The coarse or rough file to which Webster 1913 refers has a use in your kitchen and not just in your woodworking shed. I bought mine at Canadian tool mecca, Lee Valley Tools, where the microplane rasp is cleverly marketed for culinary uses, and I love it. It is a long flat piece of metal covered in tiny sharp teeth.

Why would you use a rasp instead of a box grater, which is what I used to use? Because, dear reader, the rasp has a number of specific tasks at which it excels.

  • It pulverizes garlic to a pungent paste which combines with other ingredients perfectly, with no lumps.
  • It is unparalleled at mincing fresh ginger, always a difficult substance to deal with. No more strings stuck on the grater and pools of escaping fluid underneath. The rasp pulverizes ginger, too, just like garlic.
  • It grates parmigiano, or any other hard cheese, into a fine fluffy pile, ready to sprinkle.
  • It grates fresh nutmeg with ease and style.
  • It shaves chocolate for sprinkling on your cappuccino in a flash.
  • It does an amazing job of grating fresh citrus peel: lemon, lime, orange, all shorn of their aromatic skins in effortless seconds.

Perhaps best of all, once these important culinary jobs are completed, the rasp cleans up easily, with just a wipe from a soapy sponge. Think of that! No poking out the holes of a garlic press. No scraping ginger strings off the box grater. No mess, no fuss, no trouble at all. Get one: you'll love it.