I recently saw a demonstration on TV of a fantastic food chopper. At least it looked fantastic to me. A few days later, I saw one on sale locally and bought it on impulse.
You’d think by now that I would know better. I have filled a huge closet with my impulsive-and useless purchases over the years. Each time it happens, I promise myself that “never again” will I buy any appliance, yard maintenance tool, bicycle, or expensive articles of apparel without first checking it out with someone who has already gone through the experience of making it their own.
But, as usual, impulse won out. After all, it was less than $25 so it wasn’t going to cause the family to go hungry if it turned out to be less than the ad claimed it to be. But, $25 is $25 and in this unpredictable economy, I really ought to be more careful, especially when we have places online where we can find reviews of almost any product ever made.
Well, I did buy the Perfect Chopper. It was small enough to hold in one hand and kind of cute. I know that doesn’t make up for its lack of performance, but I will admit that those two points contributed to my decision to have the clerk bag it up so I could take it home with me.
The Perfect Chopper consists of three simple parts. A top which contains the cutting blades at the bottom side and a plunger you push down on to operate the blades at the top.
The middle part is a simple piece of heavy plastic formed in a circle to contain the item you are chopping while you are operating the chopper. The circle comes off for cleaning. And, finally, there is a plastic cover at the bottom to cover and protect the blades when the chopper is not in use.
I could hardly wait to chop up some carrots, tomatoes, celery, lettuce, etc. for a great salad that night for dinner. I could picture it in my mind. Perfect little tidbits of each item with a dash of salad oil would have everyone wondering what happened to the unevenly hacked salad they were usually offered when I did the cooking.
I started with a piece of carrot about two inches long. Removing the cover of the Perfect Chopper, I laid the carrot on my chopping board (as directed by the nicely written directions that came with the new tool) and pushed down on the plunger.
Hmmm. The plunger stayed in the down position. I pulled it up and the carrot had disappeared. Maybe I had purchased some kind of magic trick instead of the food chopper I thought I was getting. I turned it upside down and there was my carrot wedged tightly between the blades of the chopper.
The directions said never touch the blades of the chopper and just rinse with hot water to clean. Unfortunately, they didn’t tell you what to do when it grabbed the food and wouldn’t let it go. I loosened the carrot with a table knife and tried again. Same result.
I chopped the carrot lengthwise to make it thinner. Same results again.
Maybe carrots are too tough for the blades, I thought, and substituted celery, onions, and small pieces of cabbage. Nothing worked, although I will admit that the purple cabbage I used had some pretty designs made by the blades—after I pried the cabbage out of course.
The only things the blades would touch were soft items like tomatoes and boiled eggs, and even those had to be dug out forcefully. No matter how many times I pushed on that plunger, the blades would not drop the food onto the cutting board the way it should have done. Spraying the blades helped a little but not much.
Maybe my Perfect Chopper was defective, but I decided not to go to the effort of returning it for a replacement. Somehow, chopping things by hand with a nice sharp kitchen knife didn’t seem all that difficult after this experience.
My advice to anyone who is considering buying a food chopper, or any other new tool that looks good on TV is to spend a few minutes checking it out on some website like Amazon.com and find out what other users have to say about it. Of course Amazon is hoping to sell you the item, but it doesn’t cost anything to go to their site, type in the name of the product you are interested in, and then check out the reviews from actual users that are usually located at the very bottom of the page.
Give it a try. Who knows? Those few minutes may save you from making a really costly .mistake.