More than what Cuisinart makes it out to be.

Jul 31, 2008 (Updated Aug 1, 2008)
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Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Durable, easy to clean, quiet, many accessories available.

Cons:7 cups can be too small at times. Bowl has square corners.

The Bottom Line: This entry-level 7-cup food processor's 600-watt motor can handle nearly every home use. Its utility can be extended from what its documentation implies by purchase of DLC-10 accessories.

Cuisinart markets this as its entry-level 7-cup food processor. As such, it can often be found on sale at department stores like Kohl's for as low as $75. What they would seemingly rather you not know, to the point where they de-listed some previously "compatible" accessories on their website, is that this is the same base unit as the more expensive DLC-10, bundled with less useful attachments.

The DLC-5 is a 7-cup, 600 watt food processor, that comes with three blades: a 1/8" slicer, a shredder, and a standard chopper. The shredder will process an entire block of cheese in two seconds and just as easily will grate apples, pears, or zucchini for baking. The slicer cuts too thinly for most purposes but makes very clean potato slices for the Spanish tortilla and can, at least in principle, following the instructions in the DLC-5's extensive manual, be applied twice to cut carrots or radishes into matchsticks. The two-arm chopping blade makes a very fine mince of vegetables--not too useful--and can also purée, make breadcrumbs, and grind meat (again, following the manual directions).

Its "killer app", perhaps, is cutting frozen butter and lard into flour to make a shortcrust, which is difficult and tedious by hand, and in some months of the year nearly impossible as the fat will melt into the flour. A 7-cup bowl is perfect for this but I find it a little small otherwise, whereas 11 cups, the next bigger size, is large enough for most family-sized recipes.

When we think of food processors a system of interchangeable disks usually comes to mind. The DLC-5's slicer and shredder, however, have fixed stems, and no disk holder is included. Cuisinart's website used to, but no longer does, list the DLC-10's disk holder as being compatible with the DLC-5. Removing it was a cynical business move, but doesn't stop you from purchasing the part anyway. This interchangeable stem and the various accessory disks greatly increases the DLC-5's utility, allowing use of, among others, thicker slicing disks, a fine shredder, and a 1/4" french-fry cutter. Like the fixed-stem disks included in the box, these disks are expensive but extremely sharp and hold their edges very well.

The DLC-5's feed tube is a bit narrow for my liking, with quartered onions barely fitting, but, likewise, the wide-mouth tube from the DLC-10 also fits perfectly.

At 600 watts, the base unit is powerful enough for most home uses, and after several years in service mine still runs as cool and quietly as when I bought it. The working bowl's ninety-degree corners--unlike the competition, Cuisinart still uses a cylindrical bowl--can be sometimes difficult to scrape, but the whole unit is easy to clean; the bowl is dishwater safe and all parts can be treated with a scrub-brush or mild scouring powder. A spatula proportioned for this bowl is included in the kit.

The Cuisinart DLC-5 is a good buy if it can be had on sale. Perhaps it's fungible with the similarly priced 7-cup KitchenAids, which now have sloping bowls; it comes down to a matter of taste. If it can't be had on sale, spend the extra $15-20 for the DLC-10. Having the interchangeable stem and the wide-mouth lid for the bowl from the start is worth the difference.

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