To peel vegetables I hold the peeler in my right hand and whatever I am peeling in my left. I obviously need to be aware of where my fingers are on my left hand so that I don’t accidentally peel them instead of the vegetable skin. I do however have to have my fingers close to the blade so that I can feel what I am doing and check that I am only removing what needs to be removed. Rather than aimlessly hacking at the vegetable taking big chunks of the flesh away and leaving behind patches of skin. I always feel to check once I am done that I haven’t left anything behind. It is very easy with most vegetables to do this as in general the skin feels a lot different to the flesh, so as long as you know what you are feeling for then you will be fine. I like to start peeling from the top of the vegetable and glide the blade down and towards me. This helps to remove the skin in long continuous strips the length of whatever I am peeling.
In my kitchen drawers I have not 1, not 2 but 3 vegetable peelers. The problem is I can only actually use one of them. The first is an OXO Good Grips straight peeler that my mum gave me when I moved out and went to university at 18. It has stayed with me all this time and it is the trusty one I always go to. The second is a cheap straight peeler that came in a utensil set Neil and I bought for our first kitchen together. I can’t use it. Whenever I try I just feel like I am hacking at whatever i am trying to peel and end up leaving massive patches of skin behind. The third is a really fancy one that I bought at a food festival because it sounded really good. It very finely peels the skin leaving as much of the goodness from the vegetable behind. It also has a second blade that finely juliennes or grates vegetables as required. It is a Y-shaped peeler and I really can not get the hang of it, so it just sits in my drawer not being used.
A problem occurred 2 weeks ago when my trusty OXO Good Grips one magically vanished one day. I couldn’t find it anywhere and I needed it to peel my carrots and parsnips for my tea. Both myself and Neil turned the kitchen upside down looking for it, but it was no where to be found. To say I was upset is an understatement. I was devastated. It was the only peeler I could use and as it was over 12 years old I suspected I would struggle to get a new one. I couldn’t work out what had happened to it. So we decided to leave it a couple of days to see if it would turn up again and in the meantime I had to try getting to grips with using one of the others that I don’t like using.
I decided to try using the fancier one first as I feel it is a shame to leave it sitting in my drawer. A Y-shaped peeler is, as you might have guessed, in the shape of a Y. The blade runs perpendicular to the handle and in good quality ones the blade should be able to rotate to peel from different angles. Both left handed and right handed people should be able to use the same tool with ease. However, I just can’t master it. I think it’s to do with the proprioception I get through the handle. I can’t seem to feel as well what I’m doing and I’m forever cautious of missing what I am peeling and catching my fingers on my left hand instead. The other problem I have with this peeler is that because it peels so finely it leaves behind quite a rough surface which makes it harder to feel for any patches of skin left. So after a couple of minutes of attempting to peel using this one I gave up and tried the other one instead. I really didn’t want to damage my left hand as I kind of need it.
The other cheaper peeler I have is really basic. This is not always a bad thing but in this case it is. I can’t seem to get it to peel in long strips from top to bottom. I also need to press down quite hard on the vegetable for it to peel the skin which means it removes far more than I need to. It does however mean that I can easily feel if I have left anything behind, which seemed to be small patches everywhere. It took ages to use and my end result was a really lumpy and bumpy surface. Not ideal.
Eventually by swapping backwards and forwards between both peelers I got my vegetables peeled having taken over double the amount of time it usually takes. I wasn’t too impressed and I kept my fingers crossed that my favourite one was just hiding and would show up again soon. A couple of days later I needed to peel vegetables again, and there was still no sign of it. Neil offered to give peeling them a go instead to see if he could use either of them any better than me. Reassuringly in a way he seemed to have exactly the same issues and so we both cracked and decided to give up hope that it would show up again and look for a new one.
We checked amazon first and amazingly enough there was my OXO Good Grips straight peeler that I had had for over 12 years still available to buy. I was delighted! And it meant that we didn’t have to worry about finding another one that I liked and could use. We immediately ordered it and i’m a little ashamed to admit this but excitedly awaited its arrival. Neil wasn’t quite sure if it was exactly the same but he could tell that it was very similar at least. When it arrived I ripped off the packaging and grinned from ear to ear, it was perfect, just like having my old one back.
That evening I looked forward to peeling my vegetables and the first stroke was such a relief. In fact it was even better than I was expecting as I hadn’t quite realised just how blunt my old peeler had got. It peeled so easily and smoothly and everything took half the time to prepare. A straight peeler is one where the handle and blade are in one straight continuous line. For some reason it seems to give me more feedback through the handle as to what i am doing and makes everything more easy to control.
I still have no idea where my old peeler went, but I suspect it got caught up with some vegetable peelings and thrown in to the recycling by mistake. At least in the end though I benefitted from losing it as I got one with a sharper blade out of it that will mean peeling vegetables won’t take so long. The moral of this story is that If you find kitchen utensils that work for you then stick with them. Make sure you take good care of them and don’t throw them away by mistake. Luckily for me I was able to replace it and didn’t have to feel like a complete amateur at peeling vegetables for long but next time, I might not be so lucky.
Managing in the kitchen, with or without sight, is definitely not always about having the best tools, or the ones with the fanciest gadgets but its about finding tools that you can work with and feel confident using. Some people’s preferences will be very different to others as we all do things slightly differently, but its about what works for you and what you feel most comfortable with. Do you have a favourite kitchen utensil that you couldn’t manage without? Or even have you done a similar thing to me at any point and lost a utensil that you really liked using? Feel free to share your stories in the comments below.
Thank you for reading and speak soon.