So ten days ago I purchased my first food processor--a gorgeous stainless cuisinart with frighteningly sharp blades (we were actually given a food processor for our wedding almost twenty years ago, but I returned it to Costco thinking that we needed cash more, and besides, our kitchen on 95th and Amsterdam in Manhattan had literally two inches of counter space and no cupboards.) This machine is dreamy, and I've used it every day for the past ten days to puree soup, make hummous, julienne jicama, shred sweet potatoes, mix pastry dough, and best of all to make fresh bread crumbs.
But today I realized that there is something better for vegetable prep than a cuisinart: small children. Here are the tools and materials you need: one three-year- old, one five-year-old, two butter knives, two chopping boards, two prep bowls, one large prep bowl, and a head of cauliflower. Cut the cauliflower into eighths, and give each child one-eighth of a cauliflower to prep at a time. Instruct the little choppers to cut the cauliflower into small pieces and to break off or trim off the large stems. It takes them a good hour to prep the whole thing, what with the concerted effort of chopping with a butter knife, finding a good angle for cutting, and most of all, moving the cauliflower from the cutting board to the small prep bowl and then eventually from the small prep bowl to the big prep bowl (don't try to save dishes on this one--the time you spend washing prep bowls will be returned to you ten, nay, even fifteen times in the extra time it takes the kids to move the cauliflower around.)
While the kids prep cauliflower, you can prepare the rest of dinner, or eat popcorn and write on your blog. It's heaven. Try it.
p.s.--one more reason why I returned my first food processor to Costco is that I heard some famous chef say that all one should ever need in the kitchen is a good French chef's knife. So that intimidated me into taking it back.
p.p.s.--I feel a tiny bit guilty that I have a food processor and Mark Bittman doesn't, can't fit it in his very small Manhattan kitchen. On the other hand, he gets to live in NYC and I get to live in Provo.
1 day ago