Kitchen essentials | the grater

Click to follow
Indy Lifestyle Online

When the next edition of the OED is published, the definition for grater should read: "(noun) a kitchen utensil designed to remove skin from fingertips and knuckles while possibly shredding cheese etc". No one has invented the perfect grater. But there is one surefire way to avoid flayed flesh, and a number of other compromises with their own virtues.

When the next edition of the OED is published, the definition for grater should read: "(noun) a kitchen utensil designed to remove skin from fingertips and knuckles while possibly shredding cheese etc". No one has invented the perfect grater. But there is one surefire way to avoid flayed flesh, and a number of other compromises with their own virtues.

The way round the bleeding problem is using a drum, turned by a handle, which is held in place by a hinged clamp. Put the cheese in the clamp, press hard, turn the handle. You won't scar your skin. The disadvantage is that you can only grate small pieces of cheese. I've tried a few versions, but the basic design - identical to the one I first used in my mother's kitchen decades ago - remains the best.

The other solutions are all variations on the age-old theme of a flat sheet of metal punched with cutting edges. You expose your skin - but for simplicity it takes a lot of beating. The all-metal, four-sided design (two or three sizes of grating edge plus an ineffectual slicer) is the most familiar. Much, much better is the one shown here. It comes from Good Grips and it has the company's trademark - an easily gripped elastomer - on both handle and feet.

The other amazing grater of our era is the Microplane. Unlike most graters, in which the metal is punched out, the Microplane is chemically etched. It makes short work not just of cheese but of ginger, garlic, even chocolate. Very expensive, and worth every penny. Exclusive to Lakeland (tel: 015394 88100).

Comments