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Apparently, not all food processors are created equal

I think this frugal failure is about at the level of our suitcase disaster. Maybe not quite, but it’s really close! (Only this time, at least we can get our money back!) Whatever the case, I got a good laugh over it once I realized my stupidity. :)

After last Freezer Cooking Day and all your rave reviews of how a food processor has changed your life, I started considering whether maybe this was a tool I should invest in.

I spend a lot of time grating cheese and the processor could shave off at least 30 minutes of time each Freezer Cooking Day. I figured I’d recoup the investment pretty quickly just in that time savings alone. Plus, I could use it for chopping veggies and onions. And, based upon what you all said, I could also use it for a myriad of other tasks.

After some thought, I decided to take the plunge. I looked online, compared prices, looked at reviews and finally decided to go with the Cuisinart pictured above.

I was looking forward to the time and effort it was going to save me and I was especially happy that it was going to arrive before my next Freezer Cooking Day.

The box showed up on Tuesday and I tore into it excitedly and pulled it out. My mother’s helper comes on Tuesdays and she was standing nearby while I was telling her how I’d decided to buy one to replace our rusted little cheese grater. She looked over the box and then asked, “Um, how does it grate cheese.”

Um, good question. I don’t know. But it’s a food processor. Don’t all food processors grate cheese?

Well, apparently not all food processors grate cheese and the one I purchased certainly doesn’t. It grinds and chops, but doesn’t have a grating attachment.


Needless to say, I felt like a complete doofus for buying something which doesn’t even do what I was specifically buying it for. And I felt even dumber that I didn’t even check the description to make sure the food processor actually grated cheese. That was, after all, kind of the whole idea behind buying it!

I’m planning to return the food processor–unless someone can tell me how I can grate cheese with it (it didn’t appear there was any sort of extra attachment you could buy, but let me know if there is!).

And since I’m obviously not very capable of ordering the right kind of food processor on my own, could you help me out? What brand and model do you recommend? Anything else I need to know before I royally screw up another purchase?!

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  1. says

    I find the Cuisinart raves perplexing. Had a processor from them once. It was okay, but not a wonder machine. I’m thinking these people have never owned a Kitchen Aid. I’m a little disappointed you didn’t go looking to get a second-hand cheese grater/processor, but to each her own…

    It really amazes me how much you can do with the Kitchen Aid. Mine is about thirty years old now (handed down from my dad) and still works like new. I had no idea about the grater attachment…knew about the mean grinder attachment, but have an old fashioned crank one I use that my mother-in-law gave me. But looking up the shredder/grater I found other amazing things you can do with your Kitchen Aid:
    Ice cream maker
    Sausage stuffer
    Pasta maker
    Immersion chopper
    Grain mill
    Can Opener
    Juice Extractor
    Fruit and veggie strainer

    The only downside to the mixer is the gunk left on the sides. You have to stop and scrape a few times. Now they have an attachment that mixes and scrapes at the same time, so I guess that concern is over. There’s one with angled swipe blades that work for mixing in chips and such in cookies that scrapes the sides without crushing the candy pieces in the bowl. Awesome! Off to eBay to find these attachments on the cheap!!!

  2. Sandy says

    Try a Salad Shooter – I love mine! Quick – Fast – East Clean Up! I have the large one – it has a larger opening – more power. It has several blades for large and small grating and slicing sizes.

  3. Christine says

    Mini-food processors do not come with attachments. You will need to purchase at least a 6-cup food processor for their to be attachments included. I have the same food processor you purchased and it does work well but since you want a cheese grater you will need to return your mini-Cuisinart.

    And, since you will use your food processor quite a bit, I suggest you purchase a full-size Cuisinart. Maybe you can find a used one on Ebay or Craig’s List? I have never come across a food processor better than Cuisinart.

    If you only want to grate cheese then maybe a Salad Shooter is the way to go. I think they are around $30.

    I had a Kitchenaid food processor and did not like it. It never fully chopped all the food and it is now at Goodwill. I also have a Kitchenaid blender and do not like it as it does not blend very well.

  4. Emily says

    Kitchen Aid!!! My husband bought this for me and I kept it in the box for a month. I was going to return it…..that was a couple of years ago. I can’t imagine not having it now. For Christmas my sister bought be an additional bowl….I use it so often….now I can do veges and cheese and not have to wash & dry the bowl in between. Previously, I had an attachment for my mixer, but this is sooo….. much easier.

