The Inexpensive Gadget That Replaced My Mini Food Processor

updated Jul 30, 2019
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In a perfect world, I wouldn’t mind chopping onions. I would zen out and enjoy the task, my mind serene and eyes not streaked with tears. Or, even more perfectly, I’d have a giant kitchen with room for food processors in assorted sizes, ready for dice jobs both large and small.

As it is, I have a tiny kitchen that requires Jenga-like maneuvering on the part of both humans (my roommate and me) and supplies. I don’t have room for many devices and the ones I have are often a pain to lug out. Also, I hate chopping onions. I cry uncontrollably and there is nothing zen about it.

While a full-size food processor is still irreplaceable for those occasional bigger jobs, I’ve found that the smaller, everyday jobs can be done with this simple, hand-cranked device from T-Fal. It turns whole onions into a finely chopped pile in less time than it would take for me to pull out the food processor.

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How it works: Put larger chunks of the vegetables or fruit you wish to dice into the container, then put the lid. The first pull of the red handle gives you a little resistance, but after a few pulls, the blades spin away — no electric power required. I’ve generally found you can get to a fine mince in about 30 seconds, depending on the vegetable.

As far as how much resistance it puts up, if you’re used to the elbow grease required to get baked-on food off a casserole dish, you’re more than trained to pull the lever on the hand chopper. And, like classic mini food processors, it’s totally possible to toss in all the supplies for a quick salsa or veggie mix all at once.

The only downside is that it would be difficult to get truly fine pastes, like a pesto, using only the food chopper. However, for most daily tasks, this creates an even, consistent mince or chop better than I could with my own two hands — with less time and mess. If you’re looking to cut time out of your mise en place without sacrificing too much cabinet space, consider adding this weirdly analog (but totally useful) device to your repertoire.