Take away Dan Formosa’s knives and pans, but spare him his Microplane.
The veteran product designer, who worked on IBM’s original home computer and invented OXO’s line of Good Grips kitchen tools, says the bladed, nail-file-like implement is the most essential tool in his kitchen.
“It works really well and it’s super sharp,” he says.
Formosa explains that the handy zester and grater is much easier to wield than the traditional four-sided box grater, especially when all you need is a dusting of spice or cheese.
Microplane also delivers more flexibility than a bulky grater. You can grate straight into the bowl, rather than onto a cutting board, sparing you the hassle of picking up tiny flakes.
For its weight — just 0.3 ounces — the Microplane is incredibly durable. Formosa has owned his for years and says it’s stayed just as sharp as the day he got it. Many of the top reviews on Amazon attest to the same quality — it can withstand repeated cycles through the dishwasher even with multiple uses per week.
“It actually evolved from hardware equipment, like wood-carving equipment,” Formosa says of the Microplane.
Years ago, the Grace Manufacturing company developed a device to help carpenters thinly slice a block of wood. But soon the founder of the company, Richard Grace, realised people were buying the Microplane more to grate hard cheeses or zest citrus fruits.
“I thought I was making serious woodworking tools,” Grace told the New York Times in 2011. “To see them used in the kitchen, that was frankly a personal disappointment.”
But people like Formosa are incredibly (ahem) grateful that Grace invented the product.
You can buy it on Amazon for $10.45. It comes with a slip cover to avoid accidental finger pricks.