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Do I really need a Food Processor?

I'm not looking to have anyone make my mind up for me. It's just that since I've never owned a FP I'm looking for some insights into it's uses that I might be missing.

In terms of food processing-related appliances, currently I have a powerful KA stand mixer, multi-speed blender, 1.5 c. electric food chopper, and a Borner V-Slicer Plus. We don't cook for large crowds very often. Other than a good pastry dough, does a FP get me more or more efficient functionality than what I currently have? TIA for your thoughts.

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  1. I've had a Cuisinart for years and years. Love it. I use it for shredding cheeses (homemade cheese blends are superior to commercial ones), grating vegetables, "smoothing" cream-cheese based desserts, making meat spreads, and purees. It can't be beat for its emulsion-producing abilities. But whether or not it will earn its keep for you all depends on how you cook. I'm sensing a kind of need from your post...

    4 Replies
    1. re: rexsreine

      Rexreine, what do you mean when you say it can't be beat for it's emulsion-producing abilities?

      1. re: pescetarian

        Mayonnaise is an example of an emulsion of egg and oil. Sometimes a cream sauce, gravy, creamy salad dressing or soup "separates" out. Recombining the elements of the food is a snap in the food processor.

      2. re: rexsreine

        Rexreine, you are correct in 'sensing a kind of need from your post'. Most of what you've mentioned are things I currently do with other the appliances. I guess my curiousity is that a FP may allow me to do them better or easier. Recovery from recent arm surgery taught me that these joints are not getting any younger. Things requiring manual labor like the v slicer get more difficult to use.

        In trying to justify it's real estate or, as pescetarian admits, not buying something I may not use too often I guess I'm talking myself into it. I guess it's one of those things that you don't NEED but you're sure glad you have it! Thanks for your comments.

        1. re: medford

          Medford's mention of arm surgery reinforces my first reaction to your original question.
          I first used my Cuisinart (three decades ago) to make minced meat /hamburger because I didn't like the quality of the burger at the local grocery stores.
          Since then, I've gone through bread phases, puree phases and have now got the Kitchenaid of my dreams which takes up some slack.
          But for repetitive motions of grating and chopping, I always come back to my Cuisinart and find as the years pile up on it and me that it's still frisky and efficient.
          And I'm coming back to it more often.

      3. It's odd, because though I think of my Cuisinart as a must-have item, in reality I don't use it very much at all. What I will say though is that when I do pull it out, it's the only tool that can do the job. Specifically I use it to make hummus, tapenade and other spreads and dips, as well as pureeing soup bases for chowders. If I'm going to mince a large quantity of garlic, it's much faster (even with the post-chop clean up time) to use the FP. It's good for some doughs. And, ok, I use it to make food for my cats, but I'm sure that's a discussion for another forum....

        1 Reply
        1. re: pescetarian

          Those are my thoughts on it, too, catfood aside.;-) I rarely use it but when I do, nothing else will do. I couldn't make tart pastry without it. Two knives work well in cookbooks but take way too much time.

        2. I don't have a large one but my small chopper is great when I need it. I don't cook a lot of large recipes and I can probably chop and mince with the best of them with a good knife. I've always feared the clean up.

          1. If you don't cook that much, then between the blender, the mixer, and decent knife skills you are probably getting by fine. But a processor is a nice thing to have.

            2 Replies
            1. re: KaimukiMan

              yes but I need a bit of exercise- despite my carpal tunnel-- what I really want instead of a food processor is a large morter and pestle a la Kylie Kwong-- my blender can do the other stuff a processor needs. Getting physicial when I cook is great for my stress relief....

              1. re: drmimi

                I have a food processor, which I love (and use a lot in my baking endeavors) but I also have a huge granite mortar and pestle that I picked up for a song at Marshall's and I'm really glad I bought it. There are some things that just taste better when ground in a mortar and pestle than pulverized in a food processor.

            2. How do you make salsa without a food processor?

              7 Replies
              1. re: bullsi1911

                I have a food processor and never use it to make salsa.

                1. re: bullsi1911

                  mexican cooks did it for generations, and it is still better that way

                  1. re: KaimukiMan

                    Sure, and people used to chase down animals with sharpened sticks, but it is much easier to go down to Whole Foods and get a steak these days.

                    Food processors make it easy to grate large amounts of parm. cheese for recipies, grating potatoes for potato pancakes, and liquifying a small amount of tomatoes and jalapenos to make the salsa juicy. To me, it's as necessary as a stick blender in the kitchen. There are other ways to do what it does, but why work harder when there are machines to do it for you.

