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I'm 49, can I live without a food processor?

Barbara76137 Jun 28, 2011 10:02 PM

Granted, I didn't start cooking until my mid-30's, but I still seem to do just fine without one. I can't live without my immersion blender, but somehow a food processor isn't a big priority. What am I missing?

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  1. ipsedixit RE: Barbara76137 Jun 28, 2011 10:05 PM

    I dunno. What are you missing?

    I don't find either -- immersion blender or food processor -- to be a priority, much less essential.

    1. c
      clint1245 RE: Barbara76137 Jun 29, 2011 10:01 AM

      Depends on what you like to cook but I could not. Personally I think food processor is used way more then immersion, but thats just me. I use it for anything from pestos, marinades, vinagarettes, purees, sauces, breadcrumbs. I use immersion blender primarily for some sauces and soups, or if I'm cooking for ALOT of people and need something processed.

      1. chefathome RE: Barbara76137 Jun 29, 2011 10:04 AM

        I could live without if necessary but I love my food processor and use it several times per week - far more than I use my immersion blender. It really is more versatile as it can chop and thinly slice large amounts in addition to pureeing, emulsifying, etc.

        1. t
          thimes RE: Barbara76137 Jun 29, 2011 10:08 AM

          Yes you can live without it - but I have 3 . . . . . so maybe once you get used to them you can't go back - I have 2 small mini-prep sized ones and one 14 cup processor. The mini-preps get used frequently (sauces/pesto/chopping nuts/etc), the large one gets used whenever I am having a crowd (parties/Thanksgiving/etc). In fact I don't think I would do Thanksgiving for a crowd without it.

          1. twyst RE: Barbara76137 Jun 29, 2011 10:09 AM

            I never use mine. Perhaps once every 4-5 months I may break it out, but that's stretching it. I do use the chopper attachment on my immersion blender once a month or so though, and thats kind of like a mini food processor. I also use a mandolin pretty frequently.

            1. e
              escondido123 RE: Barbara76137 Jun 29, 2011 10:35 AM

              As Clint wrote, it depends on what you cook. I have a tiny and a large food processor and I use one or the other every week. The small for pesto, salad dressing etc, the large for pasta/pie dough. I would not make dough as often without it, though I obviously could do it by hand, I just wouldn't.

              1. cowboyardee RE: Barbara76137 Jun 29, 2011 10:35 AM

                I don't use a food processor for anything that I couldn't do with a blender, just a little less ideally. I have a very small one that gets busted out once every several months. My immersion blender gets used a little more often, mostly with the whisk attachment. My standing blender gets heavier use and more frequent workouts than either. My knives do most of the work in my kitchen though.

                So yeah - you can live without one.

                1. Barbara76137 RE: Barbara76137 Jun 29, 2011 10:52 AM

                  Thanks for the feedback. I use my immersion blender with the chopper/cup all the time for pestos, salad dressings, chopping nuts, etc., so I guess that is covering my need for a food processor. Now, if I were cooking large quantities of things maybe I'd feel more of a need for one.

                  1. e
                    ellabee RE: Barbara76137 Jun 29, 2011 11:33 AM

                    I'm 59 and have cooked for forty years without a food processor, but lately have been thinking about one -- particularly if we go ahead and get a little chest freezer to ease the pressure on our fridge freezer.

                    The most frequent use would probably be pastry dough, followed by breadcrumbs (particularly fresh breadcrumbs, as for meatballs; is there even a non-machine way to do that? I use quick-cooking oats in lamb meatballs). A processor would also take the tedium out of chopping the nuts into meal for bourbon balls (a Christmas-only treat).

                    I'm not a bread or dessert baker, but would definitely find it handy to have my own tart or pie shells in the freezer. I'd be unlikely to do more than one in a session if I have to cut the shortening in by hand, and figure a fp would encourage me to do several and freeze.

                    The slicing and shredding in quantity isn't a big draw for me -- we're a small household and even when cooking for entertaining or potlucks, I don't find that part of prep to be a chore.

                    1. r
                      RGC1982 RE: Barbara76137 Jun 29, 2011 12:30 PM

                      I am not sure what your age has to do with the rest of your question. If you want or need a food processor, buy one. Are you implying that you are too old to get one, or that you do not plan to try cooking new things that might require one? I am older than you are, and it would never occur to me to rationalize a kitchenware purchase based on my age, unless of couse I was just told that I had six months to live.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: RGC1982
                        ellabee RE: RGC1982 Jun 29, 2011 01:19 PM

                        Do you have any advice on the usefulness of a food processor, RGC?

