Added bonus: cleanup is a cinch.

Adding some freshly shredded cheese to your dinner may seem like an afterthought, but the truth is that your humble box grater has merit that extends beyond a hunk of Parmesan (not that there's anything wrong with that). You can (and should) utilize your grater to shred all kinds of foods, like ginger root, lemon zest, butter, and even herbs — and thanks to this clever trick, you can do so without making a mess.

The trick? Simply look at your grater from a different angle. Instead of holding your box grater vertically and not exactly knowing how much food you're grating, turn the tool on its side and grate while it's lying flat. Since you aren't holding the grater up, you can use that now-free hand to keep the grater in place and exercise greater control.

Cheese beeing grated in the kitchen
Credit: iStock / Getty Images Plus

Grating cheese, while the box grater is sideways, is a neater way to grate — no stray shreds of cheese to clean up. Not on the counter, not on the floor, just inside the grater. So go ahead and get your box grater out of that drawer: Now that you know an easier and cleaner way to grate things, you'll want to use the utensil all the time.