Pros: Easy to use, easy to clean, and it gets the job done QUICKLY!
Cons: Storage can be dicey.
My husband got the Cuisinart Procustom 11 food processor for me two Christmases ago. It has not left its honored space on my counter since, in spite of a severe lack of counter space. Along with my mixer, I consider it an absolute necessity in my kitchen. Here's why.
It works! and works, and works, and...
I have had this little number on my counter being used on an almost daily basis for a year and a half, and it has only balked ONCE. (It does not like to grate cheese that has softened a while on the counter, but if you pull it straight out of the refrigerator, and grate... voila! mountains of grated cheese in literally moments, with no wrist strain!) I have put everything from nuts to frozen fruit to stiff doughs and more in my Cuisinart, and it has handled them all like a pro, with not even a shudder.
I am not a big prep-person... my dream kitchen has little bowls of already chopped ingredients that magically appear on the counters. Who has time to stand by the cutting board for hours on end? Not me. I can slice, shred, and julienne in moments. Thankyou! I never made things like apple pie, or potatoes au gratin before because I DREADED the prep... now I can have a pie in the oven in minutes. It's WONDERFUL. A pretty straight forward advantage, eh? But I'm telling you, it is not to be overlooked! I even make fresh salsa now! The difference in flavor is AMAZING... and well worth the difference in five or ten minutes between making it in my Cuisinart, and taking the lid off a jar! Julienned carrots or potatoes are easy as pie too... slice once, pull out the slices and pack them back in the chute, and slice again... perfect little match sticks every time... something I would NEVER even attempt with a knife and cutting board! Ugh!
What a lovely word that is... I am a bit wary of 'do-all' products, because I can't help but wonder if it does all those things well, or just does them to claim the label "all-purpose". My Cuisinart has earned the versatility label. Slushies, the afore-mentioned salsa, an outrageous family cranberry sauce recipe, sliced apples, no-tear onion chopping OR slicing, grated carrots, cheese, (even parmesan), chopped nuts, soup and stir fry prep, salad dressings, mayonnaises, sauces, and a personal favorite... doughs. I've used my Cuisinart for ALL of these, and probably a few I don't remember just now.
A note on dough...
I have a biscuit recipe my husband LOVES... he often asked me to make them, and I balked... why? The famous "cutting in" of shortening... there's the 'two knives' method, and the use of the quaint-looking torture device known as a pastry blender. Both take WAY too long, and tend to spill little puffs of flour and crumbles of dough all over the counter, no matter how big the bowl you use. (You should see the size of the salad bowl I used to use.) Am I a klutz? Perhaps you can be neater, but even so... why spend the time? I don't anymore... I measure out the dry ingredients, add the shortening, put on the lid, and press a button. SECONDS later I have the PERFECT crumbly consistency. I add the wet ingredients, (right through the top of the lid!) and start her up again... seconds later, I have perfect, EASY dough, with NO mess on my counter. THANKYOU Cuisinart!!
Who wants to clean?
The only thing NOT dishwasher-safe on this is the base, and it is smooth and easy to wipe off. Between this, and the workhorse temperament of my Cuisinart, I have myself an incredibly low maintenance machine that does the work I bought it for PLUS. Who can argue with that?
What it comes with...
The base, bowl, chopping blade, two slicing blades, a grating blade, a lid for chopping, a lid with both a wide and narrow tube for slicing and grating, and a stem which holds the slicing and grating blades in place, as well as, of course the various instruction books, warranties, etc.
Ease of use...
I was quite pleased with how easy this is to use... I have only been given pause a few times, on those first uses, as I was figuring out how everything locked together. It is NOT complicated, though.
And now... storage...
This is the only thing that I have had any issues with... all those pieces and parts... they aren't small, or easily lost (thank heaven!)... they're just a bit awkwardly shaped, and there isn't a plan, such as some appliances have, for keeping everything tidy. My solution was to use a large plastic bowl to chuck everything in... perhaps not ideal, but low maintenance... and I LIKE low maintenance.
Ummm... well... :) I wouldn't recommend putting a tablespoon of herbs in there or anything, because it is meant for big jobs, and in the time you would spend scraping everything together and getting it out of the bowl, you could have chopped them up with a knife. Also, in the instruction book, it says when making something liquid, do not remove the blade before removing the bowl, because the blade is part of the seal, and it will leak. They are NOT kidding. At first I found that a bit awkward... pouring stuff out while trying to hold the blade in place... then I grew a brain cell or two, and decided to just remove the blade once the bowl is in my hands and OVER the container I am puring my concoction into.. no mess... no juggling. Works for me!
So there you have it! One small appliance that resides permanently where I can easily reach it simply because I reach for it SO often and it does not fail. Sometimes I feel like I really DO have a little elf that chops all my stuff up for me!