On Black Friday each year, I usually find myself shopping for myself and my family--not for other people. It's a great time to get kitchen appliances and clothes. I like to get gifts for people that are personal and that usually means buying things that aren't on sale or don't go on sale. Clothes, at least for me, are hard to buy for other people (except for my husband).
So, this year, I had 2 appliances I was looking for. A food processor and a toaster oven. I scoured the ads and finally found what I was looking for. A cuisinart 7 cup food processor for $68 at Macy's (best regular price is $100 on Amazon) and a Black and Decker Toaster oven for $20 (regularly $45 on Amazon).
Food Processors: Here's my story.
16 years ago, I had a tiny 1 cup food processor/chopper and a 7 cup cuisinart food processor. Both were given to me by my father because he didn't want them. He wanted the big one--12 or 14 cup capacity. I found that I only used the 1 cup chopper on rare occasions. The cleaning it required wasn't worth the effort it saved. I did use the 7 cup often, though. I used it for salsa, chopping, shredding carrots and cheese, making hummus... A few years ago, I thought I really wanted a larger one--12 cups. So, I handed down my 7 cup to a friend (I'd given the smaller one to someone years before) and saved up for the larger one. I purchased a kitchenaid one though because it was a better price and I was able to open the bowl. I couldn't figure out how to open the cuisinart bowl for some reason.
A year later, my husband got me a vitamix. I loved it and it meant I didn't need my blender anymore. My husband was convinced that it meant I didn't need my food processor either. So, I passed it on to a loved one. I made do. I learned how to make bread crumbs in my Vitamix (though it took a lot ! longer) and haven't made a carrot cake in a long time. I also stopped buying chunks of mozzarella because they don't shred as well by hand. I stopped making hummus for my husband. I made less salsa the past two summers.
Then, a few weeks ago, a gal at church mentioned chopping carrots for carrot cake in her food processor. I prefer to use the grating disc and grate them because of the texture. But, it made me stop for a moment and think of all the things I've stopped making the past three years ago with the arrrival of my Vitamix. So, I decided to use my allowance and save up for a new food processor.
I started looking around. I looked at less expensive brands, but the grating disks were plastic with a small metal portion for the grater and/or they combined disks and/or the food processor blade wasn't reinforced well. I'd had experience with bad blades because the old style mini chopper by cuisinart constantly came apart on me, which is one reason I only rarely had used it. I looked at a new model recently and they've improved the design. So, I went back to looking at cuisinarts and resolved to save up for the size I wanted.
I do love my Vitamix and I'm very thankful for it, but it can't completely take the place of a food processor. It definitely takes the place of a blender though, because it is one!
Food Processors are one of those things that go along with my theory--middle of the road is best. I often want the biggest--kitchenaid, toaster oven, blender, etc. But, it's not the best choice. The largest kitchenaid (575 watts) still rocks and doesn't do any better than my 375 watt did. I didn't need the largest food processor--12 cups. A 7 cup is great. I like using it and it takes a lot less space on my counter. So, if you're thinking about getting one, I'd look in the middle. :)