Have you ever had to slice a whole cabbage or maybe more? Doing it with a knife usually doesn't produce the results you want, shredding takes impossibly long, and they are both tiring, very tiring. Thinking back to Grandma-on-the-farm and all she did for making sauerkraut and for borscht lead me to the cabbage mandolin. A handy device made specially for those days when you have lots of cabbage to cut. The Grandma-who-knows-everything has one for us to borrow as it is one of those 'not every one needs to own their own, just one per community family' type tools.
I was making a batch of borscht today and needed to shred a cabbage. Last time it was a long involved process with a knife that resulted in chunks not shreds. This time I learned from my elders and used the mandolin. It sets over your sink with something beneath to catch the cabbage.
At first it wasn't cutting at all, a quick phone call to the Grandma-who-knows-everything, she told me how to adjust the blades.
On the side of the mandolin are two nuts that you need to loosen then you flip it over and adjust the blades by louvering them. They have little pivots you turn them on to adjust the angle of the blades which affects the height of the blade above the surface of the deck. Once you've got it the height you want tighten the nuts again and start pushing the cabbage back and forth. (click on the photos to better see what I'm talking about)
This mandolin is missing the wooden box that slots into the side and holds the cabbage, I just used my hand and when I got down to little bits I wore a hot pad mitt on my hand to protect it. In no time at all the entire cabbage was shredded and ready for the pot.
A few more steps and we had borscht for lunch.
I packed up a quart for dh's lunch in a canning jar.
I sprinkled raisins on mine, as per Maureen Cameron's recipe when she had the cafe in back of her health food store. I like the little touch of sweetness they give.
The children aren't as fussy they just ate, and ate, and ate it, then came back for more after the dishes were done.