A mandoline is a kitchen tool that is basically a plank with a very sharp blade fixed to the center. Some have a handle to keep them up, but most have fold-out feet that allow space for the product to fall between the board and work surface. All mandolins are designed to cut super-thin slices and are created to obtain perfectly consistent results. Chefs use mandolines in professional kitchens for their speed and consistency, and the instrument has caught the attention of many home chefs to obtain these results at home.
In the first illustrated cookbook, from 1570 by Bartolomeo Scappi, was a drawing of a board with a blade used to cut food. The devise was later named a mandoline because it was played by cooks similarly to how a mandolin instrument is played. As time went on, the mandoline was revamped to make it safer with legs to hold it up and guards to hold the food to prevent cuts.
Waffle fries, meanwhile, were not patented until 1996 when five potato freezing companies laid claim to the delicacy at the same time. They appeared in restaurants as early as 1935.
On the updated versions, mandoline blades may be adjusted to produce various thicknesses of cuts. Removable vertical blades create julienne or French fry cuts. Some have a removable horizontal blade that can be straight, serrated or ridged. Traditionally, this horizontal blade is straight, but models are made with a V-blade. The V shape of this blade redistributes the pressure on the food allowing for softer foods, such as tomatoes, to be easily sliced.
Making Waffle Fries
Be sure that the mandoline you purchase has a ridged blade and insert it into the mandoline per the manufacturer's instructions. To make waffle fries, hold one end of a cleaned or peeled potato in your palm and, keeping your fingers curled away from the blade, run the potato down the mandoline's incline, across the blade. Rotate the potato 90 degrees and sweep down the incline again. Under the mandoline, you will have your first waffle fry. The thickness depends on the blade.