                        1. re: RGC1982
                          ursy_ten RE: RGC1982 Jun 30, 2011 06:42 AM

                          I think the point was, she's survived this long without one... is she missing out on something, or can she continue to do without it?

                        2. BobB RE: Barbara76137 Jun 29, 2011 01:28 PM

                          Mostly the food processor is a time saver, not an essential. The only regular item I make that I absolutely would not make without one is fresh horseradish. I'm not going to torture myself and grate that stuff by hand.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: BobB
                            Passadumkeg RE: BobB Jun 30, 2011 12:59 AM

                            Xren! Ditto for me. I used to ssit on the porch w/ my skin diving mask on grating the horseradish!

                          2. scubadoo97 RE: Barbara76137 Jun 29, 2011 02:38 PM

                            I don't use mine as much as I use to. I just made tabbouleh and chopped two large bunches of parsley using a knife instead of the food pro. It did take a little longer but didn't bruise the parsley.

                            I'm making hummus in my blender these days but the food pro would be used if not the blender.

                            1. lawhound05 RE: Barbara76137 Jun 29, 2011 03:25 PM

                              I don't have one, either. I don't think you're necessarily missing anything. It's more of a time saver than an essential, in my opinion.

                              1. LorenM RE: Barbara76137 Jun 29, 2011 05:46 PM

                                I think as long as you have one of the three (blender, immersion blender or food processor) you can easily get by. Some things like pesto ,for example, can be done by hand but what a pain. I bought my food processor for around $30 on sale and it works fine so you don't really have to spend a lot of money on one.

                                1. JoanN RE: Barbara76137 Jun 29, 2011 06:22 PM

                                  No. Absolutely not. I could not live without my food processor.

                                  Sure. I just spent two months in Guatemala without a food processor and did just fine. One makes do with what one has. But back in my own kitchen? Recently got rid of my toaster oven. Superfluous. But my food processor? Never!

                                  1. DuchessNukem RE: Barbara76137 Jun 29, 2011 06:48 PM

                                    I love my food processor: pull it out at least 3x/week. Hummus, peanut and other nut butters, gazpacho, other veggie soups, tzatziki and other yogurt dressings, puree for dehydrator crackers, fromage fort, tomato sauces. If your immersion blender is doing all you need, then no worries.

                                    Personally, I wonder how I did without for all those years. :)

                                    1. sunshine842 RE: Barbara76137 Jun 30, 2011 01:19 AM

                                      I had a big Cuisinart and gave it away because I never used it -- too big, too heavy, and too big of a PITA to clean it.

                                      I have an Oster bee-hive blender that I used in Florida all the time -- but use here in more northern climes about three times a year. It has a mini-processor attachment that is one of the 3 uses per year.

                                      I have a Cuisinart immersion blender that I use for sauces and whipped cream (when I'm in a hurry and I only need enough for a garnish) -- I'm actually quite fond of it, although the next one will have a detachable head.

                                      I have found that I can do darned near anything with a knife that a processor can do -- and probably in less time than it takes for me to get it out, set it up, then take it apart and clean it and put it away.

                                      The blender only gets less use because I'm not making shakes and smoothies as often.

                                      If you're processor-curious, pick one up at a garage sale or a thrift shop...see how you like it. If you're lucky, you got a good one and won't HAVE to buy a new one -- if you got a mediocre to crummy one, it will at least give you a chance to play with it, then you can decide if you want to plunk down the money for a really good one.

                                      7 Replies
                                      1. re: sunshine842
                                        hill food RE: sunshine842 Jun 30, 2011 01:27 AM

                                        there have been time-efficiency studies (I wish I had a link) that suggest the appliance cleaning time vs. the hand-chop comes out as a wash. do what keeps you happy.

                                        1. re: hill food
                                          BobB RE: hill food Jun 30, 2011 04:55 AM

                                          Unless, of course, you have a dishwasher, as 2/3 of all American homes do.

                                          1. re: BobB
                                            Passadumkeg RE: BobB Jun 30, 2011 05:04 AM

                                            Call me 1/3, in either house.

                                            1. re: Passadumkeg
                                              BobB RE: Passadumkeg Jun 30, 2011 06:54 AM

                                              By choice? I haven't lived without one since 1987 and with the amount of cooking I do, would not want to give it up unless I absolutely had to.

