Although it came out years ago, I only recently purchased Anupy Singla's Vegan Indian Cooking: 140 Simple and Healthy Vegan Recipes - not because I'm really vegan, and not because I really know much about Indian cooking, but because I like Indian cooking and because I'm trying to be healthy. Anyway, one of the first recipes I tried required four cups of shredded cabbage. Shredding cabbage by hand is completely doable, but it's also time-consuming and probably not as much fun as you think. Ah, I thought, and not for the first time, if only I had a food processor . . .
Ms. Singla actually mentions having a food processor in the introductory section of her book, not as an absolute requirement but as a good thing to have. If I were cooking for a family, I'm sure I would have had one a long time ago, but I'm not. Plus, it's one more thing that takes up space in the kitchen, and something you really probably want to leave out on a counter. (Small ones only weigh five to seven pounds, but larger ones weigh 17 to 26 pounds, and I'm not hauling a 26-pound food processor out of the back of my pantry cabinet every time I want to shred something.) Plus, they cost money.
Anyway, the recipe turned out great, but I wasn't going to buy a food processor just to make one recipe out of a vegan Indian cookbook when I'm not even a vegan. But it turns out that there are a lot of things you can use a food processor for that I eat all the time. Like home fries, or hash browns, which probably aren't the absolute healthiest foods out there, or black bean burgers, which are probably better in that department, all of which I've previously made and all of which are (for me, anyway) a lot of work.
I needed a food processor. And if I didn't absolutely need one, I really wanted one.
Which led me to the question above - what is the best food processor to buy, especially for a guy not cooking for a large family who hates spending money needlessly?
Really, what I was asking was something like, "Since I don't need a big food processor, would it be okay to buy a smaller, lighter, cheaper, food processor as opposed to a larger, heavier, significantly more expensive food processor?" And the answer, as it is in almost all cases, was, "yes and no."
Let's start with the smaller one. If I was going to buy a smaller food processor, it would probably be the Hamilton Beach 70740 8-Cup Food Processor. It only costs around $30 and it only weighs about five pounds. That's not too much money, and at that weight I wouldn't have to leave it out on my kitchen counter. It has an 8-cup capacity (hence the name) and has a 450-watt motor, which should be strong enough for most jobs. But some of the reviews on Amazon seemed to indicate that the thing might not be all that durable, which wouldn't surprise me, because that's a pretty strong motor and food processing is a pretty big job for something that only weighs five pounds. I could be wrong - I can always be wrong - but that was my thinking process.
So I went bigger, heavier, and more expensive.
I considered two items: the Breville BFP800XL Sous Chef Food Processor, which has a lot of good reviews online, and the Cuisinart DFP-14BCNY 14-Cup Food Processor, which also has a lot of good reviews. In the end, I went with the Cuisinart. Why?
Price, for one thing. The Cuisinart (pictured above) was selling for around $180 when I bought it, and the Breville was selling for about $320. Since I'm past the age where I try to impress guests with how much money I can spend on kitchen appliances, the advantage went to Cuisinart.
Both machines look really nice. The Breville has a 16-cup capacity compared to the Cuisinart 14-cup capacity, but when I will need more than a 14-cup capacity is something I can't imagine. The Breville has a 1200-watt peak power motor (more power = good!), the Cuisinart has a 720-watt motor, which is also pretty darn good, especially now that I've used it and seen it in action. It really shreds amazingly, and you don't have to cut things up into little pieces before you shred them, which is really handy.
In the end, either one would have met my needs, and the (not at all cheap) Cuisinart was a good bit less expensive than the Breville. I'm really happy with it, use it all the time, and feel that I made the right decision given my set of circumstances. Hash browns, anyone?
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