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A 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 swappable 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.
Its functions normally consist of:
Grinding items such as nuts, seeds (eg spices), meat, or dried fruit
Shredding or grating cheese or vegetables
Mixing and kneading doughs
The idea of a machine to process food began when a French catering company salesman, Pierre Verdan, 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 "food processor" for the catering industry. In the late 1960s a food processor driven by a powerful commercial induction motor was produced. The domestic market had to wait until 1972 for a food processor. The Magimix processor arrived in the UK in 1974, beginning with the R1, 1800, Magimix processor. See first patent of this machine
Carl Sontheimer developed a food processor in America in the early 1970s, adapting the design from the Robot Coupe industrial blender. In 1973, this first home food processor was introduced in North America as the Cuisinart.
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.
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