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A grater, also known as a shredder is a kitchen utensil used to grate foods into fine pieces. It was invented by François Boullier in the 1540s, originally to grate cheese.


Several types of graters feature different sizes of grating slots, and can therefore aid in the preparation of a variety of foods. They are commonly used to grate cheese and lemon or orange peel (to create zest), and can also be used to grate other soft foods. They are commonly used in the preparation of toasted cheese, Welsh rarebit, and dishes which contain cheese sauce such as macaroni and cheese, cauliflower cheese.

In Slavic cuisine, graters are commonly used to grate potatoes for preparation of dishes, including draniki, bramborak or potato babka.

In tropical countries graters are also used to grate coconut meat. In the Indian subcontinent, the grater is used for preparation of a popular dessert, Gajar Ka Halwa.

Graters produce shreds that are thinner at the ends than the middle. This allows the grated material to melt or cook in a different manner than the shreds of mostly uniform thickness produced by the grating blade of a food processor. Hand-grated potatoes, for example, melt together more easily in a potato pancake than food-processed potato shreds.

In Jamaica and Belize, coconut graters are used as a traditional musical instrument[1] (along with drums, fife, and other instruments) in the performance of kumina, jonkanoo, and sometimes mento.


The cheese grater was invented by François Boullier in the 1540s in France with the idea that hard cheeses could still be used.[2]


Spiralizers are complex food-processing machines with grater-like mechanisms. These mechanisms rotate by the turn of a cluster to produce ribbons or noodles.


In popular culture

  • In The Sopranos episode, "Mergers and Acquisitions", Valentina La Paz reports, in disgust, to Tony Soprano that in lieu of having conventional sexual relations, Soprano family mob captain, Ralph Cifaretto, asks her to scrape a cheese grater across his back and pour hot candle wax on his testicles.
  • Comedian Mitch Hedberg performed a joke in which he stated that the negative name of cheese grater would be "a sponge ruiner."[3]
  • Kevin Eastman, co-creator of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, got the idea for the Shredder's armor from large cheese graters which he envisioned on a villainous character's arms to be used as weapons. Originally called "Grate Man," the Shredder is known as the primary antagonist in the TMNT franchise.[4]
  • Wisconsin sports fans are often called cheeseheads, and some wear cheese hats. In 2013, sports fans of Chicago and Minnesota replied to their rivals by wearing cheese graters.[5]

See also

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