                    Plus, I'm a gadget geek. :)

                    1. re: bullsi1911

                      Yes toys are fun... I just have a tiny kitchen, so I have to chose my toys wisely:) Also living on a tight budget so cannot afford too many bells and whistles. Also what I want to be able to cook without electricity as much as possible

                      1. re: bullsi1911

                        i don't advocate hunting with a stick, but I also don't have a stick blender. Everyone's cooking styles and needs are different.

                    2. re: bullsi1911

                      I don't own a food processor, and have made a lot of salsa. ;-) Being a college student, and also just starting to really cook, I don't use a lot of items to make it. Basically knives, pots, cutting boards, and some canning jars!

                      1. re: Erinmck

                        I remember those days. When I was in grad school, I made do with two knives for a food processor and a fork for a mixer. Cooking is much easier now with a food processor and stand mixer!

                    3. I had a food processor and gave it away. It depends on what your needs are. Unless you have a lot of counter space, think of what food tasks you do and if a processor will make them significantly easier. Beware the hype (unless you have a lot of counter space).

                      1. I actually just made a recipe from Beth Hensperger's Bread Bible - Cranberry Orange Loaf. One of the first steps in the recipe is to coarsely chop the cranberries with the sugar - in a food processor. Of course you could chop the cranberries by hand and toss them with the sugar - but processing them in the food processor made a kind of coarse cranberry slurry that you wouldn't quite replicate by hand. I'm not sure how much of a difference this would make to the final product, but the recipe has a lot of steps as well, so the convenience of completing this one task in seconds is worth using the processor (IMO) just for that reason only. And then the parts went right into the dishwasher, the base already wiped down and back on it's wire shelving home.

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: flourgirl

                          Thanks to all for your kind and honest input. I've decided that I do, indeed, need a Food Processor. You've confirmed that while my current gadgets do the job, a FP will probably help do better/easier. I've also looked at some recipes (old favorites and new ones I want to try) with a FP eye and I'm convinced.

                          Now for the next big decision--Cuisinart or Kitchen Aid? I did a little research when out shopping yesterday and I think I'm leaning toward the Cuisinart but hey, I've waited this long ... I'm off to review old chowhound threads on the subject. Thanks again!

                          1. re: medford

                            Cuisinart, their return policy is fantastic.

                            1. re: medford

                              Cuisinart, Everyone i know who has one (includeing myself) is very happy. I know they can be expensive, but I am still kicking myself for buying the smaller version, it makes it messier to make large quanitities with lots of liquids like soup, so think carefully about size too.

                              1. re: medford

                                If you can handle its size, check out a MagiMix f.processor. I'm drooling over it; but it's huge. Still can't justify it, though, as my 30 year old Cuisinart runs just fine. I'm settling for an immersion blender because transferring very hot liquids into a blender or food processor makes me unhappy.

                                1. re: Leoloveslemons

                                  I wonder why the Magimixes would be so huge; the ones here in the UK seem relatively space-friendly, which is one of the reasons I got mine.

                                  The immersion blender, and its mini-chopper attachment, are among my favorite and best-used kitchen gadgets. And so much easier to clean than a blender!

                            2. I rarely use the my food processor...it is heavy and a pain to clean relatively speaking. I usually do not cook large quantities at a time. If I were to add one thing to your group it would be a strong immersion blender which accomplishes much of what a food processor does but is much more handy.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Sinicle

                                I love my immersion blender (made a quick butternut squash for lunch today) but must disagree that it does what a food processor does. You can't make dough or a chuncky mixture with the IB as you can with the FP.

                              2. Your question is MY question, too. I have a terrible mini chopper (free! when you open a new savings account!), a KA pro, an immersion blender, a killer KA full-size blender, and yet I'm pricing FPs for Christmas. Good pastry is a primary driving factor, and I figure I'll use it to do other things once I purchase it. BTW, I've settled on the 9-cup KA. What have you picked out?

                                1. I can't believe that you have all that equipment, and don't own a FP!!! I have had a Cuisinart for too many years to even remember when I got the first one, I do remember you had to turn the handle back and forth to start and stop it (no buttons to push then). It is the most used piece of equipment in my kitchen. I chop, mix, slice, make pie dough,etc., etc., etc.!!!

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Mother of four

                                    Not expecting an answer here, but I bought one of those Cuisinart blenders that has a food processor attachment -- figured that it'd be all I need, and many cookbook authors just assume that you have a FP.

                                    Well, the instructions are so minimal, I have only the slightest idea of how to use the thing (there's a combination shredded-slicer blade) other than as per the few recipes included in the instructions -- which tell me much more about how to use the blender than the food processor.

                                    So, I could just buy a couple of carrots, a potato, an onion, etc. and start experimenting, or I could wait until I came across a recipe I wanted to try and hope that told me what to do. (I looked online, and the few sets of instructions I found were as minimal as those in the instruction booklet).

                                    In any event, heckuva way to run a railroad!