Are food processors worthwhile?

After much dithering and indecision I finally decided they were worth a try.

The indecision was mainly occasioned by the available storage space – i.e., sod all – so the machine had to be a compromise. No point in buying one so large I couldn’t put it away, or so small it was effectively useless.

Its main use is for making soup, particularly smooth soups and, after spending way too much time in the kitchen last week beating ingredients into submission with a blender, and pushing them through a sieve, the main results of which were agonising pain and exhaustion, as well as some really good soup, the decision was effectively made for me – I had to have one or give up on smooth soups.

The thing is, I like pea soup, but as I’ve written about in these pages – and it seems to be a world-wide problem – green split peas simply will not cook down to a smooth purée these days, you just wind up with a pan full of hot, wet, grit, so I’ve taken to making pea soup with frozen peas.** It’s very nice, but is also full of shards of pea skin – unpleasant to eat and, I dare say, a hazard for small children (and, on one or two occasions, for me too), which is how I came to be sieving the buggerdly stuff.

**Yep – tried blitzing green split peas in a blender – waste of time and effort.

It quickly became apparent that I was going to have to err on the small side because it would be easier to store, and because it’s the nature of these things that they spend more time put away than they do in use. In addition, with a larger one I’d be paying for functions I didn’t need or want, like yet another goblet blender (I already have three, I don’t need more).

What I wound up with, then, was a Kenwood FP120.

FoodProcessors-FP120-800x600-2Click pic to view full size – Back to return.

Sorry about the rubbish photo – Kenwood seem not to have entirely embraced the idea that potential customers might like to see what they’re getting!

Anyway, for £36.90 I get the basic functions – slice, chop and grate – which should be adequate, and even if  I do have to process the stuff in batches it’s still easier than blending and sieving.

A small machine like this should also prove useful for knocking up small batches of beanburgers, or veggie sausages, without having to drag out my heavy-duty sausage-making kit and/or make more than is actually sensible. And provided you don’t buy a monster that takes forever to clean, they can be Spoonie-friendly.

One thing that struck me as perverse, though, is that Kenwood say that if you just have very basic chopping needs, buy a manual chopper (the type where you bang a plunger up and down and is a right bugger to clean). Er, sorry guys, but no – that’s amazingly wrong-headed. If you just have basic chopping needs, buy a knife and learn a new skill!

I’d go further – unless, like me, you’re disabled, and even then knives are my first choice – try learning knife skills before investing in potentially expensive machines. You might well find you don’t need them.  Or, at least, need them less than you thought. Plus, of course, knowing what you’re doing with a knife is fundamental to almost everything else you do in a kitchen. If you doubt that, when society’s ultimate meltdown arrives, just try killing a pig, or dressing out a deer, with a dead food processor 😉


6 thoughts on “Are food processors worthwhile?

  1. Hope you have had an OK day…the barometer of which I take to be the post and length thereof. A propos food processors, I have one much the same as the one you’ve bought although an older and slightly bigger model. It’s great for anything that needs blitzing, especially dry ingredients but will be good for making sausages/burgers etc though you have to watch it as stuff can go to a paste before you know it, and you’ve lost all texture. It’s also good at chopping/shredding vegetables with the slicing/grating plates. I’ve also done fresh pasta in it. However, it makes the BEST pastry in seconds, so I hope you like pies! You have to set up the bowl with the blade in place and then add ingredients which may have to be weighed in something else…see there’s always a drawback, eh? If you find a way round that, let me know.
    Good luck with the smooth soups, which of course, it will tackle.. the bugbear may be your craving for peas (?). Fingers crossed for you on that…I would not like to be in your kitchen if your first sip has husks in it! I use the stick blender all the time in the saucepan, smooth results, though I hasten to add, sans peas.

  2. Without doubt! And as a kid, wasn’t it the BEST feeling when you saw that at the bottom of your work? Tried to stick one on here for you but the glue fell off…..

    PS Another bread making attempt scheduled today… amongst other things, I think I am using too much yeast. I read a great ‘yeast’ treatise here which gave very comprehensive info on ratios…

    • Sorry for the delay – not been a fun day – slept a lot.

      If you’re still using my recipe, a scant teaspoon of Fermipan in the starter, plus about a third of a teaspoon dry, in the flour, will give consistently good results, subject to those parts of the process which are outside of anyone’s control – atmospheric pressure, humidity, general buggeration.

      The “treatise” – for me – works too hard at complicating an essentially simple process. As I said in, I think, my first bread blog post, I wish I could tell you that bread-making was a complex and esoteric process understood only by a few – sadly, I can’t, as it’s actually very easy.

      I stand by that.

      And you’re trying too hard. Stick to one recipe – mine, for preference** then I can see if you go wrong – and where. Then keep plugging away until you can get consistent results pretty much on autopilot.

      **The 50/50 white/wholemeal is the version I use.

      When you can do that, you can try a different recipe, but not before, otherwise you’ll never figure out where you’re going wrong.

      And I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned it, but spoons are always measuring spoons, not cutlery spoons.

      Just a thought – you do slash the tops of your loaves?

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