Kitchen Intermediates: Food Processor

Food processors were invented in 1973 as a replacement for all that detailed knife work. Unfortunately, while it has saved many cooks a lot of time, it hasn’t been quite as dependable as most of us hope for taking up that very valuable countertop space. And they can be very expensive. You can spend up to $900 for one of these machines. Of course, you can also spend at little at $40, but you might find that all you get for that price is an underpowered wide body blender that either doesn’t do anything or turns whatever you put in it into a paste before you can blink your eyes.

One problem with a food processor is that it either goes too fast, minimizing your control, or it requires a lot of advance preparation, making the time-savings moot. In my own experience, a food processor has very limited uses. I never use it for chopping, mincing or other functions I can easily achieve with my trusty chef’s knife. But I’ve tried making hummus or cutting butter into flour or sugar a real pain without a food processor. So, you should think carefully about whether you want to add this appliance to your kitchen. I strongly recommend you do a little research before making a decision. That should include a lot more than just price, power and attachments.

On the whole, I’ll stick with my knives and my box grater (which does pretty good even slices) and my own elbow grease. An immersion blender does a better job of pureeing foods, especially soups in the pot. A stand mixer is much better at making and handling dough. About the only thing I like a food processor for is making hummus. But that’s just me.

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