Stephanie Alexander in her excellent first edition of The Cook's Companion warns against mandoline slicers. She says they are far too dangerous for the home kitchen and recommends buying a "simple and ingenious" alternative. I have never been able to locate one of these, as Stephanie does not give its name and describes it simply as a "Japanese shredder and slicer".
I covet(ed) the ability to do paper-thin potato slices for pizza and crisps, make neat juliennes of carrot and daikon. About a week ago I bought myself a small inexpensive mandoline.
Last night I decided to make pithiviers for dessert. It was awkward slicing the apples with the hand-held finger guard until about halfway through, so I decided to take the first few slices off each piece by holding it directly in my hand. You all know where this is going, don't you?
I've lost the top 3mm off my right-hand middle finger but didn't hit or chop the bone, so emergency just patched me up and sent me home. Right now I can't drive or type properly, or swim until it heals "in its own time" as the emergency doctor told me, and I will forever have a flat-topped finger.
And of course, a few minutes beforehand I had been lecturing the kids about never touching the damn thing, because it was so sharp! (At least the pithiviers, which I cooked when I got home from emergency, were fabulous.)