My husband Bill and I have owned our KitchenAid 12 Cups Food Processor for a couple of years now, but it's only been recently that we've used it on a regular basis. We purchased our food processor at the AAFES (military store) in Stuttgart, Germany, even though it's built to American specs. In retrospect, it was pretty dumb of us to buy a food processor of this caliber for use in a German house because we ended up having to purchase a very large transformer so that its 700 watts of power would work in a house with 220 voltage. As it turned out, the transformer was too much for our house's electrical system and would trip the circuit breakers. I think we managed to use our food processor once or twice before we moved back to the States.
Recommend this product?
Now that we're back in America, Bill and I have been using our food processor more regularly. It really helps to have the right outlets and voltage to see what this machine can do. We mostly use it to shred cheese and make hummus, though Bill also uses it to mix bread dough. I'm a bit of a purist and prefer to mix my bread dough by hand.
What's in the box?
The KitchenAid food processor comes with a lot of tools. Ours had a twelve cup work bowl, a ten cup chef's bowl, and a four cup mini bowl. The unit also comes with a plastic box that contains other accessories. There are three disc blades for shredding and slicing, spatula, dough blade, egg whip, citrus press, recipes, and a multi-purpose blade. Everything is well made with heavy duty plastic or stainless steel. On the surface, it looks like the type of small appliance that will last for years. Pick it up and you'll feel how heavy and solid it is. It has a nice heavy duty power cord, too.
Using the machine
Bill and I probably don't do as much with this machine as we could. I hate cleaning up more things than I have to and this machine does have a lot of parts that get dirty during use. Nevertheless, it's easy to use with wide and narrow "feed" tubes, which allow ingredients of different sizes to be easily added to the bowl during blending. On the front of the machine, there are three buttons that control the speed of the appliance. One button is used for pulse control, a feature I rarely use.
This machine is billed as being quiet. I will comment that I don't think this food processor is quiet at all. When we use it, we can hear it all over the house; the motor roars. It would be difficult to have a conversation while using this food processor. However, it's very powerful and makes quick work of some of the more tedious culinary jobs like shredding and pureeing.
Why I don't use this machine that often
One of the reasons I don't use our KitchenAid processor all the time is because it's rather cumbersome. The unit weighs a solid 16 pounds and it takes up a lot of room. We store it on top of our refrigerator because we don't have room for it in our cabinets (which are filled with all our other small appliances). So to use this machine for a small job, I have to get it down off the refrigerator and find a clear spot for it in the kitchen.
Another reason I don't use this food processor very often is that it usually makes a mess. Food gets all over the parts, including the lid, particularly when it's used for shredding soft cheeses or making bread dough. Luckily, all of the detachable parts to this machine are dishwasher safe. The outside of the machine cleans up easily with a damp cloth.
If I have to have a food processor around, I prefer one that is solidly built and not made of flimsy plastic. Our first food processor is a Hamilton-Beech model that I picked up for about $30. It does what we need it to do, but it's not nearly as powerful or well built as the KitchenAid processor is. It also takes up about as much space.
The KitchenAid food processor comes with a one year "hassle-free" warranty. I'm not sure if it really is hassle-free, since our warranty period has long since elapsed. I do like the fact that this machine has a lot of attachments and tools, even though I don't use them as much as some other cooks would. I especially like the handy plastic box that comes with this unit; it helps keep all the tools neat and organized. Since I'm an incurable slob, this is a big plus for me.
I would definitely recommend this Americans specs food processor for people living in America. I wouldn't buy it again for use with a transformer, but I would buy it for use in the United States. I think it's a good mid-range consumer level food processor and worth the extra money.
Height: 16-1/8 inches
Length: 8-1/4 inches
Depth: 10-1/2 inches
Weight: 16 pounds
For more information: www.kitchenaid.com