If You Have a Kitchen But You Don’t Own This, You’re Not Right In The Head

Please observe.  What is the one constant you see in all of these pictures?



Spaghetti & Meatballs



Caesar Salad



Spaghetti & Meatballs



Roasted Brussels Sprouts



Pumpkin Pie


O.K.  I think I made that easy enough for you. Obviously the one constant in all of those pictures was chipped nails.   Wait.  No.  It was the rasp.

Granted, a couple of the pictures were “trick” pictures. In the third photo the rasp is hiding in the background and in the final photo you can’t actually see it at all.  Which made it especially tricky.  But the lemon zest in the bowl was created with the rasp.  And chipped nails.

If you own a kitchen but you don’t own one of these things, you’re not right in the head.  Possibly shouldn’t even be operating regular kitchen equipment like wooden spoons and salt shakers.

I got mine from the originator of them, Lee Valley Tools .  The tool was originally sold as a woodworking rasp.  When the Lee Valley woodworker brought the tool home, his wife soon discovered it was perfect for zesting oranges.  And lemons and limes. It also works to liquify garlic and grind nuts and ginger.  But the best, the BEST use for this tool is with hard cheese, like Parmesan.  With this rasp you will create a huge mound of cheese with a teensy piece of parmesan.  HUGE I TELL YOU!

If you’re not careful you can also create a large pile of knuckle skin.  Which isn’t nearly as appetizing as a huge pile of parmesan.

Oh.  And I guess it’s good for rasping wood, or something too.  But personally,  I’d rather eat a bit pile of cheese than a big pile of wood shavings.

Thanks to Ali whose rasp picture I stole for my thumbnail picture on the home page.  I didn’t tell her ’cause it’s late at night and I didn’t have time to ask for permission, which I never, EVER recommend anyone do.  Stealing is bad.  Unless it’s late at night and you’re really tired and it’s an especially nice picture.  NO!  That’s wrong.  Ignore that last sentence.  Stealing is bad.    If Ali complains I’ll take it down.  Promise.


  1. Leah says:

    I dont *own* my kitchen…I rent it…it comes with the cottage…so can I get off on this one? By the time I really *own* my own kitchen, I will so have one.

    • Karen says:

      Leah – I can’t even begin to tell you how much I’d like to give you a pass on this one but I just can’t. As you can see the post is titled if you “have” a kitchen, not if you “own” a kitchen. You do have a kitchen, so … no. No pass. You must get one of these tools. Unless you don’t cook in your kitchen. If you only use your kitchen for … say dancing … then you get a pass! ~ karen

  2. Shannon says:

    I completely agree. I have a microplane grater that looks like this. It is razor sharp (the corner of my right thumb will testify to that) even after many years of use.

    It’s the best thing for mincing garlic, grating hard cheeses, grating nutmeg, grating chocolate

    • Karen says:

      Shannon! I don’t know what’s wrong with me but I’ve NEVER used it for chocolate. Apparently *I’m* not right in the head. Hope the wedding plans are going well. ~ karen

      • Shannon says:

        On the chocolate front. I discovered a few months back you can ROAST white chocolate! it’s friggin amazing.

        You break it into chunks roast it until kinda golden, leave it to cool & harden back up & then you can eat it or process it into roast white chocolate crumbs to coat chocolate truffles or what have you.

        Wedding planning has been a total no go. At the moment. I had glandular fever (hence my disappearance from the Internet for the last 3 weeks)It will probably be a while before I feel like doing anything.

        • Karen says:

          Shannon – Holy Crap! I don’t know what’s more alarming. You having Mono or not knowing you could roast white chocolate! I hope you feel better. I’ve never had it but rumour has it, glandular fever knocks you RIGHT out. πŸ™ Sorry about it. Sleep and get better. ~ karen

        • Shannon says:

          thanks K.
          On the up-side. I have lost like 6kg

  3. Jan says:

    I find my microplane especially useful for adding protien (in the form of knuckle skin as you alluded to) to salads and sauces. I’m on a low carb diet.

  4. Alisha says:

    Rasps are awesome but really … Lee Valley Tools? That place is seriously dangerous. My boyfriend tries to recycle the flyers before I get to them so he can avoid taking me there and spending excessive amounts of time oooh’ing and aaah’ing over amazing things. Stocking stuffers? Got ’em at Lee Valley. Christmas presents? Sure did get ’em at Lee Valley! Even for my mom! So yeah … I like rasps.

  5. Shauna says:

    heeee heeee hooooo heeee heeee hooooo, I knew Lamaze classes would finally be useful!! ROASTED WHITE CHOCOLATE!!!!!!! I’m not right in the head either!! I need one of those tools (note to the sister in law that reads this blog & comments too!!) Karen I’m a little shocked you didn’t have the white chocolate tip first….. What’s up with that?? LOL But I would like to point out Karen, that of all the blogs, this is the only one where we(me, myself, & I) read all the comments, cause your askarens have soooo many great ideas!! Now how many bloggers can say that!?!! πŸ˜‰

    • Karen says:

      Shauna ~ I would be far less interesting if I actually knew *everything*. I make chocolates and fool around w/ it but I’m definitely *not* a chocolate savant. Potato chips? I’m top of my class! And yes … this site does seem to boast a higher level of astute readers than most blogs. If I do say so myself. Plus most of you are funnier than I am which is fun to read. – karen

  6. Caitly says:

    Not only are these good in the kitchen. . . they are also good for distressing fabric for all your “distressed” fabric projects. . .

  7. Sharon Woo says:

    I read all the comments too! Some of the best tidbits and funniest quips are in the comments!

