Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I mentioned to Amy the other day (has everyone visited Amy's shop? It fits right in with what I'm thinking about here - buy as little as possible, but when you do buy look for quality things that will last and that are made with care) that our KitchenAid stand mixer was a great investment. We've had it about 10 years and use it regularly. Heck, we like it so much it got its own cabinet when we re-did the kitchen. I remember that when we bought it it was $200, and I was so unsure about spending all that money. (Looks like it's more like $300 now.)

Just as an aside, I never saw a stand mixer until I was an adult. I still remember the first time I saw Jon's mom pull hers out of the closet. I did a lot of baking as a kid, and finding an invention that would cream butter for me was amazing.

I was thinking about what other things we've bought that were not so easy on our budget at the time, but have worked out to be completely worth the initial ouch. Some that come to mind right away:

Calphalon cookie sheets (used ONLY for cookies - cheapo $1-$2 cookie sheets are fine for everything else). We've had these 10 years as well, and they look pretty much like new.

Good pots/pans (Actually, if anyone has any recommendations for pans that will last the rest of my life, other than cast iron, I'd like to hear them. They need to be able to go in the oven. They don't need to be dishwasher safe.)

Silk long john's

Wool sweaters

Wood furniture

Glass containers

Handmade items

For the past couple of years I've been considering the idea of a food processor. I go back and forth on whether it will really save me so much time/effort that it's worth the cost and space in the kitchen. On the one hand, I've lived just fine without ever using one. On the other hand, there are things that look so much easier to do with one (chop nuts for example). If you have one, what's your opinion? Should I stick with my knives? Is there a brand you use that you'd recommend? Is it worth getting a bigger one? I think I'd almost need to be talked into it, really. I can see my kids growing up and using my mezzaluna. I can see a food processor ending up broken and in the trash. But if I'm wrong, I'd like to hear about it.

Oh, and check these out. They have a lifetime guarantee for breakage. We go through a LOT of straws, so I'm thinking these might be a good investment.


latisha said...

i'd be a kitchen mess without my food processor. but since you've never had one maybe it's not worth it. i have the ol cusinart big and small and would never leave home without them. easy to clean, easy to replace broken lids that accidentally get stepped on....

but great for shredding meat, making thin slices of everything in seconds, like you said nuts and seeds, pestos in seconds, i use mine to puree veggies for 'creamy' soups as well.

Frank said...

Our food processor sits unused most of the time. Even if I'm maing a big batch of something, I just don't bother with it. I do have a mouli grater which I love for nuts, cheese, etc.

... It's The Journey said...

I'm getting a new (old) mixer that I can order the food processor to attach. My parents are downsizing and the mixer is not that old, it's the elite version. My old processor is cracked. Mostly from overuse! I make coleslaw in a snap and it tastes way better with a fresh thin slice on the shred, unlike pre-shredded.
Get one :) you will use...
Glass straws - use 'em everyday, you only have to buy once!

jkream said...

For the record, The KitchenAid is great, but not big/powerful enough for the bread making I've been doing lately - I want the Bosch Universal Mixer, and its a food processor too - so 2 birds with one expensive stone right? - and I hate that I have to be careful with metal utensils and can't put the calphalon in the d/w

jkream said...
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jkream said...
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Life With Us said...

I use my food Chopper from Pamperd Chef more than my food processor but than again you cook more than I do.

Jessica said...

I'm with ya on the buy an expensive piece of equipment and it will serve you better/longer. My kitchen aide blender and mixer are wonderful. My other items I love are a mid grade juicer and a very inexpensive processor from Black and Decker. It is their Handy Chopper Plus product and was less than 20.00 and I have had it for YEARS! I use it for chopping nuts and veggies, when the veggies need to be very small. I love it for onions b/c I just hate the crying. It is easy to use, easy to clean and after years of use the blade is still sharp enough to easily chop everything I use it for. It does not julienne or dice things, though. I still do all that by hand, I have not found anything that doesn't rip the veggie to shreds and would love to hear from someone who has something that does those things well.
BTW, did you ever figure out what your tree/bush was?
Happy Cooking!

Sandra Dodd said...

I have a Sunbeam/Oskar food processor I've had for ten years, hoping it would die so I'd need to get a better one, but I guess I don't need a better one. It holds about a cup of stuff; sometimes I have to run part of the stuff at once. But here's what it does that nothing else will do:

Dove bar and cashews.

I can grind those together into a mealy-state, add them to the tollhouse cookie recipe or to the recipe on the oatmeal box (no raisins) and it's awesome.

I use it to make rum balls, too (though I use orange marnier instead of rum, and I use pine nuts sometimes instead of pecans).

It's a luxury, not a necessity, just as most tools are. I could hammer nails with a rock but I don't want to. (Hey wait,though. I could probably crush dove bar and cashews with a rock!)

Rue said...

Latisha - ok, score one for Cuisinart. Thanks :o).

Frank - I'm afraid the mouli grater would hurt my hand/wrist. (I have issues.)

It's the Journey - Vote 2 for a processor.

jkream - You know I'd love one of those too.

Life with Us - Is that the kind where you push down on the top? We had a cheap one of those a long time ago, but I never used it. A knife seemed just as fast. Maybe that's a good sign that I should stick with a knife. Hmm...

Jessica - I've seen those cheaper ones and wondered if they were any good. I actually don't mind a good onion cry. I don't cry much in general, so I figure it gives me a good rinsing out :o). I don't feel like I've determined what the trees are well enough to feel comfortable eating the berries yet. I'm going to keep working on it.

Sandra - Dove bars and cashews. I do like the way your mind works *g*. Anyway, yes, absolutely luxury not necessity. I'm not opposed to a little luxury :o).

Deanne said...

I highly recommend the Revere Proline cookware. We have had our set about 13 years and it still looks new (yes, we use it daily.)

You'll see one bad review there, and I think it may have to do with wether you have an electric or gas stove. We have electric, and it took some getting used to because the bottoms do retain the heat quite well. I prefer a non-stick pan for sauteeing or frying, and DH likes cast iron, so it's like most things - personal preference. ;)

Madeline Rains said...

I covet Le creuset pots and plan to buy one every several years for the next few years. They are guaranteed for life, oven safe, beautiful but expensive. I too love my pampered chef chopper way more than the food processor. Takes up so much less room. I do looove my new Blendtec blender and will show it to you next week as I can't leave home without it.

christinemm said...

Ditto on the Kitchen Aid stand mixer.

We hardly ever use our Cuisinart but when we do it is a major time saver. We only use it to finely chop veggies or make pesto. The directions tell you to use it for cookie dough & other things that I use the mixer for. Don't want it for that.

What you should aim for is All-Clad pans. Buy one at a time as you can afford it.

The other must-have expensive thing is a really good knife set. Our favorite is Lamson Sharp made in the USA. We feel our Henkels are just above garbage despite them being heavily marketed as an expensive but high quality product at the time we got married. Now we are slowly buying Lamson Sharp. The offset bread knife and the bird's beak paring knife are wonderful!

Nice post.

Rue said...

I think I've more definitely landed in the no food processor camp since I last posted. Both yesterday and today I made things that would have been faster with one, and I don't feel any need to 'save' the 10 or 15 minutes I spend mincing peppers for hummus or crushing graham crackers for a cheesecake. I can (and do) just enjoy the doing.

Knives are a great addition to my list.

I'll be checking out the pots you all recommended. Thanks :o).