For decades, I regarded a food processor as “a luxury item” in the kitchen. I didn’t cook enough to really justify spending a hundred dollars or more for a quality machine, so I bought a thirty dollar Black & Decker unit for those rare situations when I wanted it.
That machine was so loud, it required hearing protection (not kidding,) the input chute was tiny, and it didn’t do a very good job – I got precisely what I paid for. It was this model (or one much like it) and the photo makes it look far more effective than it actually is – peppers would not have fit through the chute.
… and I lived with it for over ten years.
What a fool I was. This past year, I picked up a nice Cuisinart food processor – but I didn’t really start using it until the last couple of months. Why? Because I had put myself into this mentality of “food processors aren’t worth the hassle of getting it out, cleaning it up, putting it away again.” Silly, silly me.
Now that I’ve begun using it, though? Holy wow. It saves so. Much. Time! The odious tasks of chopping or slicing an onion, or thinly and uniformly slicing two dozen carrots take seconds. That alone is more likely to help me include more veggies in our meals, making them healthier and tastier. Tonight, I made a variation of a recipe I found via Real Food for Less Money (sweet and sour lentils) and made a sweet, hot and sour veggie lentil soup. Prepping the veggies would have taken me easily twenty minutes by hand, but it took less than five with the Cuisinart. It cleans up in seconds.
I’m in love.
If I were handier with a knife, this probably wouldn’t be such a big deal, and I know technically the food processor is a luxury item and not A Necessity… but if it saves me time and helps me to make healthier foods? A+, man!
Now, the luxury item: A Cuisinart ice cream maker my brother- and sister-in-law got us for Christmas. We got it a week ago, and I’ve already made
three four batches; two of vanilla bean, one chocolate and one chocolate mint chocolate chip. Oh. Yummers! I have a particularly soft spot for ice cream, and I love knowing exactly what is in our treats.
I grew up in the seventies out in the country. Very rarely in summer, we would break out the old manual ice cream maker. This was a laborious affair, involving rock salt, a bag of ice and a lot of cranking by hand. My dad usually took care of the cranking, but sometimes I “helped.” It was soooo delicious! Now we can have the same creamy goodness, but without all the hard work. I feel incredibly spoiled… but I love it.
A batch takes less than a half hour from craving to soft-serve completion. It’s marvelous.
I suppose my point is this. Even though we are all working toward sustainability and responsibility, sometimes we have to have treats along the way. We don’t have to live dreary, meager lives – we can be responsible and green and still have some ice cream now and then.
If we get our solar panels installed this year, I won’t feel nearly as guilty about using a little electricity, too.