A mandolin by any other name would smell as sweet…

I came across this bit of amusement on the message board of the Mandolin Cafe. I’ve never blogged about the cafe, but it’s the online hangout for mandolin players and a great source for all things mandolin.

Amusing listing on ebay:

The story begins when I phoned my mother to ask what my Dad might want for his birthday……

My wife and I were planning to fly from London to Orkney to spend some time with my Dad on his birthday so I phoned my mother to ask what he might like. “Well”, she said “he really wants a Mandolin”. “A Mandolin?” I asked to make sure I’d heard her correctly. “A Mandolin” she confirmed. Now, I have to admit to being slightly perplexed as to why my Father, in his early 70’s, would suddenly have a craving for a stringed musical instrument but he had played the guitar when I was growing up and it seemed like a nice hobby for a man to enjoy in later life.

I found a lovely man in Kent who sold said instrument and spoke to him on the ‘phone to buy one for my Dad. He seemed overjoyed that someone else in the world had decided to take up this wonderful instrument. He wished my Dad well and said he shouldn’t hesitate to call if he needed some tips. So after an enjoyable conversation, I paid the man and awaited delivery of my Mandolin.

It arrived the very next day in a rather large, odd shaped box and I couldn’t wait to see my Dad’s face when he saw it on his birthday. My wife and I jumped on the plane to Edinburgh on the first leg of our journey and I carefully placed the Mandolin in an over head stowage unit. So far, so good. Now the planes from Edinburgh to Orkney are slightly smaller than the jets that connect Britain’s capital cities. Not so much over head stowage unit as hat rack. I spent the rest of the journey jammed into my seat with a Mandolin making life rather unpleasant. By the time we arrived in Orkney it had a less than favourable nickname. But I consoled myself with the fact that it’d be worth it to see my Dad happy.

We met my parents at the airport and my mother asked “What in god’s name is that?”. “It’s Dad’s Mandolin” I whispered. “Oh, it’s bigger than I expected” she replied. And that was that. No more was thought about it as we spent the evening catching up over good wine and food.

On the Saturday morning, I was chatting to my mother again and asking what on earth had made Dad want a Mandolin. Her answer will stay with me for the rest of my days: “Oh” she said “he saw it on Ready, Steady Cook”……………………………………….

It was at this moment that I learned that a Mandolin may well be a small stringed musical instrument but it is also a cooking utensil used to slice things very thinly indeed. My father, the culinary enthusiast, had wanted one and what I had bought him would not be much cop in the kitchen.

So the blasted thing made its way South again and has sat in our spare room ever since. The nice man in Kent seemed so happy when I bought it that I couldn’t bring myself to tell him.

So there you have it, if you have an urge to play the Mandolin and my story has brought a smile to your face, bid away. It deserves a good home.

N.B. Not for use with tomatoes, peppers, onions…………

P.S. Comes with free songbook

My mandolin gets confused for a lot of things (especially the electric mandolin), but never a kitchen utensil…

Mandolin – the stringed instrument


Mandolin – the kitchen utensil


In case you’re interested, here’s the link to the message board post with more amusing comments.


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