My uncool kitchen tool is so uncool, it might just be cool again. With its discolored white plastic body and red, white, and blue, chunky sans serif logo, my Robot Coupe food processor is clearly showing her age. But when it comes to performance, reliability, endurance and, let's face it, quirky charm, she rates A+ across the board — even with a broken-off handle and a scratched work bowl.
I don't know the exact history, but Robot Coupe was one of the original makers of food processors for caterers in France in the 1960s. They eventually made a version for home use which was very popular in Europe. While Cuisinart went on to dominate the US market, there was a brief time when the home version of Robot Coupe was made available here. You can still see larger, industrial versions of the Robot Coupe in professional kitchens and occasionally run across the Robot Coupe-made Magimix for home use.
I was a very young and penniless pastry chef when I bought my brand new Robot Coupe sometime in the early 1980s. If I recall, I was making around $4.00/hour and the Robot Coupe was an astonishing $75.00. There were two other pasty chef/bakers at the bakery where I worked and one of them negotiated a deal with the local cookware shop so we could get a few dollars knocked off if she were to purchase all three at once.
Since that time, my Root Coupe has followed me to uncountable new kitchens, made dozens of batches of Julia Child's chicken liver pate, ground pounds of nuts and buckets of pesto. There are certain things that a food processor does really well, such as the aforementioned grinding of nuts or creating a really fine puree or grating a whole lot of cheese or carrots. It is also fantastic for making pie dough.
I don't use my Robot Coupe every day but I use it often enough and I have never had to have it serviced. At some point, the plastic work bowl lost its handle and took on a few scratches, and the white plastic casing has begun to yellow, but even though she's pushing 30 years old, my RC still looks pretty to me!
(Image: Dana Velden)