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Just discovered: Life can be easier. Really.

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It will cost you, just not as much as you might think. I thought it would be wildly expensive, an extravagance I could do without. And so I made a sort-of martyr of myself anytime I wanted to, you know, slice potatoes.

Or julienne carrots. Or any of those prep tasks that require the precision of a trained chef or engineer or at the very least someone who actually cares whether all the cucumber slices are paper thin. (Me, I’m good if maybe a third of my cucumber slices are as flimsy as the recipe requires. In my house, who’s gonna complain about thick-ish cucumber slices on little tea sandwiches? We are not that evolved yet.)

As I’ve not yet mastered the knife skills necessary for paper-thin anything, I caved and bought a tool. I try to steer clear of kitchen tools that promise much but then just contribute to life’s clutter. (Similarly, I try to steer clear of people who do the same thing.) But a mandoline has always been the object of my kitchen-tool coveting, even though I tried to do the quasi-philosophical thing and go without.

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Besides, mandolines, in my shopping experience, tend to be pricey. They can be cool-espresso-machine pricey. “It”-hair-dryer pricey. Even pretty-clutch-from-ShopBop-I-must-have-you-for-Fall pricey.

Except for this one — the Benriner Japanese Mandoline Slicer (yes, all you language people, we’ve got some serious redundant phrasing going on there). I first saw it on Michael Ruhlman’s blog, and then kept running into it everywhere, as though it were saying, pick me! At around $23, how could I not?

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