The Spirooli is a small, countertop utility that slices, shreds and chips (think: curly fries) vegetables, fruits, or any other food that can be attached to the hand-turned arm and run through one of three interchangeable blades.
We were very skeptical of the Spirooli when we set it up in our test kitchen. The all-plastic (with the exception of the blades) looked a little flimsy, and we weren't sure that the plastic spikes on which the food items are attached could stand up to firmer veggies.
What we found was surprising, but both in positive and negative ways.
We first took a shot a creating curly fries. We attached half a potato to the arm, and it went onto the spikes with ease and held firmly in place. We pushed the opposite end of the potato up against the chipping blade, and started turning.
The mechanics of the Spirooli worked great. The potato started disappearing through the blade, with curled strands coming out the other side.
We were impressed. It worked better than we thought it would. Alas, we then took a closer look at the potato curls and realized that what we had was not curly fries but hash browns. The blade simply sliced the potato too thinly. Still, the result was perfect for making hash browns ... just not what we'd been led to believe would be the result.
Then we tried shredding a carrot. Cleanup of the Spirooli was a breeze - the unit slides apart and can be run directly under a tap. Switching out blades was also a snap.
We attached a carrot and started shredding. This is when we discovered that the larger the food is that is going through the blade, the better the results are. We were able to shred the carrot, and actually with great results (shredded worked best in our testing). But the small surface area of the carrot going through the blade required a lot of effort to get the desired results.
Next, we tried slicing cucumber with the Spirooli. Again, cleanup and changing the blade were as easy as can be.
The slicing function of the Spirooli simply didn't work for us. The resulting cucumber "slices" were paper thin, and, in fact, weren't slices at all - the cucumber that came through the other side of the slice blade was simply a spiral cut, still all in one piece.
We consulted the instructions to see if we were doing something wrong, and discovered that to get single slices out of the Spirooli, the (in this case) cucumber needed to have a notch cut down one of its sides.
The thought occurred to us: If we have to use a knife anyway, why not just use the knife to cut slices? It was as much if not more trouble to use the Spirooli on the cucumber as it would have been just to cut slices the old-fashioned way.
The Spirooli has some good points, particularly in the cleanup department, its ease-of-use in switching blades, and in shredding.
But slicing with the Spirooli is a waste of time, and the foods it can effectively chip and shred are somewhat limited.