This is a U-shaped vegetable peeler. Well, duh, you’re thinking. Anybody can see that. Perhaps. But you should know this: there is ANOTHER shape of vegetable peeler out there. I’m not even going to bother posting a picture of the other kind of vegetable peeler, because that would be an insult to vegetable peelers everywhere. Only the U-shaped vegetable peeler has the power to change your life.
I never really thought about the difference until my children started at a Montessori school, years ago when they were small. The beauty of a genuine Montessori program is that it teaches kids a lot of very practical skills, including cooking. At this particular school, the children always prepare a Thanksgiving feast that the whole school shares. That first year, somehow or other, I heard about these vegetable peelers being standard Montessori equipment, so I went out that day and bought two. Kids peeling the vegetables? Sounds like a good plan.
And it is. This type of peeler is both safer and simpler for kids (and adults who have a tendency to cut themselves–that would be me). I don’t know how to explain how the motion of using it is different, but it is. It feels more like peeling, as opposed to hacking away large chunks of vegetable. It makes quick work of everything from potatoes to eggplant. And the preschoolers can help with dinner! It’s never too early to earn your keep . . .
The coolest part? The bartender at WD-50 in New York uses one exactly like mine. He takes a large, thin strip of peel off an orange, singes it for a second with a lighter (a giant, dramatic flame flares up), and pops it into a drink. The quick burst of heat releases the oils in the peel and adds a subtle hint of orange to everything from Delaney’s raspberry lemonade to my iced coffee (and probably some real mixed drinks too–but I didn’t have any of those).
I’m sure his mixology would suffer without a u-shaped vegetable peeler.