  8. maggie says:

    OMG Karen you are so right. My neighbour borrowed mine overnite ( not sure what she was doing with it overnite) and I was afraid once she used it I would have lost it forever. I got it back thank goodness. She bought one next day. I love it love it love it. It to is from Lee Valley. Have a great rasping day!

  9. marilyn says:

    how ironic that the lee valley flyer came in my spec today and that i just finished looking at the rasps and came to the computer to read your blog and tada! its telepathic i tell ya! karma! or just a freakin coincidence…i prefer karma thank you please..

  10. Terri says:

    Ok, I have a kitchen and I don’t own one of these, and I am certainly not right in the head, but you are going to have to go a lot farther than one little blog post to convince me that there’s a causative connection here – I’m talking, we need some interpretive dance, and maybe a PowerPoint presentation…. oh, and I’ll need to sample that parmesan cheese – on that spaghetti, please! πŸ™‚ And maybe some lemon zest on a nice lemon pie – then I’ll be convinced!

    And I’ll admit it does look like a handy gadget – is it hard to clean?

    • Karen says:

      NO m’am. It’s pretty easy to clean. Ginger and garlic can get a little gucky, but as long as you rinse it right away, you’re good. ~ karen!

  11. Lita says:

    This Lee Valley sounds lovely. Looks like their stores don’t come nearly as far south as Texas though πŸ™

    However, the microplane graters are very nice. I agree that kitchen life changed when I got mine. I’m still impressed every time I zest a nutmeg πŸ˜‰

  12. Jeanne says:

    Did anyone notice? Karen discreetly eliminated the picture of the Roasted Brussel Sprouts!

  13. Ali says:

    Stealing is good if it means people are using the rasp! No complaints here, Karen.

  14. Lisa says:

    I got mine at a hardware store, and it has a handle and a plastic shield that slips over it. Love it, it got a lot of use over thanksgiving.

  15. allison says:

    Hi Karen,
    My daughter wants to know ….”what is the name of that nail polish color?” She loves it and wants Santa to bring her some!
    ps..I do have one of those grater things and use it for tons of stuff too..

    • Karen says:

      Hi Allison! I’m afraid that nail polish is Chanel’s “Black Satin” from a couple of years ago. I don’t know if they carry it still or a version of it. Regardless it’s about $35 I think! I would guess Mac has something similar! ~ karen

  16. suzy says:

    I have one of those things too – but what do you use to shred soft cheese like cheddar

    • mothership says:

      freeze it 1st… not solid… only abt 20-30 minutes or so & it will grate/shred/rasp like a dream….. though personally, I like BIG/ FAT/ HUGE shreds!!

    • Karen says:

      Suzy! Sorry – I forgot to respond to you. I just use a regular box grater for cheddar cheese. πŸ™‚ – karen

  17. Anne says:

    I hope your feeling better soon Karen! I adore my microplane and it has a baby pink handle, its made by Microplane in the U.S. and I just wanted to add that I get all my super awesome kitchen gadgets from HOMESENSE…..just wander through their kitchen supplies area and you can find amazing gadgets. I recently found some silicone cupcake/muffin cups to pop into your muffin tin. LOVE THEM!!!!

  18. Bill Grigg says:



    Lee Valley Tools!

    It’s a middle aged man’s crack!! πŸ˜€

  19. Not really in the cooking department – rasps are really good for removing callouses. Not the same rasp of course… mine is blunt now because I didn’t take my own advice.

  20. Karen, bless you for telling the online world about the importance of the rasp (or a Microplane, as I’ve always called this thing until recently realizing that’s a registered trademark and improperly using the name might get me sued). It’s perfect for grating cheese, lemon zest, nutmeg, or knuckle skin if your recipe happens to call for that. The Black Hoof resto in Toronto even uses one to grate prosciutto over dishes, which is pretty brilliant.

  21. GALE says:

    Iloooooooooooooove your website……just found it..Love the words you choose….girl you need to be in comedy..folks have told me that. But you are better than me..and the rasp is a wonderful tool, I hardly leave home without it..and I had already done the ord lights but used a small nitelight bulb(I bet it is not as bright) will use your idea….Thanks A Million.Gale

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Gale! No comedy clubs for me. If I don’t happen to make you laugh here it’s no big whoop … if I don’t happen to make you laugh at a comedy club, I go home crying. Welcome to the site! ~ karen

  22. Rick says:

    We all owe the nice people at Lee Valley a big thank you for having moved the Microplane rasp from the wood workers shop to the kitchen (and subsequently expanding into kitchen toys). I have several tools from their catalogue that I wouldn’t want to be without.
    The Microplane people were quick to note the new market and have expanded the product range to include several very nice flat and box graters (all carnivorous).

  23. Gloria says:

    I bought this rasp at your suggestion and not only do I LOVE it but I also has purchased additional Lee Valley products since then. They make quality stuff. I recently read somewhere that if you freeze lemons you can use the entire lemon, instead of wasting the pulp. This rasp is great at grating (pun intended!) Thanks for the suggestion Karen.

  24. Rosemary says:

    I have my Lee Valley one and I love it . I also have the thingy that goes underneath to catch the gratings and I strongly recommend it.

  25. Rick says:

    Just found your site… Great bits of info for an amateur ‘foodie’ who’s son is a professional (ticketed!) chef!
    For the protection of your fingers when using the rasp (with smaller ‘bits’) I got this add-on for my Princess!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Rick. I hadn’t seen that little gadget before. Love it! Lee Valley is great for having things I had no idea I needed. ~ karen!

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