the mystery of the mandolin

When Saucy and Veto were married in 2004 they were showered with great gifts. They carefully opened each wrapped parcel, admired it, and made a careful note of who sent it... and sent thank you cards. Now, Saucy isn't going to get all soapbox on you today and chirp about how nobody sends nice thank you's anymore... why, it's almost becoming a long lost art. But having being raised by The Fan who placed a pen firmly in Saucy's hand when she was old enough to utter the phrase "thank you" it was without any discussion that notes would be sent out, pronto.

The other thing you might know about Saucy is that she really, really likes giving gifts and even more than that - she is not afraid to admit - she loves getting gifts. She is grateful for gifts. She can tell you, to this day, who gave what for a birthday or a wedding gift and she always thinks of the gift giver when she uses the whatever it is. She is particular that way and she also tends to hang onto items if she is particularly fond of the gift giver, even if the item is not in style or useful anymore.

Hell, she got rid of the first husband she didn't like anymore but she kept the cookware from his great aunt because she really liked the lady. The cookware wasn't even that great but the aunt was super nice.

Enter: the mandolin. For those of you not in the know, a mandolin is a handy kitchen slicer that allows you to quickly graze through just about anything with the speed of a hummingbird and the sharpness of a Japanese Ginsu knife. It's especially handy for slicing potatoes and there one sat amongst the rubble of pastel tissue paper after all the wedding gifts were opened... without a gift card.

The mandolin sent Saucy on an investigative bender that would have made Cagney & Lacey tired. She cross-referenced her invitation list to the list of gifts more than a few times. She contacted the store where the wedding registry was and there was no record of the purchase to follow.

It was a true mystery. Saucy was mortified that she wasn't able to send a proper thank you for the slicer. She thinks about it every time she uses it, including today, when she made homemade potato chips. She almost feels guilty using it, having never properly acknowledged the gift. She really is thankful for it.

It slices Yukon Gold potatoes perfectly evenly without fear of bloodshed. Today Saucy made work of six peeled spuds in about three minutes. They key to perfect potato chips is even slicing - they cook up evenly to a crisp perfection.

After slicing, immediately place the potatoes in very cold, heavily salted water (see the ice up in there) and let them soak for a minimum of thirty minutes, up to an hour. This removes the starch and allows for a much crispier crunch.

Drain the slices thoroughly and remove all water before frying - here, Saucy lays them out in small batches to pat dry on clean tea towels. She kind of works in batches, from the ice water to the strainer, to the towel, to the oil... which is heated to about 400 degrees. They fry up in seven to ten minutes depending on how many slices you put in the fryer. Saucy just fries in light canola oil, by the way. Any light vegetable oil is nice for this job...

... the last stop being a couple of layers of paper towel laid over an old clean tea towel. This is where the excess hot oil will fade away leaving a very crispy chip.

Can you just about reach out to taste them? Are you or are you not thankful for the gift of the mandolin right now? Saucy bets you want one now, too. It's damn handy. You really should ask for one.

By the way, these chips were seasoned with a little mixture of seasoning salt, garlic powder, paprika and a touch of cayenne pepper. You can adjust your seasoning to taste but simply sprinkling white vinegar and some sea salt on these chips is so, so good. So good.

Today's chips packed lots of heat, as Loopy is deeply in love with the cactus fries at Boston Pizza. She concocted the perfect version of their dip using equal parts Caesar salad dressing and sour cream with a "shake shake" of grated parmesan cheese. Loopy wanted you to know she said "shake shake," and that's her accurate measurement.

Anyway... Saucy just wants to send one more thank you up to the universe to whoever sent the mandolin to her and Veto's wedding, she thinks about your anonymous self every time she slices with it.


Mrs. G. said...

I have always been afraid of the mandolin but those chips look good. Also, I started my thank you notes on my wedding night...pathological southern thing laced with Catholic guilt.

Karen said...

I used my mandolin last night and made chips! I will try the ice water next time though!


I bought a Mandolin with my Christmas money, but have never used it. I need to! Those chips look amazing!

Gail said...

Sliced my finger one Christmas Eve on the mandolin and it was so traumitc I threw it out. Kinda wish I kept it now, those chips look yummy.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

I'm a stickler on the thank yous, too. I'd be so mortified to have a lovely gift with no clue who to thank, but your post is a great way to handle it.

MJ said...

I have a mandolin. I'm not sure where it may be. I think I used it once to grate cheese. I should probably drag it out, at least to get the girls to use it.

But, in all honesty, I zipped over here thinking you had taken up a new instrument & were now playing music with Loopy!

MJ said...

PS: Someone just the other week made reference to the most interesting method of wrapping a knife in a hoagie as a wedding gift as seen at my wedding :)

I carefully guard that knife & think of you whenever I use it!

Sandra D said...

You have the best stories. It is wonderful that they always involve delicious food and that you include excellent tutorials. My husband loves the cactus cut chips at BP too. Thanks for sharing your version.

the treat girl said...

I can't believe you did a post on your madolin....and that I am reading it today...the first anniversary of my mother in laws death....we miss her so very much...but I inherited her mandolin and coleslaw recipe. I have no idea how I had survived without one! I looooove it and use it almost every week. I must try your potato chip recipe dad made them a lot when I was a little girl and I need to get making them too A:) Thank you!! ( And btw...I am a HUGE thank you note writer too!!!)

Hunny Bunny said...

What a wonderful gift and measurement. I know live rather close to Boston but when we lived in AK we got a Bostons Pizza and it was a pretty big deal. As it looks like a Mandolin should be. Enjoy those chips for the rest of us who don't have such marvelous things.