Benriner Mandoline & Turning Slicer, Kevlar Gloves

sliced cucumbers, potatoes and summer squash

Shortly after posting the summer squash spaghetti entry, I received a message on Facebook from a reader. It said: “I just ordered the mandoline! My husband is shaking his head. Just wait!” Shortly after reading the comment, a few images flashed through my head: a dismembered finger, an angry husband, and a couple sitting in the ER waiting room cursing my name. What had I done?! Statements and suggestions from that post had to be followed up, sooner rather than later.

Let’s start from the beginning. In that post, I noted that I prefered my Benriner mandoline to my Benriner turning slicer for the long thin wisps it creates. This is true. The Benriner mandoline is great for, among many reasons, creating julienned summer squash and cucumbers, for slicing potatoes into rounds to be baked or fried into chips, and for thinly slicing radishes and kohlrabi for salads. Moreover, it, unlike some mandolines, can be adjusted so that it truly makes paper-thin slices (others stop at 1/4-inch or 1/8-inch).

What I perhaps love most about the Benriner mandoline, however, is its size, which measures only 13.5 x 6 x 1-inch, making it compact enough to fit right against the inside wall of any of my kitchen cupboards, allowing for easy access and stowage. Having never owned any other mandoline, I have only my mother’s to compare, which sits in the same cumbersome box in which it was packaged and lives someplace in her basement. It’s no wonder she never uses it.

The Benriner mandoline is not perfect, however, and if you decide to get one, it is important to keep a few things in mind:

1. Because it is handheld, it is necessary to have some way of securing its bottom edge while you are using it. I have a wooden cutting board with a back raised ledge (see videos below), which works perfectly, but a wall (if your counters aren’t too deep) or a brick (maybe?) could serve the same purpose.

2. Because it does not have one of those protective plastic shields — or if it came with one, I have no idea where it is — it has the potential to seriously injure whoever is operating it. With this is mind, reader Dee G left a great comment on the pasta post: “Love my mandoline, and I use it with no fear after purchasing kevlar gloves from Amazon. I could never make the pushing thing work for me and always used my fingers…a dangerous proposition. Those gloves are simply fantastic! And you really only need one, so buy a pair and share with a friend. I promise you’ll use that mandoline much more often!”

Dee G was right. The gloves give you all the confidence you need to pass any vegetable swiftly down the mandoline plane right through the razor sharp blade. I purchased these kevlar gloves and would like to share one half of my pair with one of you. Leave a comment if you are interested.

3. Finally, Kevlar glove on or off, the Benriner mandoline is not the best tool for certain jobs. Julienning potatoes, for instance, I found to be very challenging with the Benriner mandoline. In contrast, the turning slicer seemed to magically and effortlessly multiply my single potato into a beautiful web of thinly sliced strands, the perfect shape for frites (or a frites nest I should say).

In sum, if you’re in the market for a mandoline, I highly recommend the Benriner, but I would sleep better knowing you purchased a pair of kevlar gloves along with it. And if you have room for another gadget, the Benriner turning slicer (I’ve discovered this past week) does in fact have a place in the kitchen — for certain vegetables it is a much safer and better tool to use than a mandoline, and if you’re at all frightened by the idea of using a mandoline, the turning slicer might be the way to go.

fried potatoes

slicers & kevlar gloves

This salad is so summery and refreshing, perfect aside grilled meat or fish.
cucumber, feta and mint salad

potatoes & slicers

Benriner slicers

One note: I used a cucumber that I had sliced on the turning slicer for this salad. It was beautiful but a little bit awkward to serve — the turning slicer creates insanely long strands of whatever it is slicing up. One way to avoid this situation is to either use a mandoline or a knife (neither a turning slicer or mandoline is necessary to cut up cucumbers — just slice the cucumber into thin rounds or small dice) or to chop up the cucumber “nest” created by the turning slicer before tossing it with the feta, mint and dressing.

Cucumber, Feta and Mint Salad
Serves: However many you like

cucumbers, julienned or diced or sliced into rounds
feta cheese
mint, thinly sliced
extra-virgin olive oil
white balsamic vinegar

1. Combine cucumbers, feta and mint in a bowl. Toss with equal parts olive oil and white balsamic. As a reference, I used 1 tablespoon of olive oil and one tablespoon of vinegar for the 1 cucumber I sliced up. Season with salt if necessary — I found that the feta added enough saltiness so I didn’t add any additional salt.

cutting board

cucumber, feta and mint salad

fried potatoes

Comments

  1. says

    Kevlar gloves, What a great invention! I wonder if they could save my left index fingernail which I have cut many times while chopping things.

  2. Elsie says

    I had never seen the Benriner turning machine before your post. Are they expensive? Mandolines are strange things. I have a Bron one which was expensive, and I really disliked using it. I finally bought an OXO one which I love. The Bron now sits, unloved and unwanted in a cupboard.