  5. trisha says

    I bought a Kitchenaid 12-cup food processor a few months ago. So far I LOVE it! It has several attachments, even a smaller bowl that fits inside and turns it into a mini chopper (which I use a lot). It shreds potatoes so fast, I missed seeing the action the first time or two (hey where’d the potato go?).

    I also have a salad shooter somewhere that I used to use a lot. I hardly shred cheese anymore (seems I can find it already shredded for same price or cheaper than buying a block of cheese). It may suit your needs very well. I wanted something that didn’t require as much effort on my part as the salad shooter and I hopefully we’ll need the big food processor for all the produce we’re going to grow this summer 😉

  6. says

    i bought my cuisinart at a garage sale for $3! it’s looks like it’s from 1980 or earlier…but that’s when things were built better anyway! it has all the attachments and works wonderfully!

  7. Jisela says

    My husband bought me the Black & Decker Quick ‘n Easy Plus MOdel FP1450, on Black Friday, in order to help me get out of the kitchen faster while at his mom’s for Thanksgiving and I must admit that for the money he spent, it works great. However, I do not do as much food prep as you do, so can’t really say how it would handle in your situation ; ) It does shred cheese and it mentions the following tips… 1)To shred soft cheese, hold cheese in freezer until sharp knife can only be inserted about 1/2 inch (about 30 minutes). 2) When shredding hard cheese, cut cheese into 1/2 inch cubes and shred no more than 4oz. at a time. 3) Spraying, chopping, cutting and shredding blades with nonstick spray will make cleanup easier. 4) If processing sticky foods, spray the inside of the workbowl with nonstick spray.

    Hope this is helpful! Thank you for all you post and share with us as a way to help us be better at what we do!

  8. Cindy says

    I have the mini-prep… I bought it to make baby food (easily) and it works well for that. It is small and I could leave it out on my counter which I liked and which encouraged me to continue on making my own. Basically I would take what was for dinner and put it in there. It is a convenience item for sure. I also have a cuisinart blender/food processor combo for bigger but not huge jobs (I didn’t want a gigantic appliance taking up space in my kitchen). Anyways most larger food processors will grate cheese. It should have a disk that looks pretty similar to the grating surface on your current grater. It will save you tons of time and for the way I think you would use it (your freezer cooking days) it would be perfect. I always loved my mom’s when we were making tons of things that required grating and chopping.

    • says

      @Carlene, Think of a nanny-in-training :) Mother’s helpers are usually a bit young to babysit but not old enough to nanny, depending on where you live… You might use a 12 year old home-schooler as a mother’s helper. MH’s will keep an eye on the kiddos while you work in another room, possibly run out on a quick errand, or even tidy the house for you while the kids nap. The perk is that the MH earns training and a few dollars while the mom is nearby to help, if needed, and the mom gets work done at a reduced cost to a full fledged nanny or child care.

  9. Cheryl says

    I’ve had a KitchenAid for about 5 years and I don’t think there’s a day that I don’t use it for something! I shred big blocks of cheese which I then store in my freezer for use later. I don’t like the pre-shredded cheese as most brands contain PLASTIC to keep the cheese from clumping up…check the label.

  10. brook says

    If you only want to grate, just get a salad shooter. I love mine, grates cheese like a dream, and is cheaper than a processor. It also slices, and can do things like carrots, zucchini, etc.

    • Julie says

      @brook, I’ve seen so many posts about the love of a salad shooter here, that I went to Amazon yesterday and purchased one!!! To be honest, I never even thought of shredding my own cheese – I pay an arm and a leg for the shredded bags. I purchased one in the “used” section on the salad shooter page. It came from Amazon Warehouse, and I got it for only $21 because the box was damaged! So excited to get it. Thanks all for the posts!

  11. says

    I love my Ninja! It does the hard cheeses (romano, parmesan, colby, cheddar) well. However, I had some problems with a fontinella cheese.

    But I use it for everything else…spinach, onions, cilantro, even to make ground beef chopped up nicely, etc!

  12. Holly says

    I’ve got a Bosch and you can buy additional attachments to grate cheese, slice veggies, and grate cabbage (they come together). I use the Bosch all the time to make bread (it’s powerful enough to use 100% whole wheat and turn out a light loaf), and I use the attachments at least every other day. I realize the Bosch is an expensive investment, but mine is over 10 years old and shows no signs of wear.

  13. says

    I spent seven years working in fancy restaurants, as a cook and then as a pastry chef. My personal belief is that food processors are not worth it at home. I HATE cleaning them. I don’t even use a stand mixer at home. I use a box grater when necessary, and call it a day.

