To prepare foods using this utensil, the item being sliced is held in place with the specially designed Mandoline "holder" or "grip". The holder/grip, which may also be the dial mechanism for adjusting the depth of the cut, firmly holds the food item so it can be manually moved over the specific blade selected for the cut desired. Some utensils have "V" formed blades while others are made with sets of straight blades. Sharpened to a very fine edge, each blade cuts food into thin, uniform slices for use as appetizers, salad ingredients, garnishes, recipe ingredients, or other purposes, such as easily forming shoestring potatoes. The utensil typically has blades that are made to chop, shred, slice, grate, and zest, making thin or thick slices, julienne slices, waffle slices, and other useful cuts.
When selecting a Mandoline for the kitchen, make sure a finger guard is included with the utensil to keep hands safely away from the blade as the food moves across the sharp edges. If sets of blades are included, consider the value of having a holder to keep the sharp blades easily contained and safely stored. Inspect the blades provided, the blade adjustments, the cutting board or surface, the stability of the utensil when being used, and the ease of assembly, disassembly, cleaning, and storage. Also, think about the amount of food anticipated to be processed with the Mandoline, making sure the unit being considered is capable of handling the amount effectively.
When using this utensil, the Mandoline should always be placed directly in front of a person's body, so the direction of the cutting and slicing is straight out from the body and not moving left or right across the front of the body. As the food is moved over the blades, press down on the grip and move it using even pressure and/or motion rather than an intermittent light or heavy pressure or motion. This will result in more consistent cuts and thicknesses. Some food items going through the Mandoline may need to be cut into smaller-sized pieces or pieces with straighter edges prior to slicing. Foods such as beets or potatoes may require some cutting to form the item into a shape that fits easily into the Mandoline.