“ Type: Food Chopper „
Ever since I started watching Nigella Lawson's shows on cooking, I've wanted one of those nifty, curved herb choppers. They look so stylish and handy. What's more, after an injury to my left hand, I'm now unable to totally bend one of my fingers. This means that I can no longer use that professional chopping method of curling my knuckles to guide the knife when I'm trying to finely chop herbs. So this seemed just the thing for someone like me who doesn't have the best knife skills in the world.
When I found this one at Ikea I thought it would be absolutely perfect. Simply stated, and as you can see from the picture, this is a piece of stainless steel that's been bent over in the middle with the edges curved to form a set of double blades. The curvature of the blades is supposed to allow you to rock and roll (hence the title here) the knife edge over the herbs to chop them all up. This comes with its own cutting board which has an indentation in the middle which is meant to help contain the leaves as you cut them up. The board is about 15-17cm square, and the little well in the middle is about 12cm in diameter. The handle of the chopper is about 10cm long, which is large enough for big hands but not too large for small ones like mine. By the way, the board comes untreated, so you'll have to season it before you use it.
All of this sounds pretty good, right? So now you're wondering why I'm giving this item only two stars out of five. Well, there are several reasons, actually. The first one has to do with the board. While the idea of the well to contain the herbs is a good one, but I think they were a tad skimpy here. I find the well a bit too shallow to contain even a small amount of herbs. Had they made the board a bit larger and then had room to make the well a bit deeper, this would have solved the problem. Also, the curve of the well is shallower than the curve of the blades. I assume they found this necessary to promote the rock and rolling, but I've gotten equal results on a totally flat board. So while the board is pretty, it is far from ideal for this purpose. Not a total loss though, since it will come in handy to serve soft cheeses or scrape my vanilla pods on.
As for the chopper itself, the big question is, does it chop up the herbs nicely. Unfortunately, I can't give this an unqualified yes. For chopping curly parsley and dill or other smaller leafed herbs, this seems to work okay with small to medium quantities. But as soon as you move over to larger or thicker leafed herbs like flat parsley, basil or sage, or you have a large quantity to chop, you have a problem. The blades here don't seem quite sharp enough to really cut up the larger leaves, and it has a big problem with thicker herbs like sage or rosemary. Even when I use a regular board, this doesn't get me a really nice, fine chop, and seems to leave me more with a mashed up mess. So while it will work okay for some herbs, it certainly isn't the be all and end all of herb choppers.
The other problem I have with this chopper is the cleaning up. They say this is made out of stainless steel. Now, I don't know about you, but when I see the word "stainless" I figure I can rinse this off and leave it to dry and it will be fine. Why, then, did I find water marks and what looked like the beginning of rust stains on this after I rinsed it off and let it hang up to dry? The thing is, the distance between the blades at the sharp side isn't very wide, making wiping the inside both awkward and potentially dangerous. The only way to dry it off after cleaning is to thread a cloth inside the handle and then pull it out in a downward fashion, from between the blades. I'm sorry, but that seems a bit of a bother to me, and I would have preferred this to be easier to clean, or at least dishwasher safe (which it isn't).
So while this seemed like a good idea at the time, I'm afraid this just doesn't get my stamp of approval. The board itself is okay, but just a touch too small and the well doesn't help much. The blades don't chop things as nicely as I would have wanted them to and the chopper itself isn't all that easy to clean. So that's why I'm giving this product only two stars and cannot recommend it, despite the reasonable price.
Thanks for reading!
Davida Chazan © June, 2008
This product is exclusive to Ikea and sells there for £5.99 and can be found on their website at http://www.ikea.com/gb/en/catalog/products/90082360. You cannot buy this on-line, and only at one of their stores.
Stainless steel blade.