It turns out the hottest grater/zester on the culinary scene started out as a different tool entirely. A clever Canadian housewife was baking a cake that called for orange zest. When her old grater failed her, she picked up her husband’s new carpenter’s rasp, and gave it a whirl. Delicate shavings of orange zest rained down, and a new use was born. When the makers of the tool got wind of it, they added kitchen tools to their repertoire and Microplane graters were born.
Because Microplane uses a chemical etching process to hone their stainless steel blades, their cutting edge is much sharper than traditional graters. They make fine slices instead of tearing food, which makes for better flavor. Chefs love them, and inventive folks are busy cooking up more things to do with them. (Now Microplane offers a remarkably similar tool to slough calluses off of feet. Did you just lose your appetite? Sorry. It’s all pretty nifty to me!)