Instant Expert: Meet the Mandoline

It seems fancy, but using a mandoline is easier than it looks.

In honor of all things French (hey, Paris Fashion Week has influenced us in every way), we want to introduce you to the mandoline. Sure, it's fancy-sounding, but this kitchen tool isn't tough to use. Well, unless you get it confused with the musical instrument — a mandolin.

What it is: You know when you see perfect slices of fruits and veggies in a restaurant? Yeah, a mandoline does that. It can have a straight edge or a v-blade (like the one in the pic, above). A mandoline helps you cut up the ingredients for dinner without putting in too much effort.

Why you need it: The mandoline allows you to prep with extreme precision without having to use a knife — think uniformly sliced potatoes.

Where to buy: You can pick one up just about anywhere — from Williams-Sonoma to Target. It needs to be durable enough to handle a whole lot of root vegetables while still maintaining its ability to cut soft fruit like tomatoes. And make sure it has a secure hand guard that you ALWAYS use to protect your fingers. Mandoline blades are extremely sharp — you don't want your hand to slip!

A mandoline to try: The OXO one pictured above comes with four blades and a textured surface to prevent food from sticking to the tool.

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