This electric kitchen appliance can be used to quickly chop, slice, shred, grind and purée most foods. It basic components are a motorized base, a transparent work bowl with lid and feed tube and a set of attachments or discs that perform different tasks.
The standard attachment is a stainless steel "S"-blade used for chopping. Common extra attachments include dough blades, egg whips, julienne discs, French fry discs and citrus juicers.
The invention of the food processor is credited to Carl Sontheimer, an accomplished engineer whose microwave direction finder was used by NASA in a mission to the moon. In 1971, Sontheimer attended a cooking show in France where he discovered an elaborate industrial blender. His long-time love for cooking inspired him to adapt the machine for use in the home kitchen.
After a year of modifications, Sontheimer marketed his new device, the "Cuisinart," in 1973. It took two years for the public to realize the benefits of the food processor, but once they did, it revolutionized food preparation in kitchens around the world.
- Food processors come in three basic sizes: full, compact and mini.
- Full-size bowl = 9 to 13 cup capacity
- Compact bowl = 5 to 7 cup capacity
- Mini bowl = 2 to 5 cup capacity
- The heavier the base, the less likely it is to move around when being used.
- Buy extra work bowls if you don't want to wash out the bowl between tasks.
- Check that the parts are dishwasher-safe. This saves cleanup time.
- Use a shredding disc to efficiently grate ingredients like cheese, chocolate and carrots.
- Use the slicing disc for perfectly even slices of potatoes, apples and onions.
- To chop vegetables into more uniform pieces, pre-cut into 1-inch pieces and then process on "pulse."
- To chop hard foods like garlic and cheese, drop food through the feed tube while the machine is running.
- To more easily grate soft foods like dried fruit, meat or chocolate, chill the food in the freezer to stiffen.
- To chop fresh herbs, make sure the work bowl and chopping blade are completely dry.