Chop Magic: Does it work?

Chop Magic is billed as the "Fast & Easy Way to SLICE and DICE!" It's a hard plastic, six-cup container that comes with two blades, one for slicing and one for dicing. The square blades fit on top of the container so you can place your produce directly on the blade. A hard plastic cover with a built-in pusher slides over the container so you can push the produce through the blades and into the container. It sells for around $20.

I enlisted the help of health and fitness advocate Lisa Marquart to put Chop Magic to the test. Marquart sets aside one day a week to chop a week's worth of veggies and fruit for her family. We started our test with half an onion, but the onion is too big to fit through the slicing blade. Turns out whatever you're cutting has to be small enough to fit on the blade without overlapping the sides. You also need enough height over the device to apply pressure.

After a fair amount of pushing, we finally got perfectly diced onions, but it was minutes, not seconds as promoted in the commercial. Our first try with tomato actually squashed a lot of the tomato and again, it was not quite as easy as in the commercial. But we did end up with nicely diced pieces in the container. We also had considerable tomato mess.

In all we tried Chop Magic with carrots, small white potatoes, onions, bell peppers, tomato, zucchini, apples, yam and cheese. After much pounding with minimal success, we gave up on the yam altogether. We had to use corn cob holders to pry the yam that did go through the blade- out of the slicer. The cube of cheddar cheese required extra pressure to push through the blade, and left a gooey mess in the special pusher.

Marquart's verdict? It's not nearly as fast as she expected.

"I wasted a half hour with results that I did not expect. Easy? No. Slicing? Not impressed. Dicing? Okay," she explained.

Even allowing for human error and several re-dos, Marquart gives Chop Magic a one on a scale of one to four. She concedes it's good option if you have a lot of dicing to do, and don't want to use a knife- but because of the repeated pounding and relatively inexpensive-looking construction, she wonders how long the product would hold up.

In our experience, the plusses were out- weighed by the minuses. You have to cut the produce to the right size to fit the blade. Due to the nature of some produce, slices weren't always uniform. Some produce got stuck in the blades. Some items took a lot of pounding- which caused the cushion rings to detach from the base more than once. We also had safety concerns when changing the slicing blades and dis-lodging food. And we still had a mess to clean up.