You always want what you don't have, or in my case, I never knew I wanted what I wanted until I needed it. In this case, it's a kitchen mandolin, also known as a slicer contraption (not unlike those as-seen-on-TV kitchen miracle gadgets).
When we registered for our wedding, I had no idea this handy little tool even existed, or else I definitely would have registered for it. Growing up, we sliced everything by hand, and my dad - being a pro chef - didn't even need a sharp Santoku in order to thinly slice his potatoes, tomatoes, and onions. I figured that thin slicing was simply a skill naturally acquired upon growing up, or perhaps as a result of inheriting his talented culinary genes. Not so.
I am a terrible slicer. Tonight, in trying to thinly slice my sweet potatoes (to make sweet potato chips in the oven), I nearly thinly sliced my finger off. Thankfully, no blood was shed and no sweet potato was wasted, but there were a few near-misses and close calls. Some of my slices from my just-sharpened Henckels knife managed to reach optimal thinness, but just as many ended up sort of thick, and a few ended up being half-moon shaped bits.
So now I'm seriously considering putting down good money on a slicer. Although I think my food processor also has a slicing function, a cursory cost-benefit analysis of using that monstrous beast of a small kitchen appliance shows that this is not a viable option. The time I would need to spend dragging that thing out, setting it up, taking it apart, cleaning it, reassembling it, and putting it away would far outweigh any benefits enjoyed from having thinly sliced delicious sweet potato chips. A mandolin, on the other hand, is small and easy to clean, and is designed specifically for such an event as making oven-baked chips. It would also make slicing tomatoes for my bison burgers a much more appealing task.
Now I just have to convince Hubbs that I *need* a mandolin. He isn't always easy to persuade, especially since several costly small appliances still sit inside our kitchen shelves unused.
I will also have to price out a quality mandolin. I thought my Pampered Chef chopper (an impulse buy) would be durable, but with just one drop it fell apart and broke. I've since learned my lesson and now I will be dutifully doing my google research before investing in another chopper (though I have to confess, Slap Chop Vince almost has me convinced already).
If you can recommend a good mandolin and save me some time, let me know! Until then, I guess I'll have to deal with burnt chips, crispy chips, and thick sweet potato slices that aren't very chippy at all.