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Gadgets: The Apple Peeler/Corer
Seeing as it's tradition to eat apples and honey on Rosh Hashanah, (the Jewish New Year coming up tomorrow night), it only made sense to whip out the baddest, most awesome apple gadget I've come to know: the Apple Peeler/Corer by Williams Sonoma ($28). Unlike most of the gadgets featured here, this is one of the most traditional, old-school toys around. No matter how many apple-centric tools appear on the market, there aren't any others I know that perform all three functions—peeling, coring, and slicing—at once.
The first time I saw the Apple Peeler/Corer, I honestly had a hard time wrapping my mind around how it worked. I got this much: You stick the apple into the spokes and crank. What happened between there and my perfectly sliced apple, I couldn't tell at first. Turns out there are three blades at work--the corer is the most obvious, and the slicer is built into its side. The peeler clearly works off the side rather than top-down, but is cleverly designed to adjust to the curves of the fruit. Each component is removable or adjustable for added uses. Sound like there's a lot going on? There is. And when it's in motion, it happens too fast for you to see it all.
This is definitely a sophisticated machine, but I do have two minor complaints. Those lacking kitchen space will agree that a more compact tool can be found (albeit not such an efficient one), and though the included recipe book suggests adjusting the peeler to make shoestring fries, I've found that it's best to let this guy do what it does best.
I know what you're thinking: Why bother spending the money when a handheld peeler and knife work just fine? I certainly couldn't fault that logic, but I'd suggest finding a friend with one to let you try it. What you'll find is that sometimes gadgets are just about making cooking fun, and that's exactly what this does.