The Kuhn-Rikon Swiss Chop Chop is the workhouse of my kitchen

By Stacey Ballis
October 24, 2018
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Photo by Stacey Ballis

I, like so many of us, am a mass of contradictions. On the one hand, when it comes to the things I love to do, I have boundless energy. I can develop four new recipes in a day. I can go to six antique stores in search of the perfect piece for a little corner of a room I’m decorating. I can read a whole book in one sitting. I’ve been known to drive 70 miles to acquire the best potato chips for a party, and I’ve walked 30,000 steps in a day to hit all the best vintage clothing spots and bakeries in a foreign city.

So, it might surprise you to know that I am truly, at my core, one of the laziest people on the planet.

I will drive ONE BLOCK to the gas station on the corner to buy a lottery ticket when the Powerball gets over $200 million. I get 75% of my groceries and household items delivered. Before we renovated and put a laundry room on the top floor where our bedroom is, and only had coin operated laundry in the basement, I dropped all the laundry off and paid for fluff and fold services. Amazon Prime doesn’t just bring me the things that are hard to source locally; they bring me the things I just don’t want to leave the house to get.

When it comes to things that aren’t fun or cool or delicious? I am a giant blob of slothitude.

So, while I have a large room filled with all kinds of expensive gadgetry for cooking, there are a few tools I keep in arms reach and look to again and again. In no small part because of their complete simplicity of operation, ease of cleaning and functionality, all of which play a big part in whatever I choose to work with at any given moment.

Never is this more important than in the mornings. I am not a morning person—lazy people rarely are—so when it comes to managing breakfast, I stick to simplicity. The energetic side of me loves to entertain and frequently gets ahead of herself and invites folks over for brunch, and then the lazy part of me really wishes she had kept her big mouth shut, because brunch requires a whole lot of putting stuff together right at an hour when that part of me would dearly love to still be in bed.

I have developed some recipes, many of which I have shared with you (hello, overnight slow cooker strata!) that help me navigate the loud and annoying conflict between my two sides. But I have also found some tools that have become invaluable in quick efficient prep. And none of these is more important to me than my Kuhn-Rikon Swiss Chop Chop pull-string mini chopper.

Photo by Stacey Ballis

This two-bladed wonder with its 12-ounce bowl capacity is my breakfast workhorse. The mechanism is simple: There is a pull string in the lid, much like the pull start on an old boat motor. You put the blade in the bowl, put the lid on, and pull as many times as you need to deal with the contents. On solo mornings when I can’t open my eyes, I can quick chop some veggies, crack in a couple of eggs and three more pulls gives me a mixture I can pour right into a hot skillet for a scramble or omelet or frittata. Some self-raising flour, an egg, some buttermilk, I’m eight pulls away from just enough pancake batter for three pancakes. Half a frozen banana, some berries, a splash of milk, 12 pulls to smoothie. Some chunks of raw potato and a quarter of an onion and hash browns are moments away.

Guests coming over? I can toss in a tomato, half a mango, a chile pepper, some lime juice, and salt and pepper and a snazzy chunky mango salsa is on deck. Or a pint of berries and some sugar become an instant berry sauce for a baked French toast casserole. I can whizz up a shallot in six pulls, add some Dijon mustard, lemon juice, olive oil, seasoning, and a couple of pulls gets me a fresh vinaigrette that is great on any salad. A fistful of mixed herbs, some olive oil and sherry vinegar, maybe some red pepper flakes and voila! A nine-pull salsa verde. It does the job any small electric processor can do, and there is something very satisfying about the physical act of pulling that string.

The Chop Chop is one of my go-to gifts for bridal showers and housewarming presents. The clear bowl is attractive enough to serve your salsa or salad dressing right in it, and it comes with a lid to use it for storage if you don’t use it all up on first go-around. The bowl and blade go right in the dishwasher, and the lid wipes off easily.

I can’t speak to other brands or styles, but I presume the song remains the same. Find yourself a manually operated mini-chopper that will fit in a convenient drawer and make your mornings easy again.