Shred the cheese. Slice the ham. Chop the peppers. Knead the bread.
I have spent countless hours chopping, cutting, slicing, kneading, grinding, and shredding ingredients in my kitchen.
For each prep method, there is some serious leg (or arm) work to be done. Kneading bread is next to impossible. I’ve sliced my fingers when chopping vegetables (just the tips, but still!). And I’ve scraped my knuckles when shredding cheese.
Plus, after all the slaving away for a delicious home-cooked dinner, there are a bunch of dishes to be cleaned afterwards. There’s nothing more demoralizing than dishes after the wine has set in.
If preparing your own meals didn’t consist of lengthy prep times and endless dish washing, going out to eat would be far less popular.
Eventually, I got tired of all the tedious food prep methods. I jumped into Google, did some research, and found a couple options to improve the experience.
My first purchase was a mini food processor. I figured I could save money over some of the more expensive options and still get close to the results I was looking for. When it arrived, I pulled it out of the box, plugged it in, and hit the button.
Nothing happened. Out of the box, it was completely broken. This had to be karma catching up with me — I wanted the best of both worlds: quick food preparation and a cheap price.
I learned my lesson.
I returned to my Google search and was met next with The Sweethome’s guide to the best food processor. Without even thinking, I clicked on the Amazon link, ordered Cuisinart’s finest food processor, and eagerly awaited for it to arrive. In the meantime, I scowled every time I had to slice through another green pepper.
When the Cuisinart Custom 14-Cup Food Processor arrived on our doorstep, my speed in the kitchen shot through the roof. I can now prepare dinner in a fraction of the time and have the courage to try all sorts of new recipes.
The Cuisinart Custom 14-Cup Food Processor takes “food prep” to an entirely new level.
What It’s Made Of
The Cuisinart Custom 14-Cup Food Processor is surprisingly large and heavy. Like, really heavy. Eighteen pounds heavy, in fact. I struggled a bit to get it out of the box.
The food processor is made up of a bunch of parts:
- Solid base with 2 control buttons
- One (1) large 14-cup mixing bowl
- Plastic spatula
- Cover with an extra-large feed tube
- One (1) small and one (1) large “pusher”: a plastic mechanism used to push the food through the top of the food processor
- One (1) 4mm slicing disc
- One (1) medium shredding disc
- One (1) chopping/mixing dough blade
The base makes up the bulk of the processor and houses all the excessive weight. At 18 pounds, you’re either going to need lots of counter space to leave it out when it’s not in use, or you’re going to have to gain some muscle to store it. Whatever you decide to do with the base, storing all the small pieces will also be a pain.
The base has two simple controls: “On” and “Off-Pulse”. Pushing the “On” button locks the Cuisinart Custom into a continuous processing cycle.
Once the “On” button is locked into place, you have to hit “Off-Pulse” to stop the processor. “Off-Pulse” is a non-continuous option. Press “Off-Pulse” down and the processor roars to life. Let go and the processor stops. “Off-Pulse” is good for chopping vegetables and shredding cheese. “On” is good for grinding meat and puréeing ingredients for soups and dressings.
The large 14-cup mixing bowl is simple and easy to use, but I’ve been surprised with how quickly I’ve filled it up. It doesn’t take much cheese or dough to bring the bowl to its max. Now that I know how quickly the 14-cup bowl fills, I would never buy smaller than 14-cups if I had to re-buy.
All the small parts are made of plastic. The pushers are a clear, transparent plastic that still feel durable in your hand. The feed tube at the top is transparent as well. Each circular disk is made of plastic except for the sharp metal slicers and knives. The chopping/mixing dough blade is especially sharp.
People will love that it’s dishwasher safe. However, maybe it’s just me, but I don’t like putting good quality dishes or appliance accessories into the dishwasher. I prefer to hand wash them. If I don’t want to dirty a bunch of accessories, I’ll opt to hand-chop a cucumber instead.
