Two weeks ago, I was pureeing a chicken liver mousse in our venerable Panasonic Food Processor, when I noticed the mousse oozing out through a crack in the workbowl. My wife's first reaction was to shop online for a replacement, but considering the fact that it at least 15 years old and Panasonic doesn't make Food Processors anymore, I was able to convince her that it was time to break down and buy a new one.
I immediately passed on spending $800 on a Robot Coupe, and started doing research on more reasonably priced models. I checked out Cook's Illustrated's reviews, read Alton's discussion in Gear, checked the reviews at Amazon and Epinions. The reality is that when choosing a Food Processor there are really only two choices - Cuisinart and KitchenAid. I have used Cuisinarts at restaurants I have worked at, but I have extreme affection for our KitchenAid Custom Edition 6 Qt. 500 Watt stand mixer. In the end though, it came down to the fact that the KitchenAid I had my eye on was available in black for $130. It came stocked with a 12 cup work bow, a 4 cup mini-bowl and blade, plastic blade, shredder disk, 2 slicing disks, a spatula designed for the processor bowl and a storage case for the acessories.
Now I could share with you the testing I did, but I didn't have to. If you are not familiar with the food blog Bakin'n'Bacon, this is as good a time as any. Darcie, the Blogmistress does all the things you want someone running a food blog to do - she responds to posts and e-mails, and she drops around your site every once in a while. But on the issue of food processors, she went above and beyond the call of duty.
Darcie did the same research I did, found the same bargain at Amazon. Out of the box she noted her concerns, and the results of some initial cookie dough tests in a post. Unfortunately, mine was in the shipping pipeline before she made her post. When I got mine out of the box I shared her first concern - the chopping blade is small, flimsy and looks for all intents and purposes like a Ginsu knife (including the scalloped blade edge making steeling impossible). But, I also noticed that, to make the mini-bowl work, the central shaft on the workbowl which the drive stem fits through, is quite short, limiting the actual capacity of the bowl.
But, if that weren't enough, Darcie purchased a 14 cup Cuisinart and put both through a deathmatch! The results are here and here.
In the end, Darcie went with the Cuisinart, I think in part because she was used to them. i am not unhappy with the KA. It worked fine on Hummus, and a lot of the things Darcie tested are not things I do in a food processor. (Which begs the question of why I own one!). One of her deciding factors was the larger control buttons on the Cuisinart - I go the other way. The KA's are sealed and easy to keep clean. And that little flimsy blade? It works fine, and when removed lifts out way less stuff to scrape off.
As for Robby, I never gave it much thought until I saw the box, but apparently Robot is "processor" in French. So, welcome, Robby!