Thursday, July 23, 2009

Mandoline: 2, Peachy: 0

In recent days the kitchen and I have not been playing well together. A series of unfortunate events began when I tried to use my arch-enemy, the mandoline:

I have never previously owned a mandoline, and only bought this rather expensive one at the exhortations of The Pit, who moaned frequently and dramatically when I asked him to slice potatoes, and explained how much easier the process would be with a device specifically made for thinly slicing vegetables.

While in theory this purchase was a good idea, in practice I cannot assemble the damn thing to save my life, and every time I try, all I manage to do is create a new and unique configuration to thinly slice my fingers. This is incredibly frustrating on several levels. First, there are only 2 plastic pieces that need to be fitted together, plus the blade. It seems like it should be child's play, and in point of fact, after we bought it and The Pit first tried to show me the details of assembly, I said something moronic like "Do I look like an idiot? I can handle that on my own." Oh, pride cometh before the fall people.

The second thing that makes assembly an exercise in frustration is the instruction book, which is entirely useless. It shows plastic pieces A and B fitting neatly together, as if any idiot could just lay them against each other properly. As we've already established, any idiot can't, and a few helpful tips about unlocking certain knobs and making sure various other plastic do-hickies click correctly would have been deeply appreciated. Instead the instruction book has repeatedly been hurled to the floor in fits of anger, and let that be a lesson to it.

The third and possibly most frustrating thing about mandoline assembly is that The Pit does not have any problems with it, and in fact appears to put it together in the exact same manner as I do, expect somehow when he does it the mandoline works as intended.

Anyway, the astute among you will notice that the mandoline in my pictures is assembled incorrectly, causing a large space to form between the the sloping plastic and the metal blade. This assembly configuration was achieved after many many minutes of trying, followed by more minutes studying the instruction book, followed by yet more minutes of assembly and disassembly, predictably followed by the an instruction book being hurled to the floor. This was the best I could do, is what I'm trying to say, and a certain zucchini needed to be turned into thin ribbons post haste, or The Pit and I were going to be late to our dance class that evening.*

However, the aforementioned large space made it practically impossible to thinly slice ribbons of zucchini. Those ribbons at the bottom of the picture were a) fatter than I wanted and b) achieved by attempting to slice a thicker ribbon into two thin ones. Although I knew, knew, that this was a bad idea from the get go, by this point I was incredibly frustrated trying to assemble the mandoline, and freaking out because The Pit was coming home shortly and we needed to eat and be out the door in 30 minutes.

So when The Pit walked in the apartment, he was greeted by me apoplectic with rage at the mandoline, and sucking on my neatly sliced thumb. The rest of the zucchini remained uncut, and dinner was nowhere near ready. Although, you will note that I managed to photograph the object of my wrath for later blogging. Priorities!

All in all, it's a good thing that dance class actually started a half hour later than I thought, because it took a while for The Pit to calm me down, correctly assemble the mandoline, and slice all the vegetables for our dinner. By that point I was ready to face the kitchen again and cook everything together.

However, the upshot of all this drama is that the pasta recipe we made with all those sliced veggies was quite delicious, and I shall return tomorrow to tell you all about it. **

* Why I chose a recipe requiring the mandoline when I knew we might hit a time crunch is a mystery. Hope springs eternal, I suppose.
** I actually started this post to share the recipe, but got a little side-tracked. I trust that nobody is desperately waiting on my blog to start dinner.

Edited to add: Apparently part of the problem is that I can't tell a mandolin from a mandoline. Fixed, even if the blogspot spellcheck doesn't think 'mandoline' is a word. Thanks for the correction Cat.

1 comment:

  1. Boo. I read the title and even most of the first paragraph all excited that you had purchased an actual mandolin. Like the musical instrument. And then I see this picture of a plastic kitchen utensil, seemingly incapable of creating sounds and I realize that I am sorely mistaken. Now I will finish reading your post to see if this disappointment is assuaged by anecdotes of actual events. But taunted as I was by the promise of an awesome musical instrument, it does not bode well.