Stupid Mandoline

So I have one of these wonderful contraptions that are supposed to make it really easy to cut beautifully even, thin slices of anything really fast.  It comes with nice instructions on how to change the blades around to make julienne cuts, ridges, straight cuts, and various widths.  Unfortunately, it does not come with instructions on how to hold the food in the little food holding vice and actually cut the food.

I see the chefs on shows like Iron Chef America using these contraptions with ease, their hands moving feverishly as they slice whole piles of vegetables paper thin in two seconds. Every time I see one being used, I think how nice it would be to use my mandoline that has been gathering dust in my cupboard since I got it as a wedding gift four years ago.   But it always seemed like more trouble than it was worth to pull it out and then to have to clean it afterwards.

I have been making baked sweet potato fries the last few weeks in an effort to eat a little more healthfully.  The first time I tried to cut the potatoes by hand, and the fries were way too thick.  So I decided it was a perfect time to break out the mandoline and use the wide julienne setting to get even sized fries.  

The fries I get are nice and evenly sized and a normal fry thickness. The problem, my potatoes keep getting stuck as I slide them over the blade, truncating my fries into little stubs, and forcing me to try to remove the stuck potato from the blade.   I've cut myself twice now, just barely touching the sharp blades.  I can't figure the motion out.  I cut my potatoes smaller, leave them big, apply light pressure, apply firm pressure, and still I get little stubs with chunks stuck in the blade.  I must have thrown out a third of my potato today because the chunks aren't big enough to reslice, but are too thick to be fries.

Anyone have any advice on how to get these things to work?  I'll keep trying, but I think my family is going to have to deal with stubs instead of fries. 

 

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