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Food Processor

An electric food processorA food processor is a kitchen appliance used to facilitate various repetitive tasks in the process of preparation of food. Today, the term almost always refers to an electric-motor-driven appliance, although there are some manual devices also referred to as "food processors".

Food processors are similar to blenders in many ways. The primary difference is that food processors use interchangeable blades and disks (attachments) instead of a fixed blade. Also, their bowls are wider and shorter, a more appropriate shape for the solid or semi-solid foods usually worked in a food processor. Usually little or no liquid is required in the operation of the food processor unlike a blender, which requires some amount of liquid to move the particles around its blade.

The idea of a machine to process food began when a French catering company salesman, Pierre Verdun, observed the large amount of time his clients spent in the kitchen chopping, shredding and mixing.  He produced a simple but effective solution, a bowl with a revolving blade in the base.

In 1960, this evolved into Robot-Coupe, a company established to manufacture the first commercial "food processor" for the catering industry.  In the late 1960s, a commercial food processor driven by a powerful commercial induction motor was produced.  The domestic market had to wait until 1972 for a domestic food processor.  The Magimix food processor arrived from France in the UK in 1974, beginning with the Model 1800. Carl Sontheimer introduced this same Magimix 1800 food processor into North America in 1973 under the Cuisinart brand, as America's first domestic food processor.

Food processors normally have multiple functions, depending on the placement and type of attachment or blade. These functions normally consist of:

  • Slicing/chopping vegetables

  • Grinding items such as nuts, seeds (e.g. spices), meat, or dried fruit

  • Shredding or grating cheese or vegetables

  • Pureeing

  • Mixing and kneading doughs

Design and operation
The base of the unit houses a motor which turns a vertical shaft. A bowl, usually made of transparent plastic, fits around the shaft. Cutting blades can be attached to the shaft; these fit so as to operate near the bottom of the bowl. Shredding or slicing disks can be attached instead; these spin near the top of the bowl. A lid with a "feed tube" is then fitted onto the bowl.

The feed tube allows ingredients to be added while chopping, grinding or pureeing. It also serves as a chute through which items are introduced to shredding or slicing disks. A "pusher" is provided, sized to slide through the feed tube, protecting fingers.
Almost all modern food processors have safety devices which prevent the motor from operating if the bowl isn't properly affixed to the base or if the lid isn't properly affixed to the bowl.

See also

Blade grinder
Food processing
Bread maker
Coffee grinder

More About Food


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