A handy little chopper that's actually fun to use
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Zyliss food chopper
Credit: Bed Bath & Beyond

If you’ve got a kid who wants to help out in the kitchen but isn’t quite old enough to be trusted with serious cooking tools, you’ll love this hand-powered food processor. Made by Zyliss, it’s a simple device that quickly and easily chops up food with a few pulls of a handle.

The Easy Pull Food Chopper and Manual Food Processor gives budding cooks an important job to do while saving you loads of prep time. (And tears, if you’re cutting onions!) Just put the ingredients in the bowl, secure the lid on top, and pull the cord as many times as you want. Pull it five times to roughly chop tomatoes for homemade salsa. Ten pulls will get you a container of finely minced herbs. Or keep right on pulling to puree soft foods like melon, berries, bananas, and yogurt to make a smoothie. The bowl can hold up to three cups, which is just the right size for everyday recipes. To properly use it, you need to place one hand on the lid, and use your other hand to pull the cord. My four-year-old son figured it out how to use it on the first try, saying, “This is good exercise!”

Of course, there are extremely sharp blades inside this gadget, which is why it works so well. If you’re cooking with children, always keep an eye on what they are doing, and be sure to handle the blades yourself.

This compact gadget is a handy addition to any kitchen, whether you have kids or not. It’s ideal for prepping a small amount of ingredients (like the “holy trinity”) when you don’t want to chop everything by hand, or pull out a large, heavy food processor. It’s also an easy thing to pack if you’re camping or taking a car trip and staying in a rental house with a kitchen.