Friday, May 13, 2011

Condensing the Kitchen, Part 2 – Blender & Food Processor

I forget exactly why we got a blender/food processor combo in the first place. We either decided we wanted a blender so we could make smoothies for breakfast, or I wanted a food processor to use for chopping onions. I really don’t remember. Whatever prompted us, the truth is, we really didn’t need either one. At the time of our purchase, we were both in school and were eating a lot of prepared food that only needed to be heated. Since we really weren’t cooking much from scratch, we really didn’t need many kitchen appliances. Like many impulse buys, shortly after getting it, it began collecting dust.

I’ve never been much of a chef, so once we finished school, I made a point of teaching myself to cook. As I became more comfortable in the kitchen, I suddenly found myself using many of our abandoned kitchen appliances, especially the food processor. I used it for everything: guacamole, sauces, dips, dressings, and glazes. From time to time, I also used the blender for soups – although I usually found it to be more trouble than it was worth. Although I had survived for many years without one, I could no longer imagine cooking without a food processor – the blender I could take or leave.

Compared to a lot of blenders and food processors, the combo we purchased was fairly small. This was great in terms of storage, but not so great it terms of use. You could only make so much in it because it had a limited volume. For just the two of us, this was fine, but when cooking for a group, we really needed something with greater capacity. The same was true for the blender. As we began thinking in terms of boat living, our needs became a contradiction. We needed something that was both bigger in terms of the volume it could handle, yet smaller in terms of the space it took up. The solution? We got an immersion blender.

Our old blender/food processor combo had a total of 9 parts (some are stacked in the picture):

Our immersion blender has only 4 parts (this includes a beaker and lid, which we could probably do without):

The new device meets both of our needs. It can handle an infinite amount of volume (at least for our purposes – I’m sure it has its limits) and it is extremely easy to store. While our food processor and blender worked well, the immersion blender is much more useful because unlike the other two, it isn’t a pain to use. It is easy to assemble (if you can even call it that) and there are fewer parts to clean. As a result, we find ourselves using it for small jobs we normally wouldn’t have considered hauling the old food processor out of the cupboard for, like mincing garlic. The immersion blender is a great tool for any home kitchen, but it is absolutely perfect for life aboard a boat.

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