Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Camp 2008 -- Finger saving tips

The mandoline -- the sleek hand-operated vegetable-slicer, not the instrument (a mandolin) -- is an essential culinary tool in my book. In the hands of the right person, it saves time and gives many dishes a nice, professional look. The mandoline's sharp blades will slice vegetables to a uniform thickness.

But I don't allow sliced fingers in my kitchen. The bite of the mandoline quickly disfigures in the hands of an untrained operator. One slip quickly means the loss of a finder tip. Any time gained is quickly lost as the chef puts in a 9-1-1 call to the camp nurse.

Each cook who uses the mandoline must study my five rules of mandoline operation. They're designed to save finger tips and to speed up production. They are:
  1. No multitasking when using the mandoline; your single job at this point is to cut the food and to watch the blade, because it bites.
  2. Use the blade guard at all times; it will protect you fingers.
  3. No distractions allowed; this means no talking and no visiting when cutting on the mandoline.
  4. Know where you fingers are at all times; otherwise, you'll find them when the blade bites.
  5. Your finder is more valuable than the last bit of food; in other words, you don't have to be a hero and balance the food budget with the mandoline.

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