Did I Really Want One of Those? 6. Rap’tou

Shredded knuckles? Moi? Non.

30th December 2013: Realised tomorrow we’d be having visitors on New Year’s Eve. Heck, this means buffets, cheesy pineapple sticks, vol au vents. (Holy Cack, I’m going all Abigail’s Party here before you could say ‘Demis Roussos’).

It’s a Monday. A normal day. Also the last normal day at the superstore before New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Right at the spur of the moment, you neglected to sort out the food for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. You check the fridge and realise that you’re short of spring onions, have a few leftover Julianne carrots and a single cherry tomato. So you nip to the TESCO store in Portwood.

You return home and find your partner has found a grating machine which looks like a mincer on steroids.


Rap’Tou was pretty much a late 1980s invention. Marketed by K-Tel and a few other advertisers (often with an Admail address in Plymouth), it claimed to chop carrots in a flash. It could cut ice, chip and peel potatoes and slice cheese. As the name of the item suggests, it is a French product.

The likes of K-Tel and Ronco hadn’t been averse to selling kitchen devices, with earlier examples including the Veg-o-matic (with its ‘set it and forget it’ mechanism). With cookery programmes gaining greater popularity in the UK (before replacing children’s programming completely), Rap’Tou was advertised in the daytime on terrestrial channels. On satellite and cable channels, Rap’Tou would appear in the new wave of television shopping slots, outside each channel’s broadcasting hours.

The device resembled an oversized hand powered mincer and came with a variety of grating blades. It was hand powered and needed no batteries. In recent times, Rap’Tou was relaunched as a kitchen gadget under the auspices of Jamie Oliver’s ‘Ministry of Food’ brand.

*                                *                                *

1990 price: £19.95.

2013 price: £9.99 (secondhand from eBay, checked 12 November 2013).

S.V., 06 December 2013.


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