Small stringed instrument related to the lute. It evolved in the 17th century in Italy, but its present form was strongly influenced by the 19th-century maker Pasquale Vinaccia (1806–82) of Naples. It has a pear-shaped body with a deeply vaulted back, a short fretted fingerboard, and four pairs of steel strings. (The American folk mandolin is a shallow, flat-backed version.) It is played with a plectrum; each pair of strings is strummed rapidly back and forth to produce a characteristic tremolo.
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A mandoline (French [mɑ̃do'lin]; English ) is a kitchen utensil used for slicing and cutting juliennes. It consists of two parallel working surfaces, one of which can be adjusted in height. A food item is slid along the adjustable surface until it reaches a blade mounted on the fixed surface, slicing it and letting it fall.
Other blades perpendicular to the main blade are often mounted so that the slice is cut into strips. The mandoline juliennes in several widths and thicknesses. It also makes slices, waffle cuts and crinkle cuts with firm vegetables and fruits.
One of the advantages of using a mandoline is that the slices will be uniform in thickness, which is important with foods that are deep-fried or baked (e.g. potato chips), as well as for presentation. Another advantage is that the slices can be very thin, with much less effort than would be required cutting with a knife or other blade.
This is a dangerous utensil and food preparers may choose to wear a metal glove on the pushing hand.
The tool has been popularized among non-professional and casual cooks, in the form of a Japanese-made plastic version, without many of the attachments found on professional models.