News of the blade recall spread faster than spilled egg whites across checkerboard linoleum. Not only is the Cuisinart food processor a stalwart member of many household kitchens, commercial kitchens also rely on this countertop workhorse. At home, a Cuisinart shares counter space with my beloved Dualit toaster. The blade appears unscathed, but my back-up ‘Cuis’ (doesn’t everyone have a back-up?) needs a replacement blade. At work, we have recently retired a Cuisinart for an industrial strength Robot Coupe and as of this writing, all seems right in our nut grinding/cranberry chopping world.
Before calling the overwhelmed Cuisinart hotline, I took a quick assessment of kitchen tools available to me that don’t require electricity and whirling dervish blade attachments. The holiday time crunch makes blade-mageddon particularly challenging. In little over a week, Latkepalooza swings into town on Christmas Eve, necessitating access to mountains of shredded potatoes and finely chopped onions. Of course, it is quite possible to use one’s hands and a box grater for this exercise. Although the box grater sits just slightly out of reach on a top shelf, I am happy to report that I am in possession of all of these items. Having learned the intricacies of operating a box grater from Jessie, who ran a kitchen long before food processors were considered a kitchen staple, I am cautiously optimistic. I also have a freshly opened box of Bandaids in the medicine cabinet.
Jessie also utilized a kelly-green handled Chop-O-Matic with lethally sharp blades encased in clear plastic. The Chop-O-Matic rhythmically chopped quantities of vegetables, particularly celery and onions with great ease. I imagine this vintage kitchen gadget will enjoy a Renaissance, no doubt being snatched up on Etsy by folks who weren’t even born when Ron Popeil introduced the hand-powered food processor in the mid-1950s. Our Chop-O-Matic is long gone, leaving behind a vivid audio food memory of staccato blades against stationary vegetables.
As an individual with more than enough kitchen gadgetry to launch a small rival to Williams Sonoma, perhaps I’m over thinking this. It does occur to me however, that the Cuisinart crisis encourages us to slow down. Sharpen the knives, use the box grater, take the potato ricer out for a whirl. Before kitchen tasks were propelled by electically charged chopping blades and shredding discs, grandmothers and Jessies, home cooks and restaurant cooks relied on ten digits which seldom, if ever, were recalled.