To roll-cut a cylindrical vegetable, first make a diagonal slice near the stem end and discard the stem. Be alert to the angle. A too-sharp one will yield a skinny tip that will turn flabby upon cooking or marinating, and too slight an angle is not as attractive. Next, roll the object a quarter to a third of a turn away from you, then slice again at a similar angle 1½ inches farther down. Continue rolling and slicing until the whole object has been reduced to evenly long segments with diagonally cut ends (except in the case of asparagus, where one end should sport a nice purple tip). The ends will not be neatly parallel if you have roll-cut properly. They will be splayed out, slightly awkward looking, and feel witty on the tongue.
© 1982 Barbara Tropp estate. All rights reserved.