Where have you been all my life?
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I'll admit that I was initially one of those wary of the vegetable slicers and dicers that you'd see hocked on television infomercials in the wee hours of the morning. I'm prone to going pessimistic when it comes to kitchen tool gizmos that take up precious cabinet space and perform extremely specific functions, like an egg peeler, crème brûlée torch, or raclette cheese melter. Sure, in a late-night dark chocolate-fueled haze I might convince myself that I'd use that celery juicer all the time—seriously, more than anything else in my entire kitchen. In reality, the most it might do is collect dust on the top shelf. I like my celery crunchy, anyway. 

Yet after I kept seeing the Mueller Austria V-Pro Multi-Blade Adjustable Mandoline Slicer on the best-sellers list on Amazon (thanks to over 10,000 reviews), I came to the conclusion—in full daylight hours and without any dark chocolate in my system, mind you—that I've become a regular home cook that slices, dices, and juliennes enough vegetables to warrant the purchase. That, my friends, is what you call personal development. Now a month or two into using the vegetable slicer, I can say it gets plenty of use to justify the cabinet space. 

The best part that I've found about this kitchen tool is that it is incredibly versatile, with five ultra-sharp blade options that are easily interchangeable and can be adjusted for thickness. So depending if you want to slice, dice, shred, or julienne certain vegetables, you can pick the right blade to get it done—and you can turn to the reviews to find all of the very unique ways shoppers have found to use it, whether it be thinly slicing apples to make homemade cinnamon apple chips to turning out zucchini strips for healthy lasagna to even grating cheese in a pinch. (By the way, the grating blade is a game-changer when it comes to making homemade cole slaw and salads.)

One shopper even joked that when using it for the first time, he got so excited that he forewent the hand guard and cut his thumb, but did not let the accident squelch his attitude, posting an image of his bandaged digit and joking, "I give this product a thumb up...Dinner was eventually finished, and we've been using it ever since. Pretty sure this thing will cut meat easily, too. Ask me how I know!" 

Many other reviewers note that using the hand guard, or a protective glove, is highly encouraged. Another of the 8,000 five-star reviews concludes: "It has handled everything we have thrown at it and done it almost perfectly." The general consensus seems to be that it's worth every cent—just be smart! 

My personal favorite ways to use the mandoline so far? Thinly slicing potato rounds to use for cheesy scalloped potato casserole, thickly shredding sweet potatoes to make crispy fries in the air fryer, and getting any and everything from the farmers' market ready to be pickled. I also rely on it to do boring, everyday prep work like dicing onions, shredding carrots, and making squash noodles. 

So if you're ready to make life way easier and prep vegetables for cooking in literal seconds, this might be the affordable kitchen gizmo to get. (SHOP IT: $34.99; amazon.com)

Oh, and did we mention old-school squash casserole? Because that should be first on the to-do list.