As a cook with decades of experience under her painfully cinched belt, my brand new Cuisinart® Pro Custom 11 appeared to challenge my hard earned title, “Kitchen Kween ~ Dark Mistress of Her Domain”. This bulky apparatus, with its seemingly simple pair of control levers, promised to take the drudgery out of my everyday existence by performing those tasks I tend to curse. Adding insult to injury, the boxy item looked a heck of a lot more intelligent and shapely than this domestic deity.
Recommend this product?
Ego assaults aside, I had not trudged through the mall, dragging a thirty-pound box of appliance and attachments, to admit fear. This was not my first foray into food processor ownership; I once claimed rights to a neat little number by Regal®. Sadly, overzealous chopping, slicing and shredding or the lower quality of workmanship forced that processor into permanent retirement after two years of loyal service.
The replacement purchased was of equally questionable quality, offered by the same manufacturer. It survived three months past the one-year service guarantee and passed on with an overly dramatic puff of smoke.
I acquired my Cuisinart® several months after selling the last Regal® processor to a perceptive shopper during a garage sale. She only desired the work bowl and blades but I insisted she take it all or nothing. (Yes, I have a truly evil side. I palmed off a crispy fried motor on a knowing consumer.)
My counter was glaringly bare as my quest for the perfect processor commenced. After procrastination reached epic proportions, my friend insisted we head to the mall and find a replacement. The purchase, made at Burdines for the sale price of $179.00, included the bonus of a Cuisinart® Mini-Prep food processor. Let all the retailers out in the real world know the truth – I am your marketing department’s target sucker for a two-for-one deal.
The Out of Box Experience
· 11-cup capacity Lexan® Work Bowl
· Lexan® Work Bowl Cover
· Incorporated Extra Large and Small Feed Tube
· Measuring Cup – Food Pusher
· Stainless Steel Chopping/Mixing Blade
· Stainless Steel Medium Slicing Disc (4mm)
· Stainless Steel Thin Slicing Disc (2mm)
· Stainless Steel Medium Shredding Disc
· Detachable Disc-Stem
· Dough Blade (Plastic)
· Spatula (Plastic)
· Five-year full motor warranty
· Three-year limited entire unit warranty
· Use and Care Booklet
· Recipe Booklet
Seed Me! Peel Me! Chop Me! Knead Me!
For those uninitiated in the joys of food processing, let me enlighten you. The devices require little maintenance and perform their tasks with precision and speed. Depending upon the capacity of the work bowl, the fortunate chef has the ability to process anywhere from one to twenty cups of fruits, vegetables, dough, meat, fish or whatever else you have in your refrigerator and pantry.
Food processors create even slices; chop, dice and puree in seconds; mix dough uniformly in half the time of most mixers; shred, grind and pulverize; all in record times. Unfortunately, the prerequisite to benefiting from the use of food processors still demands preparation of most foods by slicing into uniform sized pieces.
If they really desire my business, why did the manufacturers fail to come up with a way to skip that step? Truly innovative technology would force those vegetables out of the crisper and into the work bowl without my assistance!
Pros, Cons and Other Politicians
· The weight of the base prevents the counter-dancing my other processors performed when working with large quantities of food.
· Happily, the processor’s great insulation properties permit conversation in normal tones while mastering the art of slicing, dicing and, at times, mulching.
· The large control levers permit quick access to pulsing or continuous operation modes.
· The Lexan® work bowl, lid and feed tube are shatterproof, heat and cold resistant.
· The extra-large feed tube allows slicing/shredding of whole fruits and vegetables.
· The small feed tube (embedded in the larger food pusher assembly) properly aligns smaller fruits and vegetables for even processing.
· The slicing and shredding disks are durable and nicely designed for optimum utility and compact storage.
· The detachable disc-stem affords compact storage for the disc blades. I appreciate the ease in which it locks into place, serving as the base support for the slicing and shredding blades.
· The chopping/mixing blade, which serves as the appliance’s workhorse, remains sharp and simple to insert and remove even after years of use. This blade perfectly chops large batches of food or a single garlic clove with equal ease.
· The durable dough blade kneads three pounds of dough without lifting off the base. Often, when using some competitors’ processors, the dough blade becomes part of the dough (due to poor design and a less powerful motor).
· My test of any food processor is how well it mixes bread dough. The Cuisinart not only mixes the dough beautifully, it also kneads the final product with eight quick pulses. I love fresh baked bread but hate the arduous kneading process. My Cuisinart and I make almost as great a baking team as Martha Stewart and Martha Stewart!
· I appreciate the safety features built into this processor’s locking mechanism. Unless the cover and the pusher assembly are properly in place, the motor will not engage. This prevents little hands from accessing the spinning blades.
· As a seasoned food-processing aficionado, I did not fall prone to the usual mishaps. This time around, instead of listening to my family taunt me about creating tuna fish soup or round steak pâté – I purchased a pair of earplugs.
· The accompanying documentation claims the blades and Lexan® work bowl are top-level dishwasher safe. One sad experience with Lexan® served to warn me against this practice. After opening up the dishwasher, I found a misshapen and forever useless work bowl wedged between the cups and glasses on the upper rack. I consider that an expensive lesson.
· Hand washing all components takes a little time but, remember those blades are sharp! Take the time to wash and dry the blades and discs before tackling the work bowl and lid assembly. I shudder to think about reaching into a sink filled with sudsy water, only to lose a fingertip in the process.
· My only real bone of contention lies with the construction of the feed tube. While I like the idea of the ability to use one tube assembly for both large and small food items, cleaning that piece of equipment represents the only grueling and time consuming task relating to this food processor. Having the smaller feed tube built into the pusher assembly allows food scraps and liquid debris to catch in the unused portion of the device. I hope customer feedback, since the time of my purchase, served to educate Cuisinart® about this problem.
A few final suggestions from an avid food processor:
· Use the recipes in the accompanying Use and Care and Recipe booklets until you master the various techniques.
· Keep it out on the counter. The appliance is chunky but, if it is available, you will use it.
· Clean the plastic base with 409® Spray Cleaner, especially if you choose one of the white models. This prevents the yellowing that sometimes occurs with any white or light colored appliance housing a powerful motor that tends to heat up.
· Purchase the biggest model you and your counter space can afford. Rule of thumb: The bigger the work bowl, the more powerful the motor.
Is That Your Final Answer?
Well, Regis, you precious little purveyor of perkiness, since you cared enough to ask, ad nauseum, this is my final answer:
I love my Cuisinart® Pro Custom 11 and could not imagine preparing many of our favorite dishes without it. While others may feel the clean up processes are not worth the advantages, I find this appliance saves time and energy.
What I learned from this purchase reinforced my belief that we surely get what we pay for in life. The Cuisinart’s powerful, quiet motor makes the chore of processing food faster than less expensive clones manufactured by wannabee competitors. This Cuisinart® food processor earned my highest recommendation, two chubby though nimble thumbs up.
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Amount Paid (US$): 179