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A grater (also known as a shredder) is a kitchen utensil used to grate foods into fine pieces. It was invented by François Boullier in the 1540s.
Several types of graters feature different sizes of grating slots, and can therefore aid in the preparation of a variety of foods. They are commonly used to grate cheese and lemon or orange peel (to create zest), and can also be used to grate other soft foods. They are commonly used in the preparation of toasted cheese, Welsh rarebit, and dishes which contain cheese sauce such as macaroni and cheese, cauliflower cheese.
Graters produce shreds that are thinner at the ends than the middle. This allows the grated material to melt or cook in a different manner than the shreds of mostly uniform thickness produced by the grating blade of a food processor. Hand-grated potatoes, for example, melt together more easily in a potato pancake than food-processed potato shreds.
The cheese grater was invented by François Boullier in the 1540s in France with the idea that hard cheeses could still be used.
The original cheese grater was made from pewter and is currently on display at the Muséum du Havre in France. At the time of its creation there was a concern over the threat of disease from eating meat due to ideas of post enlightenment that were common in 16th century Paris. This made the cheese grater a particularity popular item due to farmers who then focused on dairy and introduced a variety of cheeses. The surplus of cheese meant that a large amount of cheese stayed on the shelf long enough to harden and these cheeses made the cheese great popular and was purchased in greater numbers.
The cheese grater was improved on by Francois Boullier and gained further popularity all over Europe and became a symbol for American cooking. A drought in the late 16th century caused an increase in the price of cheese in Europe. This made cheese a food for the rich and powerful and therefore both cheese and the cheese grater were much less common. At the end of the 16th century grated cheese was a rarity in the culture and recipes of Europe.
The cheese grater was reintroduced in Philadelphia by Jeffery Taylor during the 1920s. He created a cheese grater that was made out of a shower drain, this version is the one now in modern use. Marketing during the Great Depression made the cheese grater more popular as the advertisements emphasized the large portions cheese offered and that it made meals more appetizing looking and like it had more ingredients. The focus on the marketing was that it improved food and made it greater. This is where the name cheese "grater" came from.
Spiralizers are complex food-processing machines with grater-like mechanisms. These mechanisms rotate by the turn of a cluster to produce ribbons or noodles.
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