What do the Picklers recommend?
for an inexpensive one, i just bought the kyocera mandoline and LOVE it. i'm totally enamored with their ceramic knives. very light and sharp, also aesthetically pleasing, as they come in cool colors like bright red and green. they're sold on amazon. not sure about quality in the long run, but so far VERY good.
Benriner is the classic most professiona cooks/chefs and even home cooks swear by. The parts are easy to clean, usually warm soap and water and the mandoline itself, clean in the same manner. Yes you might nick yourself, but the Benriner model comes with a part to protect your precious digits. The reason people do cut themselves for the most part is not paying attention, cutting too fast.
I usually like to put a damp towel under the mandoline, and make a 45 degree angle with the mandoline itself to prevent slipping. As long as you keep the parts dry, you should have no problem with rusting.
It's a great tool to have, especially when you need super-thin cut veggies. I've got a stainless steel model by de Buyer - it's kinda big and clunky, and to be honest, I don't use it a whole lot because of its size. I'd recommend getting a benriner like this: http://www.amazon.com/Harold-Import-Company-BN1-Mandoline/dp/B0000VZ57C/ref=sr_1_1?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1300322499&sr=1-1 It's affordable and works like a charm.
Oh, agree with all of the above - great tool, though I was a late convert. I honestly don't know the brand of mine, but it is classified as a V slicer. The two blades form a V, and the physics of it are such that you get much easier slicing for the effort as compared to a single horizontal blade. It has a holder which protects your fingers. Great addition to your tool chest!
Did you see the clip of Amanda on "Today"? No matter which brand you buy, do not, and I can't say it often enough or loud enough even if I used bold, italicized all caps, do not, ever do what she did with those brussels sprouts! Ever!
That said, I love my OXO. So does Cook's Illustrated, which also loved the Joyce Chen Benriner and the Kyocera. CI rated the Kyocera a "Best Buy" because, in addition to its features, it is priced at under $30.
I agree with Immaeatthis.
The cheap Benriner works great. Not as fancy as the V-Cut ones.
But for 90 precent of your use it's perfect, easy to clean.
I inherited a V type one...and it's rarely used.
The cheap Benriner is used a lot. But, might want to spring for the wider model which holds larger items like cabbage for slaw--without having to break down the pieces before hand.
Also note you probably WILL cut your finger on these by being over confident. You do this only once and never again.
I guess I'm old school. I still use a Matfer nicknamed Robespierre. If I were to buy one today I would probably go with DeBuyer. I'm serious about using it for big jobs on everything from precisely cut frittes to waffle cuts. Have I ever cut myself? Yes. But I think I can do that just opening the refrigerator door. Cuts are part of kitchen life. Just have Band-Aids, polysporin and latex gloves handy. Oh, and I get burned alot too.
Just about every model comes with a hand guard but they're kind of clunky to work with. As a precaution wrap your blade hand in a kitchen towel.
I must agree with the group, I have a deBuyer (and use it without the stand and the guard for ease) but I find the cheap ($25) ceramic ones work the best.
Do I dare admit that mine has never been out of the box? I use my Cuisinart slicing blades for everything, and don't have to worry about getting cut.