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November 22, 2014. Time to eat Slower. Because you made dinner faster. When time is tight.

Since I started cooking a few years ago, I’ve really come to appreciate a few kitchen tools that save me lots of time. Time and again. Anyone who spends time in the kitchen would like to find one of these under their tree or in their stocking.

Sharp
I never realized how much Better and Faster you can slice and dice if you just keep your knives sharp. I never really got the technique right for using a sharpening steel, that big metal rod that might have come with your knives. But I get perfect results in less than 10 seconds now that I have the W├╝sthof 2-Stage Knife Sharpener. It’s small and lightweight. Hold it in one hand. You run the knife blade through a pair of properly angled metal blades – three or four passes. Then again through a set of ceramic blades. Your knife’s good as new. So easy you don’t put off the sharpening for another time. $20.

Hardcore
We eat every one of the hundreds of apples and pears we get each Fall from our CSA farm share. But we don’t eat their cores and seeds. No matter how sharp your knife is, it’s not as good as this $9 OXO Good Grips apple corer. Two seconds and the core’s gone. Really great when you’re coring and slicing four or five of them for that Apple Tart Tatin or Pear Gratin.

Thin
This mandoline slicer was a real revelation. Forget about the time-saving benefit. I never knew how it was possible to slice anything so thin. Potatoes, apples, beets. Cabbage for this amazing cole slaw. $69 for this fairly compact device that lets you do a perfect job in seconds. Way Better than a lousy job in many minutes. This smaller handheld mandoline is pretty cool, too. For $15. Both are well-designed, reliable, comfortable – from OXO.

Universal
My food processor does it all. For $179. Makes a big batch of pizza dough in 30 seconds. Makes a large bowl of carrots, onions and celery soffrito-ready. It’s amazing. I never put it away. It’s always on the counter. Always ready to save me more time. Don’t know how I lived without it before. Oh, yeah, I do. I didn’t cook back then. Back when I’d eat a soggy $12 takeout pizza every week because I didn’t make a great one in my own oven for $2.

Whether your time frame is short or long, Better is Cheaper.

The whole Better Cheaper Slower Gift Guide

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