  14. lovingcouponing says

    I think the problem is you bought a MINI food processor and you need the regular size or even the large one and those do come w/ cheese graters. I have a Cuisinart regular size and it’s my FAVORITE kitchen appliance. Very fast and comes w/ all the attachments, easy to clean etc. It’s hardy. My first one lasted about 10 years and was used a lot and now I bought a 2nd one just like it as I loved the first one so much. Return the mini, get a regular or large and YOU WILL BE HAPPY!

  15. says

    Mine doesn’t have a grater attachment either, but throw some chunks of cheese in it and it “grinds” them into pieces equivalent to shredding. Works great for me.

  16. Erin says

    If you’re heading to Target anytime soon, look for Black and Decker food processors on clearance. A Hip2Save reader found one for $6.24. . . . Not sure if there is a grating attachment, though : )

  17. Bethanie says

    I am an avid cook and I work for a major housewares store. I have a KitchenAid food processor that I LOVE, but also recommend the Cuisinarts. Different models have different options, so don’t give up on Cuisinart based on this one experience. One of the most telling statistics is how rarely these two brands are returned to our store–we almost never see them being returned.

    All the components are dishwasher-safe, and that’s where they go!

    I cooked at home without the food processor and stand mixer, and I wouldn’t go back. They make my cooking life so much easier, and that makes the grocery budget go down!

  18. says

    I have a 7 cup food processor, which might be the smallest size that comes with attachments. Mine is a cuisinart and comes with a slicing attachment and a grater. It looks like this one: http://www.amazon.com/Cuisinart-DLC-2007N-Prep-7-Cup-Processor/dp/B00005OAZ3/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=home-garden&qid=1272567245&sr=8-3

    I think the key is you want to look for the spout/food feeder thing on the top and the metal disks. I think a food processor makes perfect sense for the kind of cooking you do with batch cooking. You’ll probably only use it on freezer cooking days and very rarely any other day of the month but it will save you so much time on those days. You can probably set up and grate a whole block of cheese in less than 3 minutes. That’s worth another 3 minutes of cleaning for me. Plus I don’t think cheese graters are all that easy to wash either.

  19. Chantel says

    I use my salad shooter to grate cheese and I love it. We bought ours used on ebay for like $10. I use it to grate all my cheeses and it is so easy to clean.

  20. alyssa says

    Just wondering if you have a stand mixer. If so, there might be a grater attachment available for it. Then you might forget the food processer if that’s really all you want it for. I use a box grater mostly, but for a big job I use my kitchen-aid mixer for cheese.

  21. Patty woodall says

    if you are looking for something that grates cheese, the BEST thing in the world is a Salad Shooter….it is good for grating all kinds of things – even soap to make laundry washing detergent. It also comes with a slicing attachment which is great for potatos!

  22. Christy says

    My husband and parents just went in together to be me the 9-cup KitchenAid, which has both slicing and shredding attachments and a mini-bowl that fits inside for smaller jobs. I LOVE it! We’re shredding and slicing our own cheese now, and buying blocks of cheese already seems to be cheaper. I make my own baby food for my 9-month-old as well, and it takes half the time to puree stuff than it did in the blender. Love it!

  23. HeatherO says

    I have a Salad Shooter I use to grated my cheese and it also slices. It is the best thing I have purchased and that was about 10 years ago.

  24. Sue Morrison says

    I have a Kitchen Aid but have used the Cuisinart extensively. You don’t usually need a grater attachment. You can just put hunks of cheese in the food processor and it will grind it up. It’s not as pretty as grated but certainly works in cooking.

  25. Cheryl says

    I own a Black and Decker – have had it for at least 15 years. It grates, and I like it a lot. I use it several times a week. I doubt they have the same model – I did a quick search – but I’m sure their current models are comparable. The first two I looked and read reviews on said they have a grater! :)

  26. Kathleen says

    I love my Cuisinart processor. I think it was pretty expensive, but I received it as a wedding gift. It looks like you ordered a mini-processor, which is probably why it doesn’t have the extra attachments. Mine is a full-sized one and has 3 different blades. One is just a blade, one is a disc for slicing and the third is a disc for grating. I’ve had it for 7 years now and I LOVE it! I have to say that I’d love a mini-processor, too. My big processor is rather heavy and the parts take up a lot of space in the dishwasher, so it doesn’t make sense to use it for small jobs. And I frequently have small, quick jobs. I do have a mini-processor, but it’s really old (inherited it from my mother-in-law) and it’s not powerful enough (or the blade is too dull?) to chop up carrots or nuts the way I’d like it to. Good luck finding a good processor!

