Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Bittman's Paean to Food Processors

I would agree that a food processor is an indispensable home kitchen appliance... but Bittman's exasperation with making mayonnaise the traditional way seems a little overwrought:
By-hand instructions for mayo require you to dribble oil — not quite drop by drop, but close — into an egg-acid mixture, while beating with a fork or whisk. It’s doable and it’s fun — once.

By machine, you put an egg, a tablespoon of vinegar, two teaspoons of mustard and some salt and pepper into a bowl; you put the top on and start ’er up; pour a cup of oil into the pusher, with its little hole, and go sip coffee or do yoga. The oil drizzles in, and you get perfect mayonnaise in a minute. That alone is worth the price of admission.
I don't make mayo all that often (in fact I've only been making it at all for about a year), but I've never found it to be either hard or time consuming. YMMV I suppose.

I also don't use a food processor for chopping (though using it for grating is a superb idea), and that's because I actually like chopping things. However I know it's fairly common for people to feel the opposite, and thus avoid any recipe that requests lots of dicing, mincing, and/or julienning... so I think it's a fairly good thing to point out that most of this can be achieved by using those food processor attachments that are gathering dust in a cabinet... and based on how extraordinarily dull the knives are that I encounter in friends' and family's kitchens, this might be best and safest option for everybody involved.   Though this train of thought begs the question...  do people hate chopping things because their knives are dull and sucky?

EDIT: Probably a good idea to spell the fancy word I threw out there correctly, so I don't look like a (complete) idiot