Vintage Cuisinarts and other food processors were must-have small kitchen appliances in the ’70s & ’80s

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The 1970s arrival of old-school food processors like these vintage Cuisinarts — along with machines made by other companies, like Sunbeam, Waring, Farberware, and KitchenAid — were some of the most beloved kitchen tech tools since the invention of the table mixer.

Food processors: Miracle machines & chef’s delights

From Time – December 19, 1977

Some critics claim that the only cook who really needs a food processor is one who must feed a dozen lumberjacks three times a day. Others say they actively enjoy chopping and slicing.

But James Beard, an early convert to the processor — and co-editor of a recipe book distributed with the Cuisinart — scoffs at “kitchen snobs who will not accept modern technological perfections.

“I’m perfectly certain, were Escoffier or Montagne alive today, they would be happy to use a food processor.”

Vintage Cuisinart food processor (1983)

Indeed, many serious cooks say that short of a Bocuse in a bottle, the best friend they have is a processor.

There are more than a dozen on the market and new ones have been popping up every few weeks. Companies that make mixers have been adding attachments that will do the same tasks as food processors.

Some 750,000 processors have been sold in the US so far this year, with projected 1978 sales of 2 million.


Retro seventies Norelco food processor (1978)

Norelco presents a shopping list to help you shop for the right food processor.

Make sure it has a choice of controls with a Pulse Switch. The extra-fine control of a pulse switch lets you start and stop in an instant. So you won’t cream your carrots, batter your batters. Or puree your pâtés.

Make sure it has a Direct Drive Motor. This means it’ll have the added power to do tough jobs like chopping meat, mixing and kneading. And the added durability to do these jobs day after day.

Make sure it has 4 blade attachments. With 4 blade attachments, you’ll always have the right blade to deftly cut hard and soft cheeses and vegetables. As well as chop and shred, grate and grind, slice and dice your way through gourmet and everyday recipes.

Make sure it works quietly. Food processors perform with unheard-of speed. Ideally, their noise should be unheard-of, too. Get a machine that’s as easy on your ears as it is on your hands.

Make sure it stands firmly on the counter. The Norelco Food Processor doesn’t start walking when it should be working. No matter how tough the processing gets.

Make sure it has the Norelco name on it. No other food processor offers more for less. And Norelco does it all without cutting corners on quality. No wonder Time magazine calls the Norelco Food Processor “Best buy in its [price] range.”

Retro seventies Norelco food processor (1978)


Appliances: Gourmet breakthrough

From Newsweek – February 21, 1977

Once it was the perquisite of only the grandest gourmets — perfect for pureeing some chestnuts, perhaps, or creating an insouciant little pate. But these days, the Cuisinart food processor and its imitators are grinding, chopping and mincing away in all kinds of kitchens.

Cooks of all ranks swear that the blender-size machines are the greatest thing since sliced truffles; no less an authority than Julia Child proclaims that the processors are “the most important invention since the first electric mixer.”

Cuisinarts and other retro food processors from 1977

They are also just about the most expensive kitchenware around, costing $99 to $225 — but even at those prices, they are selling faster than manufacturers can make them. “Food processors have taken over like a storm,” says Joseph Vitaglione, a housewares buyer for New York’s Hammacher Schlemmer.

The grandpere of the processors is — but of course — a French creation. The Cuisinart is distributed by a Stamford, Conn., firm for Robot Coupe, a French manufacturer of restaurant equipment — and it has been a smash hit with professional chefs ever since its US introduction in 1973.

The machine, a clear plastic canister on a base containing a 575-watt motor, has four detachable blades. The blades can swiftly grind meat or fish into gossamer quenelles or velvety pates, chop parsley or nuts, grate fresh horseradish or ginger.

Vintage Cuisinart slicing blades from 1983

“It makes cooking the old cuisine, which takes hours and hours, a matter of seconds,” says Julia Child. Adds James Beard, author of a Cuisinart cookbook: “For anyone who does a great deal of cooking, it’s as necessary as a good stove.”

Tests: But for less ambitious amateurs, the $225 Cuisinart is simply too costly — and many such cooks are turning instead to two cheaper models that arrived just in time for last Christmas: the Japanese-made Farberware for $120, and the California-made Epicurean at $99.99.

At those prices, consumers get machines that look a lot like the Cuisinart and claim to perform as well — but tests by several newspaper food editors suggest they don’t.

Vintage Cuisinart DLC-7 Super Pro (1984)

In some cases, the other machines, which are lighter than Cuisinart, reportedly stalled or “walked” across counters during use.

