Wednesday Miscellany: On slicing mandolins, Swazi orphans and kindred blogs

This is one of those days where there is an abundance of richness to share. To begin:

1. The Bernriner Japanese Mandolin Slicer--I've been coveting one of these for years, ever since I decided to "go raw", which lasted all of a day. Recently when I borrowed a friend's mandolin to make zucchini lasagna that did it. It sliced my overgrown curcubits into ribbons of tender vegetal flesh in seconds. I was sold.

Surfing for reviews, I found this over at Apartment Therapy The Kitchn. Since this blogger seemed to have strong knowledge of all things mandolin (and the instrument in question was only $20), I ordered it, throwing in the Prepara Oil Mister for the free shipping.

I'm officially in love, in spite of my newly circumsized thumb. Not only can you slice summer squash into cutlets of varying widths, you can also turn it into the thinnest of confettis.  Keep in mind that the mandolin is a dangerous doodad, hence the wound; the blade is wicked sharp and the plastic finger guard, largely an impediment. But with mindfulness and care, one could be whipping up potatoes dauphinoise in a snap.

2. Swaziland. Most of us have only vague ideas about this African kingdom. It is, in fact, a country that has been decimated by AIDS, leaving more than 100,000 children orphaned or poorly cared for. Last year I had the privilege of interviewing the Kopps, a young married couple, who made a stirring film about the farm/orphanage/school Aaron's parents run there. The film, Likhaya, depicts the children not as victims but as creative, active kids, little people who are wise beyond their years, who can make a romp in a pond more joyous than any American youngster could make a turn on a Wii. It's the kind of documentary that stirs one's humanity with pictures not polemics.

The Kopps are now trying to fund a new film, one that would involve the orphans in the filmmaking process. The couple is working feverishly to finance it and are engaged in a short-term, guerilla fundraising campaign. If you have spare dollars, this would a worthy place to put them.

3. Some recent blog discoveries: Happy Simple Living, Anne Hanson's Knitspot and Canary Knits (courtesy of Brave New Knits), and a special huzzah to Roxanne (Champion of My Heart), who just got dog blog world's equivalent of the Oscar--the Petty--for Best Dog Blog.





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