Monday, July 16, 2007

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Mini-Max Kitchen Mill

Product Number: 181
How Much: £9.99
Where can I buy one: JML

Products to ‘make our lives easier’ exist around every corner and a lot of them manage to find novel new ways to cut those corners and shave a few seconds off mundane tasks. This is often done by re-imagining a previous product, looking for defects and then coming up with a more suitable solution. So when the humble grater got torn apart and rebuilt as the Mini-Max Kitchen Mill was it a case of radical improvements or a need to return to the drawing board?

If we look at conventional graters the flaws are obvious; a lack of stability, a right-handed orientation and the messy way food can go everywhere being some key problems that come to mind. Much of these spring from the pre built nature of the conventional grater and it’s here that JML hoped to make their largest improvements by creating a grater that comes unassembled on arrival.

This firstly means you can choose which side of the device you wish to place the handle, making it both suitable for right handed and left handed users. If you’ve got both users in one home them you simply pop off the handle and switch it round to the other side. Building the device is very simple and shouldn’t take more than a few seconds once you’ve washed up the various pieces.

By building from scratch you can also pop different types of grater heads in to the unit with one for coarse and one for fine grating. The downside of this is that if you want a bit of both on one meal you have to dismantled the grater, slot in the other one and then continue. Compared to the conventional method of flipping the grater over or on to its side this is a far more time consuming nuisance. It’s also a shame that other heads aren’t included or even available for order as this type of customisation could have took the product further.

In terms of mess the Mini-Max definitely scores a thumbs up as it comes with a couple of storage pots which you can pop on to the end of the unit. As you grate these pots collect your stash and can easily be popped off. They even come complete with lids in case you want to store the food for later. Whilst a good idea, in my test I found that the cheese got stuck in the grinder and refused to fall down in to the pot. To get it to move I had to remove the handle and then push the cheese down manually, another frustrating case of dismantling the unit.

The time you save picking up bits of cheese from off the floor is also further eroded by a longer cleaning time and although most of the components come off and clean easily the grater itself can prove a bit of a nightmare. As it’s round getting a sponge or cloth in there to remove any stubborn bits of food can be tricky and it’s nowhere near as simple as giving a flat grater a quick wash with a sponge.

Whilst I don’t deny that the Mini-Max Kitchen Mill may have some use for those who find using a grater a sloppy and uneven process, for the most part it’s a poor redesign of an existing product. Longer cleaning times and far too much dismantling mean that it won’t make your life better overnight and therefore it’s best to stick with the classics.

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