Worth Replacing: Food processor

September 29, 2008

During the last several weeks as I’ve been working to perfect my butter tart recipe, it occurred to me how much use and value I’ve derived from my food processor. This workhorse is 13 years old and, until three years ago when I moved my test kitchen out of my house to its own location, this very unit was used both for personal cooking and recipe testing. The way I figure it, that makes this food processor’s age about 25 years old in domestic use terms.

I was surprised last spring during a recipe tasting for the Bakefest booklet that appears this time each year in Homemaker’s magazine to discover that a food processor isn’t considered a kitchen essential by everyone. In fact, more people at our tasting did not own a food processor than did. I was shocked since I truly would run out tomorrow and buy a new food processor if this one quit working tonight.

What’s the attraction, you ask? Although expensive as an initial investment, my food processor has paid for itself in pizza delivery savings alone. In about the same amount of time that it takes for the pizza guy to arrive carrying a $20 pizza, I can make the dough and shred best quality cheese in my food processor; roll and dress the pizza base and bake up a bubbling pie. I’ve estimated that the cost of the ingredients to make a 12-inch (30–cm) pepperoni and mushroom pizza using my food processor is less than $5. That means that each time I make pizza using my food processor instead of ordering it in that I save $15. Needless to say, if you like pizza (and we do!), it doesn’t take long for a food processor to pay for itself.

I also view my food processor as essential for making flaky pastry; I have warm hands which are great for kneading bread dough but not as well-suited for making pie and tart crust. Since I started making my pie dough in the food processor the quality of my pastry has gone up exponentially.

Do you have a food processor? If not, do you wish you had one? And, if you do have a food processor, what do you use it for most often?