by Chrysa Smith

Pardon me for the boys bathroom humor. I couldn’t help myself. Because I wanted to talk about cheese-cutting: just in time for the Oscars.

Oscars & cheese? Right. Because whether you’re snacking on cheese and crackers, making nachos or any cheese-based dip, my recent purchase of a cheese plane is just what the chef ordered.

For too long, I used a sharp knife to slice my various cheeses. Most Sundays, I leave a plate of cheese on my counter for guest snacking, as I prepare a meal. My favorite is Prima Dona from DiBruno Brothers in Philly, but that’s a story for another day based on a trip to the Italian Market and a tip from Mary Fran. Thanks MF.

Cutting cheese with a knife is less than ideal. The slices are uneven, thick and crumbly. Whether you’re eating or melting, thin and even are better (unless you’re doing fondue or cheese chunks). So I purchased one of those wired cheese slicers that looks like an uber potato peeler. Long story short, I had it for about two weeks before I went out for the best tool I could find. A cheese plane.

Nothing slices like it outside of a deli. You can regulate the thickness of the slice by the amount of pressure you put on the handle and you can get full length, thin slices to serve by themself or for full comfort: grilled cheese. It’s sturdy as you pull it through dense dairy products; one of those utensils I plan to have in my kitchen for the long haul.

Once you can slice cheese thinly and evenly, you can step away from the packaged, processed, peel-and-eat slices. Not only is it more economical to buy cheese in hunks, but there is so much variety. I make grilled cheese with cheddar, mozarella, gruyere, provolone and even Prima Dona. When I’m feeling especially daring, I even mix them, for a truly unique taste on some brioche or egg-based bread.

If you like to entertain at all, for Oscars or beyond– this tool is a must.

Cheese planes can be had at kitchen stores, online kitchen suppliers and of course, Williams Sonoma.