Of course, the main purpose of this posting is to use the above headline, and for that I almost apologize. Still, I recently pulled my mandoline out from behind the waffle iron and ice cream maker--I don't know how it got lost in the cabinet-cave of neglected wedding gift appliances--and sliced up some cucumbers. It took about .25 seconds to shave the cuke down to a nub--approximately the same amount of time it took Google to search the pun "Mandoline Reign," which, yes, has been used, and usually in reference to something Ron Popeil made.
I added some olive oil, apple cider vinegar and kosher salt to the cucumber disks, and voilà: a salad to make my family utter the blessed words "Mommy, you are a genius."
Something about slicing things really thin makes them great. I have this same epiphany every time I come across a salad of thinly shaved apples and fennel or a pile of paper-thin pickled ginger. Or potatoes chips.
In fact, after the cucumber triumph, I mandolined some red potatoes that I had on hand and tried to deep-fry them. This did not work. They sizzled for, like, eight minutes in peanut oil (Paula Deen recommends two to three minutes for homemade potato chips) and were still flaccid. I researched the matter and learned that red potatoes are too sugary to deep fry with success. So I'll stick with sweet potatoes, which work like a charm. Huh?
In any case, what are some other good uses for a mandoline?