“Cuisinart is absolutely the superior model,” says Barbara Turf, managing director of the Crate and Barrel shops in Chicago — which sold more than 600 Cuisinarts at Christmas.

And chef Pierre Franey, who tested the competitors for The New York Times, haughtily put down the imitators: “Comparing these machines with the Cuisinart is like comparing caviar from Russia with caviar from Long Island.”

Whatever the experts think, the public is snapping up the cheaper models. Farberware, in fact, can scarcely keep up with demand; a spokesman says the firm has been selling 10,000 machines a month, and was unable to fill 25,000 Christmas orders even with factories going full blast.


Old-fashioned Farberware food processor (1977)

Introducing the Farberware Food Processor. With our Food Processor, things you rarely take the trouble to do are no trouble at all And take no time at all.

The Farberware Food Processor comes with four different blades which slice. Chop, grate. puree, mix, crush ice, and even knead dough. Grate potatoes for pancakes. Chop, shred and mix for quiche. Make smooth, creamy pate or hearty pate de Campagne.

It’s ideal for shredding and slicing for Oriental recipes. Shred coleslaw in a minute or two; make pastry for pie or dough for bread; even make pizza from scratch.

ALSO SEE: Dozens of kitschy ’70s kitchen accessories your mom or grandma probably used to have

Sauces and soups you’d never dream of become simple and superb. You can finally give your culinary imagination free rein.

True to the Farberware tradition, the Food Processor is simple to operate and just as simple to clean. True to another Farberware tradition, the Food Processor is built to last Because we take pride in what we make. Just as you do.

Old-fashioned seventies Farberware food processor (1977)


Retro Waring food processor (1978)

Cuisinart, eat your heart out.

Now the Waring Food Processor has The Whip — a special new accessory that churns butter, beats egg whites, and whips cream high and fluffy. Cuisinart can’t do any of these.

Waring offers new accessories to slice thick, slice thin, julienne vegetables, even crack ice.

Waring even has a special slicing guide to help slice single vegetables; Cuisinart doesn’t have one.

The Waring Food Processor has a lifetime — your lifetime — motor guarantee* Which, unfortunately, Cuisinart doesn’t.

Waring believes you deserve all these good things when you pay fora quality food processor. Cuisinart, don’t you agree?

Retro Waring food processor (1978)


Shirley Jones for the Le Chef Food Processor from Sunbeam (1978)

Finally, here’s a big, powerful food processor. It the incredible Le Chef Food Processor from Sunbeam.

I love to cook — whenever I can spare the time. But those recipes that call for half a day’s worth of chopping, pureeing and slicing really used to intimidate me!

Now, with my Le Chef, I can do those jobs in seconds. Really! And not just for entertaining, but for everyday dishes too.

What’s so special about the Le Chef Food Processor? The motor is surprisingly quiet and powerful. Sunbeam calls it direct drive. I call it incredible.

Le Chef easily kneads stiff yeast dough without stalling. And its super capacity container lets me prepare enough for crowd… all at once. The Touch On/ ouch Off pulse control makes for instantly regulated action, so I’m less likely to over-process foods by mistake.

ALSO SEE: After vintage automatic coffeemakers like these were invented, mornings were never the same

The Le Chef Food Processor comes with 4 processing blades and discs, for handling each job just right. The multi-purpose blade for minced onions or homemade hamburger, the shredding disc for cheddar cheese or coleslaw.

The slicing disc turns out perfect, even slices of vegetables or sausage. I use the mixing blade for cake batter and desserts.

There’s even a handy spatula and a complete 64-page recipe book included. Le Chef, the amazing, indispensable food processor for everything from apple pancakes to zucchini. From my favorite appliance company. Who else but Sunbeam. – Love their quality! Shirley Jones

Sunbeam Le Chef food processor - Shirley Jones (1978)


Now a food processor good enough to called a KitchenAid (1982)

Because it has the quality of our mixer.

For more than 60 years, our KitchenAid Mixer has been making food preparation easier for people who love to cook and bake.

Now KitchenAid introduces another great kitchen helper, the KitchenAid Multi-Function Food Processor. It has a much larger capacity than standard food processors. An attractive design that complements any kitchen. And many easy-to-store attachments, both standard and optional…

The new KitchenAid Food Processor is versatile enough for any lifestyle. Together with the KitchenAid Mixer, it gives you a kitchen combination that can’t be beat.

Vintage 80s Kitchen Aid Multi-Function Food Processor (1982)


The astounding Cuisinart DLC-7 PRO (1983)

FOR SOMEONE WHO DOESN’T YET OWN A CUISINART FOOD PROCESSOR.

Is any cook in your life still using obsolete time-consuming kitchen equipment? To give a Cuisinart food processor is to give a gift of both time and pleasure.