  3. says

    Thank you for this post! I was just about to hang-up my mandolin in fear. I’ve tried and tried to work with that awkward plastic food grabber/shield thingy, but it’s no use. the kevlar glove is a genius idea! I think this will have me slicing away fearlessly in no time. I must find one, until then please count me in for your giveaway.

  4. says

    ooh, yes! i would love a glove. i have an OXO slicer and the plastic guard it comes with it way to bulky- and it wastes food. so i have always meant to get a glove. thanks!

  5. Linda says

    I really need to get a kevlar glove! Thank you for highlighting both the mandoline and the turning slicer. I dug my old cheapo turning slicer (Spirooli!) out of the cabinet for the summer squash spaghetti, and LOVED it (the recipe, I mean). I have been known to nick my fingers on both the spiral slicer and my OXO mandoline, just setting the blades in place…so I should probably be a two-glover in the kitchen.

  6. SM says

    Hi Alexandra,
    This one makes me want to buy one. But I already have an oneida mandoline, with a holder, which is quite useless. Every time i see it lying uselessly in the cupboard I feel guilty. Plus I am so clumsy in the kitchen that I am always having burns and cuts on my hands. the turning slicer looks pretty safe.

  7. Rick says

    Kevlar Gloves sound Uber cool!!

    I just use the guard that came with my Benriner from Benriner.com. These are the best japanese mandolines out there!

  8. says

    Thanks for the video! I’m the one that made the comment on facebook about a video request. My mandolin arrived about 3 days after I ordered it so I have tried it out for the spagetti/squash recipe with much success.(no lost skin) The family loved the recipe!
    I had used a bowl & the plastic veggie holder working very carefully.
    Will use a cutting board similar to yours for the next forays into slicing. Thanks

    Diana

    • says

      Diana! So happy yo hear that the mandoline has been a success and that, more importantly, all of your fingers are still in tact! Thanks so much for the inspiration for the post.

  9. Christine says

    I’ve always wondered whether those gloves would really protect my fingers when slicing. Like SM, I often sport burns and scrapes from kitchen mishaps!

  10. huebscher says

    my mom was an early adopter of the mandoline (25 years ago), but following a scare, the one she had was quickly shoved to the back of the cabinet. I carry enough of her residual anxiety (and accident-prone genes) that the Kevlar gloves have been sitting in my amazon cart for months. This has been a good reminder to pull the trigger … especially because we’ve already made the summer squash spaghetti twice since you posted it! (thanks for that, btw.)

  11. Celina says

    I just bought the Benriner mandoline last week. I love chopped and julienned vegetables, but I hate chopping. I’ve made your zucchini and pecorino cheese recipe twice since. However, I just sliced my finger last night. The kevlar glove would have a good home here and it would be used to make the same yummy recipes of it’s twin. Love your blog.

    • says

      Celina — Oh no! So sorry to hear about the sliced finger… the kevlar glove might be a must for you. I will report back soon. And yes, the search button was long over due!

  12. Nancy says

    Me, too!!! I wanna glove!!! I think you might have a new business, selling single gloves to all of us!!! You buy a bunch of packages, and mail out single gloves at a price you determine :)

    I’ve always been intimidated by 1)using a mandolins 2) confused by the great variety and huge gap in price points. I LOVE your instructional videos and suggestions.

    One more question. If I have a cuisinart, are there advantages to also owning a mandolins? Do you have both, and if yes, when do you grab each of them?

    • says

      Nancy, hi! I started this comment last night and halfway through writing it, the power went out! Anyway, it’s back on now, and I have answers for you!

      1. I’ve always wanted to start my own business… hmmm.

      2. There are definitely advantages to owning both a mandoline and a cuisinart. I like to use the mandoline for quick jobs: slicing radishes, carrots, potatoes (in rounds), kohlrabi, cucumbers, summer squash etc. It’s nice to use the mandoline when the shape of the final product is going to be visible such as in salads and pasta dishes, etc. The Cuisinart, however, is especially handy for making things like pesto, and for grinding nuts to a fine powder, and for puréeing raisins for bran muffins, and for making mayonnaise (blog entry coming soon), and for chopping tons of herbs. Also, if you want to make a carrot cake and need to slice up a lot of carrots, the slicing attachment on the food processor works great. And, I would even say if you are making a big slaw, the slicing attachment is great for quickly shredding carrots and cabbage and whatever vegetable you might want to add.

      I hope that helps!

  13. Anna says

    I have around 5 scars on my right hand from my mandoline! The injuries are always so annoying as they go quite deep and bleed for a while – and just at the point when you need to use your hands to finish the prep and cook the meal you are meant to be making! I once had to improvise for bandages by using a christmas napkin, a load of sellotape and bubble wrap. That also served as a nice guard while I carried on using the mandolin. And the potato gratin and roast chicken was totally worth it.

    I would love your spare glove, as would my housemate who then wouldn’t have to worry every time I tell him to watch out for a little chunk of flesh that might be (probably is) somewhere in the food.

  14. maria says

    I LOVE your Julia Child note cards. Do you ship to Canada? I tried to order via your site, but there was no option for other countries…

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