Friday, January 1, 2010

Baking Pie Prelude: The Evil Voodoo Food Processor

I must begin this post with a confession. Prior to today I did not know, understand, or comprehend what a food processor did….other than, well….process food, (whatever that means). After all according to the collective media barometer processing your food equals “my hamburger is made out of corn chips and rabbit droppings.” So, sure it makes sense that I grew up in a house without a food processor (or if my house did have one then I grew up blind or my mother is a master magician.) The point being, I didn’t know why I would ever need one or what it would do.

Enter baking challenge number one: Pie Crust

The directions say to pulse ingredients (flour, sugar, butter, and water) in a food processor. Excuse me? Pulse them? Don’t get me wrong, but aren’t things with a pulse supposed to be alive? How am I supposed to pulse these ingredients with my fingers? (Well, you’re not. You’re supposed to use a Food Processor, Dummy.) I debated long and hard, contemplating if this process could be completed without a food processor (of which I do not own). Pie crust must have been made in days long before food processors. Cave woman must have had her own tricks for serving up some sweet pie for her cave-hunny after a long day of buffalo hunting. Marie Antoinette’s servants must have found a way to keep their heads away from the guillotine, and their hands pinching pie crust. It has to be possible.

My options are:
1. Invent my own creative way to pulse the ingredients, at my own risk.
2. Find out more information via bookstore or inter-webs.
3. Buy a food processor.

Since I didn’t have internet (per the period of the pulsing predicament) I opted to follow the directions and purchased my very own plastic and shiny food processor. I pulled the contraption from the box, and placed it on the counter. Yes, now I too would learn the mysterious behavior of processing food. *Do do do do do do do do * *Insert Twilight Zone Theme Song Here.*

So a food processor is a plastic bucket with a big double sided death blade in the middle - you know the type of medieval torture device that thirteen-year-olds love to wield in video games. Pulsing is obviously very dangerous. Okay, but before I actually get to the pulsing and the processing, we have a problem. My thirty-five-dollar hunk of torture device doesn’t work. I press the “ON” button and nothing happens. Now I’m a semi-smart lady. I have a master’s degree, a doctor for a father, and an uncanny ability to assemble IKEA furniture like it’s nobody’s business. I follow directions, and I follow them well. But when I plug in the cord and press the pretty little pulse button –Nada! Nothing! Benito! I disassemble and reassemble. I trouble shoot, re-read directions, and try multiple outlets. But the plain and simple fact is my food processor processes nothing.

Enter my ruggedly handsome, long-haired, long-term boyfriend who’s pretty much been watching me struggle with this hunk of plastic for about a half an hour. I’m packing the thing up. I am ready to condemn this food-bot to the Island of misfit toys and never look back.

“Wait. Let me try it.” He says. He carefully takes the processor apart, follows the directions, sliding each piece into place, exactly – I must add – in the same way I did. He plugs it in, presses pulse and it becomes apparent that I have been possessed by some evil voodoo food processor ju-ju. The machine roars to life and the knife spins like the ninja I imagine only Jackie Chan can be. It works. My first test of baking, and I fail miserably. One touch from the mystical man who makes all electronics bow at his will, and yes it spins to attention like an eager pup.

Well…at least I don’t have to return it.

It turns out a food processor is a pretty cool gizmatron. It made pie dough in a New York minute (having never lived in New York I have no idea if that witticism even makes sense). Let’s just say fast. Faster than my little fingers could ever pulse. And pulsing isn’t that fancy either. It’s just a button on the machine that causes the blade to churn as long as you wish to hold down the button. While the “ON” button stays on until you turn it off. They kind of do the same thing really, but I’m no expert. The good news is I still have all my fingers, all my toes, and pie dough. Sweet and savory pie dough, bad voodoo ju-ju and all.


  1. Ohh Ingrid, I do have a food processor. It is hidden under a cover in the cellar way. I use it at least twice a year to grind crackers for turkey dressing. Guess who has never helped make this dish! It's also great for making cole slaw, only now you can buy that already shredded, so why bother with the food processor.

    You also know I cheat and buy my pie crusts pre-made in a box. I have made many from scratch, but getting them right is tricky and the box ones are pretty fool-proof, quick, and easy. I've never seen a pie crust recipe that called for a food processor, probably because I gave up making them from scratch before food processors became commonplace - I think I just aged myself didn't I?

    I hope yours all come out scrumptious. And please tell me if you come up with a fool-proof recipe that does not use lard, which seems to be pretty important for good crusts.

  2. I love my food processor. I use it almost every day. It's great for chopping onions, sauces, soups and yes, pie crust. (I use half butter and half evil Crisco for a flaky crust)

    It also grates cheese. And makes coleslaw. The only thing I don't use it for is cookie dough.


  3. Great thoughts you got there, believe I may possibly try just some of it throughout my daily life.

    Food Processors