It saves up to 90% of the time needed to perform many tedious tasks with lesser appliances. And it will delight its owner by doing these jobs effortlessly and well.

The food processor has become the essential workhorse of today’s kitchen. This is largely due to the many Cuisinart innovations that enable it to accomplish procedures that are difficult or impossible in other machines.

THE EXCLUSIVE CUISINART ADVANTAGES.

Cuisinart food processors have motors so powerful and efficient, they keep performing when many others would stop.

The Cuisinart DLC-7 PRO. for example, can produce batch after batch of bread dough — up to 3-1/2 lbs. each, depending on the type of dough — without overheating or stalling.

Our wide work bowls and patented chopping blades enable you to chop large quantities of meat at one time, or make uniformly smooth. thick purées of vegetables and fruits. The exclusive Cuisinart Large Feed Tube lets you slice whole tomatoes…

WHICH CUISINART FOOD PROCESSOR MAKES THE RIGHT GIFT?

If your gift is for someone with a large family (your own?), for someone who entertains on a large scale, or for someone who simply loves to cook, we suggest one of our two largest-capacity models, the DLC-7 PRO or the even larger DLC-X.

If it’s for someone who cooks on a more modest scale, then consider our DLC-8F or our most economical, smallest model, the DLC-10E.

The nicest part about giving a Cuisinart food processor is that whether you choose our largest or our smallest model, you have the good feeling of knowing you are giving the best. 

The astounding Cuisinart DLC-7 PRO (1983)


Introducing the astounding Cuisinart DLC-10 Plus (1984)

IT COSTS NO MORE THAN AN ORDINARY FOOD PROCESSOR. AND IT GIVES YOU SO MUCH MORE.

The DLC-10 Plus costs no more than an ordinary food processor. But it is not an ordinary food processor, it is a Cuisinart. Thus, it does many things quicker, easier and more surely than other food processors.

And it can do things that other food processors — even much more expensive ones — can’t do at all. It has a very powerful, uncommonly efficient and quiet motor.

It easily chops 1 pound of meat in 25 seconds, 2 pounds in less than a minute. It kneads 4-1/2 cups of flour into more than 2 pounds of bread dough in less than 2 minutes. The slicing and shredding discs produce perfect slices, long uniform shreds, every time.

They have the same patented design as in our most expensive model. The detachable stem makes storage easy. To clean the DLC-10 Plus, put everything but the motor base in the dishwasher.

The new, inexpensive Cuisinart DLC-10 Plus. There is no longer any rational reason to buy a food processor that isn’t a Cuisinart.

Introducing the astounding Cuisinart DLC-10 Plus (1984)


Kitchenaid 1980s food processor with The Frugal Gourmet

Jeff Smith, television’s Frugal Gourmet, says frugal means getting the most for your money. It’s why he chose the KitchenAid food processor for his kitchen. And why he recommends it above all others.

The KitchenAid food processor is full-size, not a toy, with the large capacity serious cooks must have. Yet it’s simple to use, and easy to clean.

And it’s built for durability, with famed KitchenAid quality through-out, from its heavy-duty motor to its Sabatier stainless steel blade.

Frugal Gourmet Video Offer [from 1987]. Now, buy any KitchenAid food processor or mixer and get the new “Cooking with the Frugal Gourmet” VHS video cassette for the special discount price of only $11.95. Limited offer while supplies last. So now’s the time to save effort the way the Frugal Gourmet does. With the KitchenAid food processor.

Kitchenaid 1980s food processor with The Frugal Gourmet


Vintage Cuisinart Little Pro food processor (1988)

If you’re not ready for a big Cuisinart, we’d like to make you a counter offer.

The Little Pro food processor. Any similarity between it and a big Cuisinart is purely intentional.

Both make short work of tedious, time-consuming jobs. Like shredding, slicing and chopping. So you can enjoy more of the fresh, homemade meals you never had the time to prepare.

And with the Little Pro’s chute attachment, the size of your dinner party is restricted only by the number of chairs in your dining room.

The Little Pro. It’s a Cuisinart. Only smaller.

Vintage Cuisinart Little Pro food processor (1988)


Vintage Black and Decker Handy Shortcut Micro-Processor (1989)

The HMP30 is a little giant in the kitchen. It’s smaller than most food processors, but it can do all their slicing, shredding, mincing, grating and chopping chores in seconds.

It does so much, yet takes up so little space.

Vintage Black and Decker Handy Shortcut Micro-Processor (1989)

ALSO SEE: Vintage table mixers: See KitchenAid, Hamilton Beach, GE & more classic stand mixers

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