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~The Kenwood food slicer~
The Kenwood SL250 Food Slicer that I had in use was something that I picked up secondhand for a fraction of the original selling price of the item. I thought at the time that it would be a useful addition to the range of kitchen gadgets I had as I didn't have anything else that could potentially slice its way through a variety of food items like slicing through butter in such an even way. In use I found that the food slicer was quite good at cutting a range of food items in to nice even slices, although I found that the trade off for that was the amount of time it took to clean the slicer when switching from one food item to another.
~Appearance and ease of use~
The look of the food slicer is neat and clean with a simple and mainly functional appearance which was what I would have expected from an item like this. The main body of the slicer has a nice white finish that doesn't look out of place in modern kitchens (although its very plasticy!) and the part of the food slicer that holds the food you want to slice works as it should. The cutting blades still looked really sharp and ready for action even though it wasn't new when I had the slicer and in use I found that it worked well with many foodstuffs when needed. The food pusher that comes with this is easy to handle, is shaped to fit and sits in place well enough, I also found that it was solid and strong when in use.
When setting this up for use I generally had to wrestle it out of the cupboard as it wasn't something that I had on show on a kitchen work top. The slicer weighs just under 3 kilos so it isn't all that light to carry around when wanting to set it up ready for use. There are non slip feet on the slicer which are there to help stop it sliding about, which I feel worked well enough as it stayed put once it was set to work. There is an easy to use thickness selector which can be used in order to choose how thick or thin food items need to be cut and I found this easy enough to use. Once you have switched on the machine and set the cutting blade in motion you simply slide the food tray backwards and forwards keeping the food pusher firmly in place at the same time.
The slicer is meant to save you the time and effort that it would take to create nice thin or thick evenly sliced cuts of meat, rounds of bread, slices of cheese etc and whilst the results were most often really quite good, I found it took ages to wash and clean the parts of the machine that came in to contact with food which was more time consuming in the end than simply cutting things with a knife. In the end very often I found that I didn't use the slicer much at all, as it was so much quicker to use a knife to cut slices of meat or cheese with as it took far less time to clean up afterwards. I feel that this is the downside of the slicer as it isn't the quick fix you might hope it would be due to the fact that you simply cannot use this type of gadget without washing it after each and every use.
Over all I feel that this food slicer is something that would be very useful to anyone who needed to slice and cut larger amounts of food items on a regular basis rater where it would be more suited to being set to work, rather than for occasional use in the home. When you slice cooked meats etc, you cannot then go on to use the machine to slice other food stuffs without washing and drying the equipment you have used first, meaning that if you want to slice more than one type of food item it can be a little too time consuming in my opinion. The cost of the slicer when new can be as much as £40 which I feel is more than I would have wanted to pay for this item as there is too much faffing around when you want to use it. My rating for this is gadget 2 stars due to the fact that it is time consuming to have to keep washing and cleaning the parts of the slicer after use. I also resented the fact that it wasn't a gadget that you can leave set up ready for use on a kitchen worktop.
A few years ago my mum thought she would like a meat/food slicer, she's a vegetarian like me but was convinced it would be useful for bread as well, after I moved into my own home and got a bread maker she fished it from the back of the cupboard, dusted it off and thought it would be ideal for me. I personally think she was trying to get rid of it, but not wanting to sound ungrateful I took it and thought id give it a try. My husband was pleased, he's a big meat eater and thought this would be ideal for us but I wasn't convinced.
The food slicer in question is the Kenwood SL250, it comes in quite a large box which takes up a good chunk of cupboard space. The has very little information on it, just pictures really apart from a little bit of electrical information which says:- 220-240V, 50/60Hz and 100W.
Inside the box the slicer is in 5 separate parts which when all put together ready for use measures approximately 28 x 21 cm's. It doesn't have a very long cable in my opinion, it measures just 100cm's which is fine if you are working near a plug but if not this may pose a problem. The slicer is easy to put together, it consists of the main unit, the blade, a plate that fold up for storage, a plastic handle to side the food across the blade and a little plate that has small plastic spikes on to grip the food you are slicing. All the plastic pieces are white on colour and feel sturdy and well made. The blade is like a little circular saw and quite vicious looking.
The blade is made from stainless steel, is 17cm's and has a serrated edge, it fits into the slicer easily and quickly, you don't need to touch the actual blade there's a small plastic screw in the middle that turns and locks the blade in place. Once this is done the plate needs to be folded down, you then pop whatever you need to slice on the plate, attach the handle to the unit and push the little spiked plate onto the food.
There is a small wheel on the back of the slicer that you can turn to determine the thickness of the slices, there are 7 settings for this ranging from wafer thin to 1.5cm's. To operate the slicer there's a side button which has to be pressed all the while you are slicing, before you can do this though there's a small safety button on the top that needs to be pressed at the same time, you don't need to hold this button down continuously its just a safety aspect, ideal if you have children as they cant come along and just press one button and start it up. These buttons are a nice size and east enough to operate. When in use the slicer isn't overly noisy sounding no worse than a food mixer.
Once you are all set up to go its just a matter of pushing the meat or cheese or whatever food you are slicing backwards and forwards over the blade using the handle. The slices come out of the machine at the back, and here is one of the problems with this appliance. There's nothing there to catch them. On the occasions I have used this I have laid a clean tray behind the slicer to collect the food.
Another problem is that despite the slicer having 3 rubber non slip feet the unit doesn't feel overly stable when slicing. I'm sure if you didn't have to keep pressure on the button to keep the machine working it would very slowly slide along the work top.
How good this slicer works depends on what you are slicing, if its a nice square piece of cheese then its fine, if its a joint of meat then in my experience you don't get any nice slices until you are getting well into the joint. The first and last slices are just little bits of meat, the same as slicing with a knife really and it hardly seems worth setting the whole thing up just for a few nice slices from the middle of the joint.
Bread is another thing that doesn't really work well in the Kenwood slicer, I find you need to have the settings on the thickest to stop the bread breaking, I hate thick slices of bread and find I get on much better with my electric knife.
When it comes to washing the meat slicer its a case of taking it all apart and washing it in a bowl of hot soapy water taking care with the blade. This is another negative with this appliance, its such a pain to wash. There's so many nooks and crannies for meat and cheese to get into, its quite time consuming making sure its all clean and hygienic, of course you cant put the main piece in water as it is electrical. This needs to be wiped with a damp cloth. Once washed drying is the my next bugbear. Obviously its not advisable to put the whole thing away damp so I usually leave it all laying out over the work top till its perfectly dry.
All in all I don't think I would recommend the Kenwood meat slicer, it has some nice features like a safety button and a little area underneath to store the cable but to be honest its not worth the hassle of getting it out, putting it together and then having to wash and dry it for the average results you get from it. I find an electric knife just as good and it takes seconds to wash.
If you still fancy a slicer then the Kenwood SL250 is available from several online stores such as Amazon or 247electrical where they cost £36-40.00 depending on where you buy from.
My slicer is now languishing in the loft where it will stay until I get round to putting it on ebay, I will stick to using an electric knife!
Short name: Kenwood SL250