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Who needs an onion chopper anyway? I do!

Katja Fischer
Translation: Katherine Martin

Onion choppers rank pretty high up on «most unnecessary household gadgets» lists. Haters be damned – there’ll always be a place for one of these unwieldy gismos in my kitchen. Here’s why.

There are things you assume everyone has at home, simply because those things were omnipresent in your childhood. That is, until you notice to your surprise that your family is practically the only family on earth that uses a particular item – an onion chopper being a prime example.

Metaltex Onion Chopper Twist w
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Metaltex Onion Chopper Twist w


In my world, the onion chopper is just as much a part of the kitchen inventory as a bread knife or a Teflon pan. Even my mum used to bash away at the thing to dice onions. The dull thumping sound it makes, accompanied by the click-clack of the rotating blades still reminds me of my childhood, even today.

It was inevitable that I’d invest in an onion chopper when I moved into my first apartment in my early 20s. Later, when I moved into a flatshare, the gadget came along with me. But I was still the only one in the household that used the kitchen device. My roommates shunned it consistently, preferring instead to use a kitchen knife to chop up their onions. At least they left me to my own devices without comment.

But times got tougher. Feeding bottles, jars of baby food and kids’ plates made space scarcer. These days, I basically need to fight for the onion chopper’s right to a spot in our home.

The blade in the onion chopper slices your onions into jaggy chunks. And allows you to release your aggression.
The blade in the onion chopper slices your onions into jaggy chunks. And allows you to release your aggression.

Me vs. my husband

My husband periodically tries to ban the trusty device from our kitchen. He hates the thing.

His view:

  • A kitchen knife does just as good a job of chopping onions, if not an even better one. The chopper cuts onions and nothing else.
  • It’s bulky. It doesn’t matter whether it’s fully assembled in the kitchen cupboard, or strewn around the dishwasher in disparate parts.
  • An onion chopper doesn’t stop you from crying. At best, it helps a tad.
  • Your hands still stink because you have to peel the onion first.

My view:

  • Dicing onions with the chopper is much faster than doing it with a knife.
  • The device effortlessly chops carrots or zucchinis too.
  • My hands don’t smell horrendous afterwards. Just a bit whiffy.
  • My mum always used the chopper to cut onions too.

As the argument hits a stalemate, more verbal munition is required.

A Swiss guy invented it

Keen to come up trumps during the next family debate about the onion chopper, I find out more about the history of the device. It might be just as exciting as the history of the egg cutter, penned by my colleague Carolin.

Reading a blog by the Swiss National Museum, I discover that the onion chopper was invented by a Swiss man in 1953. A Bernese bike mechanic, to be precise. With his passion for tinkering around in the kitchen, Karl Zysset (1907–1998) also brought gadgets like the garlic press and the salad spinner to market.

Leifheit Combi ProLine

Leifheit Combi ProLine


Unfortunately, my internet research uncovers something else: chefs steer clear of the onion chopper because it produces uneven, over-sized chunks of onion. Not only that, but the onion gets slightly bruised during the chopping process, leading it to take on a slightly bitter taste (article in German). And the onion chopper ranks pretty highly on some «most unnecessary kitchen devices» lists.

But to hang with all that. There’s an onion chopper in my kitchen – and it’s here to stay. End of.

Fine chunks of onion fresh from the chopper.
Fine chunks of onion fresh from the chopper.

In this occasional series, we reveal our personal – and amazing – everyday favourites. Here’s what we’ve already covered:

  • Product test

    Who on earth uses an egg cutter anyway? I do!

    by Carolin Teufelberger

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Mom of Anna and Elsa, aperitif expert, group fitness fanatic, aspiring dancer and gossip lover. Often a multitasker and a person who wants it all, sometimes a chocolate chef and queen of the couch.

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