Once we moved aboard and began cruising in Mexico, I found that I used a grater far, far more than I ever had living ashore in the US. If you’re not outside the US or anchored out for extended periods, you’re probably wondering why I used a grater so much more.
- I almost never bought shredded cheese — it wasn’t available many places, and blocks of cheese take up a lot less room in the refrigerator.
- Without a food processor or blender, I hand-shredded carrots for carrot cake and zucchini for zucchini bread — and lots of other things.
- I shredded potatoes for hash browns, instead of buying bags of frozen hash browns.
- I made my own bread crumbs.
I found I used mine almost every day — this was in the days before Dave developed an allergy to all milk products and I used cheese frequently both because we liked it and for the calcium.
My first grater quickly rusted, despite being labeled as “stainless steel.” As with everything else on a boat, we came to learn the differences between grades of stainless. Price does not guarantee a higher grade of stainless, but a cheap price usually does indicate a lesser grade.
Other qualities that I came to value included (you’ll notice that most of these are missing in the grater pictured at right) :
- Ease of cleaning — without a dish washer, it’s harder to get bits of food out of crevices. I came to hate having a combination fine/coarse grater as the cheese I was grating with the coarse grater would inevitably get stuck in the “fine” section. It was hard to remove without using a lot of hot water and a nail brush. To add insult to injury (or maybe just injury?), I’d end up with bloody knuckles as I scrubbed it.
- Ease of use — an easy-to-grip handle, non-slip bottom and sharp cutting surfaces make the work go much easier. Don’t underestimate the value of non-slip feet!
- Versitility — the ability to use the grater either standing on end or laid across a bowl. Some things are easier to grate one way; some things the other.
- Compact storage — an old-style box grater just took up too much valuable space. A flat one — or one that will fold flat — is much better aboard a boat.
With those criteria in mind, I much prefer the grater pictured here:
- The coarse and fine surfaces are separate, and you can take the grater apart and use only the one you need. This keeps “sticky” stuff like cheese from getting in the fine section and makes clean up much easier. Even if you use it as a stand-up grater as shown, cheese usually doesn’t get on the fine surface.
- Good handle to hold — the larger diameter makes it much easier to keep steady and is less tiring.
- Non-slip rubber base.
- Folds up for storage (yes, it’s a little bigger than the “bad” one above).
- Good stainless.
- Good price — you can buy others for far more money that don’t work nearly as well in real life.