Pros: Perfect size, durable, powerful
If you cook at all, you need a processor. Period. It makes the mundane tasks associated with food preparation easy and fun. Why is this important? Well, dinner is one of the few times of day that we can be with our loved ones, and arguing over whose turn it is to slice the damn carrots isn't exactly domestic bliss. Also, it's an opportunity to teach kids some basic skills involved in cooking, and with several safety features, the Cuisinart could be used by most kids over age 10 or so.
I selected this size because it was just right. The size of the work bowl should match your needs. Cuisinart's smaller version has a 7 cup work bowl - ok for a single or young couple to prepare a single meal, but too small to prepare anything in bulk for freezing. To me this defeats the purpose of having the appliance in the first place, as it's supposed to make your life easier. The larger size has 14 cups of capacity, which might be ok for a larger family. But the drawback here is that if you use it every evening, you will want to leave it out, and it takes up a lot of counter space.
I paid 199.00 for this at Fortunoff's, and received a bonus extra work bowl and scraper. Here are the features I like best:
- The base is heavy, anchoring the unit in place during use.
- The blades and discs are very sharp, making for clean, neat, attractive cutting. Just be careful when handling them.
- The motor is powerful, handling pasta dough or cream soups with equal ease. Root vegetables don't stand a chance.
- The chute is a bit small, but easily cleared of any blockage.
- Assembly and disassembly for cleaning is a snap. All components can go in the dishwasher. The base cleans up easily with a soapy sponge.
- The unit will NOT operate unless the bowl and all blades are on properly, saving fingers from potentially nasty gouges. This is a great safety feature. BE CAREFUL HANDLING THE BLADES AND SLICING DISCS!!!
Things that don't thrill me:
- KitchenAid's competing model has buttons that are flush with the unit's face. If you spill something on your Cuisinart and it gets into the button area, you have a messy cleanup job to do.
- The scraper, a key component, seems a bit flimsy and wears quickly.
The instructional video is silly, but it did make me hungry. The best way to learn to use this is to have a friend show you, or to play with it yourself. The most frequent use is veggie chopping - omelettes suddenly become worth the effort!