What I’ve Made With It
An efficient food processor like the Cuisinart Custom 14-Cup Food Processor has opened my eyes to the world of homemade food. The machine is incredibly handy, allowing you to make sauces, soups, and salads within minutes instead of within hours.
Over the last few months, I’ve experimented with my own homemade marinara sauces, fresh basil pesto, hummus, and puréed butternut soup. You can always buy sauces like this at the grocery store, but there is a satisfaction in knowing exactly what’s going into each sauce before you eat it. Plus, because everything is fresh instead of canned, there’s just a bit more flavour to be had on my dinner table.
Of course, you don’t need to make sauces, soups, and salads with the food processor to be truly taking advantage of it. I always cry endlessly when chopping onions with a knife. With the Cuisinart Custom, I can quickly throw an onion in and, less than three seconds later, I have a perfectly minced onion, free of tears and chopped fingers. The same can be said for garlic, peppers, or cucumbers. Rather than whipping out a knife and cutting board, a quick trip through the food processor saves bundles of time.
But, of all recipes I’m most proud of thanks to the Cuisinart Custom, I’ve come to be most proud of my shredded cheese. Here in Canada, we spend a ton of money on shredded cheese. I took a trip to the grocery store this week and noticed bags of shredded cheese were as high as $11. A block of cheese, on the other hand, was between $6 and $7. So, instead of wasting $4 on every single bag of shredded cheese, I buy a block and have my husband run it through the Cuisinart Custom. As long as I can store the shredded cheese, this is one of the easiest ways to save a few dollars on groceries every week.
You can find a dozen other ways to use a food processor over at Pinch of Yum. While Lindsay admits the whole point of the blog is to show her love for her food processor, you can find a ton of awesome recipes and other cooking and baking ideas on her site. If I’m ever short on food processor inspiration, Pinch of Yum is the first site I bring up.
Who It’s For
I could say the Cuisinart Custom 14-Cup Food Processor is for someone looking to save time on food prep and dishes and I wouldn’t be lying.
But I also think this food processor is for a home cook who prides themselves on cooking whole food ingredients for their family. I genuinely like creating my own sauces, salads, and soups — not only can I be creative in what is added, I know the exact ingredients of all the food I put on the table. There are plenty of healthy options that can be found at the grocery store, but nothing feels quite right when you don’t know what’s actually in your food.
It’s amazing to me that you can make a puréed soup out of vegetables, broth, and some simple seasonings, and have such incredible flavor. This machine makes it fun and easy to prepare new, exciting dishes that have a wide range of flavour, all with simple ingredients found in the produce section at the grocery store.
I mentioned earlier I tried to cheap out and buy a less expensive option before I jumped into the deep-end on the Cuisinart Custom 14-Cup. Since it didn’t even turn on out of the box, it might not be fair to say you should get the more expensive Cuisinart Custom.
Either way though, at $200, the Cuisinart Custom won’t break the bank. There are more expensive options — like the Breville Sous Chef — that provide more features and buttons, but I’ve never once been disappointed with the speed and consistency of the Cuisinart Custom. In my mind, there’s a good reason why the Cuisinart Custom 14-Cup Food Processor sits atop The Sweethome’s list.
As I’ve grown up and watched my mother and grandmother cook and bake in their kitchens, I’ve learned to appreciate how physical making dinner can be. Kneading bread takes serious arm strength and stamina. Chopping vegetables requires good hand-eye coordination and quickness. And there’s nothing quite like stirring a homemade hummus for long amounts of time to get rid of all the clumps.
In the modern kitchen, there are appliances for all the heavy kneading, quick chopping, and endless stirring. I reviewed the Kitchenaid Pro 450 Mixer for Tools & Toys and noted how you could walk away from the Kitchenaid while performing other tasks in the kitchen and come back to a perfectly mixed batter or dough.
The same can be said about the Cuisinart Custom 14-Cup Food Processor (although you might not want to walk away from it). Between these two appliances, 90% of my laborious kitchen needs are covered.
My grandma would think I’m spoiled for all the automation in my kitchen.