                                              1. re: BobB
                                                Passadumkeg RE: BobB Jun 30, 2011 07:01 AM

                                                We've raised 5 kids w/out a dish washer. The kids learned their math facts while washing dishes. The kids are now grown, I cook for the 2 of us and just like I find cooking relaxing, my dear sweet wife finds washing the dishes, relaxing. A perfect yin and yang.
                                                ps I did have a Bosch dishwasher in Helsinki, where I did do a lot of entertaining and 2 young children.

                                                1. re: Passadumkeg
                                                  BobB RE: Passadumkeg Jun 30, 2011 01:04 PM

                                                  My wife and I also have certain household chores we enjoy (she's a fiend for doing laundry, while I find ironing very Zen) but neither of us much cares for dish washing. De gustibus.

                                            2. re: BobB
                                              sunshine842 RE: BobB Jun 30, 2011 07:02 AM

                                              unless, of course, you have to keep the processor stored away because of limited counter space, and you're not going to crawl under the sink to put the damned thing away until the bowl and everything is clean....which mean working around the motor until after the dishwasher has run.

                                              Knife skills FTW.

                                        2. Peg RE: Barbara76137 Jun 30, 2011 05:27 AM

                                          I'm 49 (obviously an important parameter) and I have a cheap food processor that I've used once on the past year (to make coleslaw).
                                          I use my stick blender (immersion) weekly.

                                          1. Passadumkeg RE: Barbara76137 Jun 30, 2011 06:38 AM

                                            I have been given 3 of them, including a conjones busting Cuisinart. I use them rarely. I use the small Oscar one the most, But as stated earlier a FP is good for grating horseradish. I also use it for grating raw beets for borscht and potatoes and onion for potato pancakes, but not a whole lot more.
                                            You can easily do without.

                                            1. Jay F RE: Barbara76137 Jun 30, 2011 08:37 AM

                                              I have one, but I don't use it often anymore, mostly because 99% of the time, I'm cooking for one. I use my regular blender for making mayo and cream soups (haven't bought an immersion blender yet), two of the things I used to use the Cuisinart for most frequently.

                                              I still use it for tart dough, chopping nuts, pulsing whole canned tomatoes if I'm using more than one can, and chopping carrots and celery if I'm making a lot of Bolognese.

                                              I only use the steel blade. I never used the slicing blade after the first time I tried it, and I only very, very infrequently use the grating blade, for lots of regular texture cheese (cheddar, swiss). I never figured out what the white plastic "knife" blade was for.

                                              If you don't mind shopping used, you might want to get one of the original Cuisinarts, the CFP-5 for cheap. They were really well made. Mine lasted 23 years, and I used it more than most people, I think. Here's one on eBay. I have no connection to the seller.


                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: Jay F
                                                biscottifan RE: Jay F Jul 1, 2011 11:16 AM

                                                The white plastic blade is for bread dough. You need to use enough flour (check the book) and the plastic blade is supposed to be easier on the gluten strands than the metal blade. P.S. it doesn't cut your fingers either when pulling the dough off the knife.

                                                1. re: biscottifan
                                                  Jay F RE: biscottifan Jul 1, 2011 12:56 PM

                                                  That makes sense. I've never made bread.

                                              2. tracylee RE: Barbara76137 Jul 1, 2011 03:47 AM

                                                I have a mini-prep that stays on the counter, and a larger one in the cupboard for larger applications. The other day, I made a rather large batch of pesto and ended up using both. The small for nuts, then realized that there was no way it'd hold the rest of the stuff, so I broke out the larger one. For more frequent use, I have my immersion blender and a tall plastic tumbler that it fits in perfectly.

                                                1. Barbara76137 RE: Barbara76137 Jul 1, 2011 04:39 PM

                                                  After reading all of your replies, I think I can do without. I have my blender and immersion blender and unless my cooking habits changed drastically, I can manage just fine. I have a bread machine and use that quite a bit for not only making bread but for kneading dough as well.

                                                  If I were cooking large quantities of food or if I was into baking, I'd definitely get one.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: Barbara76137
                                                    sunshine842 RE: Barbara76137 Jul 1, 2011 11:56 PM

                                                    I tried making bread with the processor -- but realized I *like* kneading bread. I use my KA hook if I've got an unusually large recipe or it's a high-gluten recipe...but I love the feel of the dough under my hands.

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