Rhik ponders the possiblities of the Penneli garlic peeler. Photograph: Martin Godwin for the Guardian
The Penneli garlic peeler (£8.95 luckies.co.uk) is an externally ridged silicone pipe. When garlic cloves are placed within, axial rotation under pressure dislodges their protective sheathes.
When cooking, you don’t want skin in the game.
As in the linens, so in the kitchen: everyone has their peccadillos, particularly when it comes to peeling garlic. The vanilla option is to smash it under the flat of a knife. Some weirdos microwave their heads, soak their cloves or shake them in a jar. I’ve got my own way: get my nail under the basal disc and peel each side of skin away in turn, like a property developer tearing plywood from a boarded-up pub (no judgment).
But is anyone crying out for this dog-toy-looking tube that one rolls garlic inside, to shuck it of its skin? Frankly, it looks an object that could be … misused. (Men are, in no circumstances whatsoever, to be trusted.) It’s pretty weird that it’s designed to look like a big piece of pasta and how are you meant to pronounce it? Pen, Ellie? Penally, as in prison? Peen ally? What does that mean?
In Germany, it’s sold under the excellent name knoblauchschäler. In the Netherlands, it’s knoflookpeller, which sounds like a dark sprite from an east European fairytale who cuts off children’s noses for his little-nose necklace. In the morning, parents would know he had been, for there would be a silver snot trail leading to the window. And their children would be in pretty bad shape. But that snot got anything to do with penneli.
I give it a go, sceptically. It’s ribbed, not for your pleasure but to increase palm traction. It’s not that pleasant, bumping over the cloves like a flat tyre, then shaking them free. But … I have to say I’m surprised. It works extremely well, accommodating a few cloves at a time, and the skins fall away as promised, without bruising the flesh. So now I don’t know what to think. It’s weird and ugly, but it works. It’s good, I tell you! May Knoflookpeller take my Penneli if I’m lying!
Could be good for people with hand mobility issues. And people who don’t like garlic on their fingers. (But they’re vampires and if they want to have you for dinner, don’t go.)
Counter, drawer, back of the cupboard?
Who would be an ally of the peen? 3/5