Cheese gripper: Finger savior or prep-work dud?

A gizmo that's meant to protect fingers from the evils of the cheese grater does the trick but makes it hard to actually grate cheese.

Progressive cheese gripper
Progressive cheese gripper Zabars

A while back, my mom gave me a whole mess of little kitchen gadgets for my birthday. One of the first ones I tried out was this cheese gripper from Progressive, designed to protect your fingers while shredding cheese or chocolate.

The design is pretty simple. The blue body bends around a block of cheese, while the stainless steel ends act as protective guards for your fingertips while you shred the cheese against a grater. The added bonus is it keeps your hands clean, so it saves another trip to the sink when you're doing prep work. I had high hopes for this little guy--partly because I have an insatiable craving for cheese, and partly because I almost never cook without a glass of wine nearby, which tends to increase in number as the complexity of the meal goes up.

It seemed to work fine at first, when the block of cheese was still big. But I got into trouble as I worked through the block and got to the smaller end bits. At first glance, it seemed to be a nice, simple design, but the metal ends turned out to be too clunky to work with any real level of detail. For me at least, this is where I need most of the protection since it's when my fingertips are closest to the grater.

Cheese gripper in action
The cheese gripper in action Amazon

I haven't tried it with chocolate yet, but I suspect the same would be true there--if not more so. Since chocolate bars are thinner and more fragile, they have to be held at the base (putting your fingers right up close to the grater), lest the whole chocolate bar snap in half. (A funny side effect of the metal grippers was that I felt a little destructively indestructible, sort of like if Herry Monster spent a day helping the Swedish Chef in the kitchen. This further adds to my skepticism about being able to use it for chocolate.)

Not working at that critical point more or less renders this one useless--for the gadget's stated purpose, anyway. I can see it coming in handy for protecting fingers while chopping an onion, for instance, so I'll give it a few starts around the field before sending this one back to play in the minors (i.e., the box full of gadgets I'll never touch again).

So, so far, it's a thumbs-down for this gadget. Mom still gets a thumbs-up, though, for continuing to send me fun things to try out in the kitchen.

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