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The new onion dicers


KitchenQueen
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Don't you have to pre-slice the onions horizontaly?  If not, won't you end up with matchstick (depending on the size of the squares) slices of onion?

Thanks,

Kevin

I'm so glad you asked this question; I've been wondering the same thing. I bumped this up to emphasize the question. OK, gadgeteers: how does pushing down on a grid produce dice instead of matchsticks?

Um, it's an onion, so it's already sliced horizontally, so to speak, since it's made up of layers. Do you slice your onions horizontally when using a knife to dice?

One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.

Virginia Woolf

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Don't you have to pre-slice the onions horizontaly?  If not, won't you end up with matchstick (depending on the size of the squares) slices of onion?

Thanks,

Kevin

I'm so glad you asked this question; I've been wondering the same thing. I bumped this up to emphasize the question. OK, gadgeteers: how does pushing down on a grid produce dice instead of matchsticks?

Um, it's an onion, so it's already sliced horizontally, so to speak, since it's made up of layers. Do you slice your onions horizontally when using a knife to dice?

Color me ignorant as I don't slice onions except as a rarity, and then to just halve or quarter them as I tear greatly. Now that I've been chastised for not knowing onions come "already sliced" :wacko: I can better decide if I'll buy a chopper as I can take a minute or two of the cut onions if I get a quick dice.

It truly never occured to me that onions are 'pre-sliced'. I guess Smithy and I are of the same ilk.

Kevin

DarkSide Member #005-03-07-06

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I have found it is quicker to cut the onion in half, cut the top and bottoms off, pop off the outer layer and line them up on the cutting board.

I then put each half on the dicer, push down and if I am using the alligator, lift the cutting part which dumps the dice off onto the cuttin board on the other side of the dicer, then I place another half and so on.

If I use the other dicer that has the chamber at the bottom (Progressive) I can do 4 or 5 halves, depending on size, until the thing is full then dump the dice into a bowl and keep going.

Peeling whole onions takes a lot more time than this method.

Same with shallots on the smaller dicer. Cut in half, top and tail, pop off outer layer, dice.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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  • 3 years later...

It's been a while since this topic was active.

Has anyone tried the Nemco Easy Chopper? It comes in different sizes: 1/4" dice and 3/8" dice plus a few others I think.

There are times when I would REALLY appreciate having a good tool for chopping onions. The Nemco unit is pricy, but if it works well I would consider it worth it. Currently I just use a knife, but I find that sometimes I'll avoid making something when I think of all the chopping work involved (like salsa).

So has anyone tried a Nemco?

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I bet I could take ANYONE, and with a single combined hour of instruction / practice, have them dicing onions with a knife so quickly that they'd never even consider using a gizmo.

Up to a few pounds of onions you can be faster than a food processor (if you include setup and cleaning time), and the results will be vastly cleaner and more even. Once you get it down, dicing onions is FUN!

And if your knife is sharp, arthritis is a non-issue and tears are generally minimal. In fact, you'll release much more eye-burning vapor with a blunt-edged instrument like one of those dicers. If tears are still an issue, there's a fail-safe, if dorky, solution: lab goggles.

Notes from the underbelly

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I have no trouble dicing one or even two onions but even with my extremely sharp knives, I have to hold the handle of the knife in my right hand.

I have arthritis and an enlarged joint at the base of my right thumb. My grip is severely impaired and my hand fatigues rapidly and when I can no longer grip the knife handle securely, the blade is not adequately controlled.

Onions in bulk, intended for confit are sliced on a mandoline as I can operate it with my left hand.

Ditto when I slice ginger for candying or anything else in quantity.

There was a time when I could slice or dice a tub of onions and think nothing of it but now that I am seventy, many things are more difficult and I use some of the gadgets that many people feel are superfluous.

Also, I love gadgets. :wub:

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I think it really depends on the extent and nature of each person's diability. If your hands are severely affected by arthitis then the sharpness of one's knife or honing of one's skills is irrelevant. Anything that can save the amount of strokes/cuts needed to get the job done is a Godsend. If, by using one of these devices, someone who experiences pain with every stroke can minimize the jolts of pain they experience while chopping, I say go for it. Maybe the gadget will take 10 strokes as opposed to 30 or 40 knife strokes and make a huge difference to the user.

I'm very grateful for this thread since my problem is standing while prepping food (severe hip pain). Hence, I love to cook but I HATE PREP and appreciate any gadget that can lessen time on my feet in prepping not just onions, but celery, potatoes, bell peppers, fruit, etc. I can't tell you how often I put off making a dish because I dread the hours of aches and throbbing agony that are almost always sure to follow.

Inside me there is a thin woman screaming to get out, but I can usually keep the Bitch quiet: with CHOCOLATE!!!

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Would this kind of motion / effort hurt your hands?

This is what's possible with a sharp knife and good technique (it's my friend KC who has Japanese training). If that would be painful, then by all means avoid knives .... though it seems to me like it could be less stress on joints than doing things like twisting the lid to food processor on and off, or repeatedly whacking a chopper.

Notes from the underbelly

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We are not machines. That's why as a species we invented labor-saving devices.

Even with extremely sharp knives and great technique, I cannot slice several pounds of onions or other vegetables as quickly, efficiently, and consistently as can my food processor. Alas, however, my food processor is not nearly as good at chopping as it is at slicing.

Which brings me back to my original query. Has anyone tried the Nemco Easy Chopper?

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At the catering business I worked in, we had several Nemco products: slicer, chopper, probably something else, too. VERY USEFUL when one is processing several pounds of product!

At home, I used the Vegematic, until my hubby picked up the adjustable OXO Mandoline with julliene cutter. I have been happy with both of those.

