It's so awkward trying to cook in someone else's kitchen. I'm a gadget girl, I love my tools.
My bestie Rachael, on the other hand, spend the last 15 years of married life cutting everything with a CUTCO spatula.
I introduced her to the joys of the $1 package of four paring knives with colorful handles.
I tried to turn her on to getting a food processor, but the grave importance of it didn't sink in until we tried to make Oreo Bon-Bons in her VITAMIX. Vitamix's are amazing, but you can't make Oreo Bon-Bons in them, so really, what good are they?
I didn't grow up with a food processor, or good knives, so cooking was probably way more miserable than it needed to be. I got my food processor as a wedding gift from Hugh's aunt. The classic 7 cup Cuisinart. I knew I wanted it, but when it came down to using it I was terrified. That feeling quickly passed when I discovered the incredible power available with just the push of a button. Chop onions without leaky eyeballs? Shred cheese lickety split? Hummus? Pie Crust? Salsa? Just a few pulses away. Incredible.
About three years ago the top of the bowl of the Cuisinart cracked. It no longer locked into place so I was unable to use it hands-free. No matter. I was able to press down on it and it still worked perfectly well. And then last year, the handle started to break away. It still worked, I just had to be careful not to yank on the handle too much.
I began to dream of a new food processor...specifically, one that was MUCH larger. As the mother of four I had long since outgrown the 7 cup. I was getting tired of doing everything in smaller batches, or overfilling it the bowl and having it shoot flour or soup puree all over the counter. I began to make plans.
I decided to buy a 14 cup Cuisinart, because it was the largest one I could find aside from the behemoth 20 cup that Cuisinart makes for use by caterers, restaurants, and food hoarders.
Lets be honest...the only thing turning me off the 20 cup was the $800 price tag and slightly lessÂ gadgetry. The 14 cup had things like 2 sizes of blades and 2 smaller bowl that fit inside! Like three food processors in one! Wee! Stuff!
And the 14 cup was over $200. Yikes. I had a birthday coming up, but I've never gotten anything close to $200 for it. I decided to do the responsible thing and try to find something cheaper. My friend Kara mentioned that she was also in the market for a new food processor. Her was a three-cup whose motor started smoking one day as she was using it to prepare food for her family of six. I offered to let her have my Cuisinart after I replaced it with something else. She could replace the broken bowl and lid and it would be like new, but for about half the cost.
I found a KitchenAid food processor on Craigslist for $85. It was advertised as a "14 quart" which I knew had to be a typo. I stayed in contact with the lady throughout the month of May and finally went to pick up my prize, birthday money in tow. I was so proud to have found the thing I was looking for at a fraction of the cost. When the lady showed me the appliance I first noticed that the bowl seemed a little small to me. I'm not great with spatial relations but I went with my gut and said "This is a 14 cup, yes?" "It's a 12 cup." Ok, not exactly what I wanted but still...$85! KitchenAid!
When I got it home I pulled out the instruction manuel which stated it was for a...9 cup. You heard me. Two measly cups more than what I was already working with. I looked up the serial number to make sure and yup. Add one more to the long list of appliances I have bought used that have proved to be less than a smart choice. The washing machine that quit after 2 weeks. The dishwasher that tips over every time I open it too far because it's not bolted into anything (that's not anyone's fault but ours, but still.)
I wanted to call the woman to complain but I was haunted by sad tale she told me as she handed me the food processor. "I only used it three times. My husband died and I just don't cook big meals any more." Ugh. How could I call her after that? I decided to suck it up and try again next year.
But knowing that I had spent my birthday money on something that was not exactly what I wanted really stuck in my craw. It was a good food processor, and if it had been all I knew it would be fine. But I didn't feel like learning a brand new appliance only to switch AGAIN to what I really wanted later. I decided to go back to using my well-worn Cuisinart. We had been together almost 10 years...I knew her like the back of my hand. "Well, Bessie, it looks like we are back together." Â I had never named my Cuisinart before, but it seemed like a good time to start. I sold the KitchenAid to Kara because it was 3 times the size of her old one altogether much nicer and I knew she'd be really happy with it.
Then. It happened.
I was making S'Mores bars for a Girl's Night Out and was using Old Bessie to crank out some graham cracker crumbs when I heard A Sound.
A Sound that said Not All Was Well. And I noticed my graham crackers were not...crumbing...like they should. Because the blade had snapped. Bessie! After all I went through!
So, I'm back in the market for a food processor. Hugh says if we sell my old, creaky macbook that we can probably come up with the dough for the Cuisinart I really want. I hope it lasts as long as the last one.