I have to admit, the worst cut I got in cooking school was from using a mandoline. I have since learned a couple of important safety tips and now find the mandoline a very valuable kitchen tool. It can greatly decrease prep time by making quick work of slicing and dicing and aids in achieving a super thin slice. I use it for everything from carrots to onions to zucchini to cheese. When purchasing a mandoline don't go for the frills. I like the Japanese version the best. It's small, compact, and really easy to clean. Plus it's less than $25.
If your mandoline comes with a guard, use it! There is no better way to keep your fingers and palm safe. If you don’t have a guard follow these few simple rules:
- If slicing something into rounds, always keep your finger tucked. See photo above
- If slicing something into strips, always keep your palm flat and your fingers lifted.
- When you reach the bottom of the item you are slicing use the heel of your hand to push.
- Always keep your blade sharp! It might sound counter-intuitive, but a dull blade is more dangerous, since you will end up struggling to slice, and are more likely to slip and cut yourself in the process.