From what I remember, with the Nemco, it's very important to have a sturdy work station, which will withstand the pounding action. The force required to make the device work is "moderate".

Oh, and don't bother with items like the slapchop... too small to make much of a dent in a 25 lb box of... anything.

Karen Dar Woon

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Alas, however, my food processor is not nearly as good at chopping as it is at slicing.

I have just picked up a julienne disc for the KA food processor, and hope that it will do a better job of dicing onions than the standard "chopping" blade.

Karen Dar Woon

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THANK YOU Karen DW. That's just the kind of information I was hoping to get.

I know the Nemco could be considered overkill for home use, but I have been frustrated by this dicing issue for a long time. I want to get a professional tool that WORKS.

I've tried lots of lesser solutions already:

My mother bought me one of those choppers that they advertise on TV. I tried to dice an onion with it and the onion got stuck half way through. I returned it that way.

I've cut onions in smallish chunks and chopped small amounts at a time in my food processor. This works, but not that well and it's time-consuming.

I've sliced onions on a mandoline or with the food processor and then chopped the slices. This works too, but not that well and again, it's time-consuming. And if I have to get the mandoline or food processor dirty, why not just get a proper dicing tool?

I've diced onions by hand with a sharp knife. This is the best solution with the best results, but is too labor intensive for large amounts.

I'm going to order a Nemco!

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My mother bought me one of those choppers that they advertise on TV. I tried to dice an onion with it and the onion got stuck half way through. I returned it that way.

Well damn egale the fact that you actually did this is just beyond awesome! :wink:

Inside me there is a thin woman screaming to get out, but I can usually keep the Bitch quiet: with CHOCOLATE!!!

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I started cooking professionally at the age of 45. To say that there are "some physical challenges" is an understatement.

So far, I still enjoy cooking at home, too. But having the right (for me!) tools makes all the difference! My DH still brings home the occasional weird useless gadget, but at least he's trying to be thoughtful. [or, he's indulging his compulsive shopping habit!]

Hope the dicer works out for you, egale.

Karen Dar Woon

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Thanks, KarenDW. I ordered the Nemco chopper. After I receive it and chop a few onions I'll try and post a product review.

I do get the impression that there are quite a few people out there who would appreciate a good chopper.

Thanks again for the benefit of your experience.

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I had the Williams-Sonoma version of one of these, along with the small one for dicing garlic.

I have a lot of sympathy for what Andie's saying: as we age, we lose the ability to do some things. . .the nature of that loss varies with each one of us. At this time, I'm a few years behind Andie and I can still wield a knife decently.

I gave my choppers away to a young man who loves to cook but isn't old enough to use a knife well. I don't miss them for these reasons:

1. I still have to get a knife and a cutting board dirty.

2. I often need diced onion in smaller sizes than the chopper will produce.

3. If you don't get the chopper into soapy water pretty quickly, cleanup is a real pain, even in the dishwasher. For reasons I don't really understand, I'm not good at getting the chopper into soapy water right away. I plan to, but there, at the end of the evening, is the chopper, with bits of onion nearly permanently adhered to the blades.

If I lose my grip strength, as Andie has, I'll probably get another. Meanwhile, young Nate's having a ball.

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Has anyone ever tried the "French Fry" blade of a mandoline for dicing onions? Since the onions are "pre-sliced" (by the separation of the rings) if cross cut with a french fry slice, it seems to me that it would fall into a reasonable simulation of a dice. no?

"Commit random acts of senseless kindness"

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  • 3 weeks later...

I want to report that I received my 1/4" dice Nemco chopper a while ago and I just used it to chop six pounds of onions.

The Nemco chopper is easy to use, doesn't require a lot of force (I'm a small woman), and produces a good consistent dice. It is not difficult to clean except maybe for the pusher, but even the pusher is easily cleaned by running a toothpick down the grooves.

So even though the Nemco wasn't cheap, I consider it worth the money. It is well-made and will probably last a lifetime.

I am happy.

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  • 1 year later...

I bought one because the arthritis in my right hand has gotten so bad that I have difficulty doing repetitive knife work.

Not everyone is capable of learning knife skills that will allow them to chop onions (or anything else) rapidly. This is a handy (and safe) gadget for those that have disabilities or who are not well coordinated. They work and do the job quickly and neatly. I think they are worth the money.

I'm a senior citizen, and so is my lady friend. She raised a family of six, and for fifty years she cooked three meals a day for her family. She's 82 years old and she deserves a break.

Well, once a year she makes a huge amount of goulash for her kids' birthday. Last year she asked me to help her dice 8-lbs of onions for the dish. Although I was willing to help, her daughter, for whom she was making the goulash, offered us the loan of her Vidalia Chop Wizard. My initial reaction was to dismiss the Wizard as just another goofy kitchen gadget, and, in a way it is. However, after using it to quickly dice 8-lbs of onions, I liked that goofy gadget quite a bit, and let the daughter know how much I liked it. She bought me one of my very own for Christmas last year.

Now, the Chop Wizard sits in the cabinet all year. There's little or no need to use it for an onion or two, or the more typical daily kitchen jobs. But come December, when it's the kids' birthday, that Wizared makes an appearance. Today is the party, and a couple of days ago I diced 8-lbs of onions, including peeling them, in about 30-minutes.

The Wizard ain't high tech. it has no high quality engineering, and is not endorsed by any Food Network star. It's even cheaply made, and I have no thoughts of handing it down to my great grandchildren. But, it does the job quickly and efficiently. And it goes into the dishwasher, too.

So, when you get to the point in life when your hands hurt, or your back gives you pain, and standing for long periods of time doing repetitive tasks at the kitchen counter is the last thing you want to be doing, think about that cheap little plastic gadget as a possible solution.

 ... Shel


 

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