and having knives that didn’t tire my hand out were a real plus. Plus the ergonomic handles made the knives easy to hold.

If you’ve had the same knife set you got for your wedding eons ago, consider upgrading to the Twin Signature 3-Piece Starter Cutlery Set, regularly $145; on sale now for $79.99.

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Samples were provided for this review.

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