  27. Stacey Sharp says

    Definitely get a Kitchen-Aide. Mine has a small bowl that fits inside the larger one so you can do smaller batches. It also comes with an attachment for slicing and grating. I bought mine when my oldest child was just starting solid foods and it worked great for baby food. Now I use it all the time to have veggies ready for a quick salad or even puree bananas for banana bread. I found it on sale at Dillard’s so it’s not my color of choice, but it works great!

  28. Leah says

    Yes, the Mini-Prep is not really a food processor- it is a little grinder/chopper. (You can make some great banana frozen yogurt in it though, out of frozen banana slices and vanilla yogurt.) That’s why it’s cheaper that the bigger ones. We have a Cuisinart and love it- upgraded when I got married from the mini-prep.

  29. Amanda Y. says

    I have no idea, I am in a very similar situation to yours…I got lost in all the reviews, so please post what you decide to go with and whether the next one is a winner! :-)

    • Julie says

      @Amanda Y., Me too, Amanda! I just went to Amazon and bought a salad shooter (from all the reviews)! Got one from Amazon in the “used” section from their warehouse with a damaged box for $21!

  30. Lynda says

    Didn’t you send the Macy’s sale (25% off) + Ebates info? All their Cusiinart’s are on sale and free shipping. For your volume cooking, I would recommend a large version like 9 or 11 cup. It comes with all the attachments – including a dough hook to help when you are baking! I have not compared eBay yet. Make sure whatever you get has a strong motor and you will be happy for a very long time.

  31. Wendy says

    I have had a Cuisinart for the last 10 years. I bought it to make baby food. I make all of my baby food from scratch and went through 3 “cheap” food processors in about 2 months before I took the plunge and bought the Cuisinart. I have since made babyfood for the last 4 kiddos and it’s still going strong. Plus, I use it for all the other kitchen chores I do during the week. :-)

  32. says

    Like everyone said, you have to buy a full sized one…I have an 11 cup cusinart. It is great! I personally think that Cusinart is better than Kitchen Aid for big families with the modern style, because with the modern style you cannot fill it up with anything liquid over like 2 c. or it drips everywhere. Salsa is really hard to make in it. My sister has one and it is frustrating! I love mine as I do not have that problem. You can get them at costco for fairly reasonable.

  33. says

    I am in the same boat as some of you. I an a reviewaholic and really want to make sure that I am making the right choice. I’m not sure this is possible since everyone uses their food pro for different reasons. I stumbled on this awesome review of the KitchenAid 12 cup.


    Here is the review for the Cuisinart 14 c.


    I think 12 would be all the bigger I want to go. I really want to see what you go with since you went with the mini prep to begin with. My guess is you want something smaller. I originally wanted a 7 or 9 cup, but then read (on America’s Test Kitchen, Consumer Search, etc.) that as soon as you want to make dough or have larger quantities of liquid it becomes a problem. I am sooo torn. I’ve been looking at food pros for almost a year and I still feel like I am at square one. I love reading everyone’s replies. :)

  34. Barbara says

    I got a Cuisinart the year before I got married. It lasted past our 18th anniversary. It’s Cuisinart replacement is still going strong (and we’re looking forward to anniversary #27!) I still have most of my four kids at home, so you know it gets a lot of use.

  35. says

    Also wanted to mention that after some more reviewing (for me and you) that the Handy Prep by Cuisinart (only 3 cups) comes with the discs for shredding and slicing. I brought this up because maybe you really only want a small one. Even, though I am excited and want the larger 12 or 14 cup models… Maybe this would be better instead of what you bought??? The one you have is just like any other ‘chopper.’ I have the cheapo Black and Decker 3 cup (Ergo) and it does the job for chopping but really stinks when it comes to chopping tomatoes or anything with a skin. It just turns to mush. Not at all good for liquids either. If you put more than 1/2 cup in there is overflows. It worked okay for making my son’s baby food. Not a perfect puree, but it worked. I have not tried to chop/shred cheese in it. I don’t think it would work. I would say that for the price it’s perfect for those of you who don’t want to dole out more than $20. You can find it almost anywhere.

  36. Kelly says

    Great posts…

    What about paying for college? My son who was fortunate enough to get accepted to Boston College ($50k per year) can’t go because my we can’t afford it! Now I’m worried about him going to college at all. It hardly seems worth it to get my hopes up.

    There is a great site that teaches you how to pay for college in today’s economy. I believe the site is http://www.collegefundingexperts.com.

    Have anyone heard of this site? Is it a reliable source?

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