For something that's relatively simple and low-tech (all you need is a decent knife and cutting board), a lot of gadgets out there promise to free home cooks from the tyranny of chopping. And that's because, no matter how simple it seems, people really do hate it. The biggest complaint I've heard from friends about meal subscription services is that they involve so much chopping.
Smaller than I expected, the hand-powered food processor was about the size of a can of soup. It consists of a clear plastic bowl, two non-fixed blades, and a lid with a red handle on a string. I started out by placing quartered onions in the body, and got to pulling. The first turn took some elbow grease, but, after that, it was relatively easy. After two pulls, I looked inside and saw the onions were fairly non-uniform in size, so I kept pulling till it was a fine mince. It took longer than the instructions implied it would, but was only about 30 seconds in total.
Since it was a small container, I had to empty out each ingredient into a bowl as I prepped. I next put in cilantro (guac, anyone?), and similarly had to pull around ten times to get a rough mince. It would seem unless you really packed it down with herbs, that was about as fine as you could get with the blades, but that was totally fine by me.
I even threw the avocados in there, and and got them to a slightly more textured puree than I would have achieved by just mashing with a fork. Mixed together, it was guac in less time, with extra dirty dishes but much less mess. (Anyone else have a hard time keeping onion from flying all over the place?)
Later, I tested the chopper on carrots, and had similar results: a few pulls left with lots of different carrot sizes, but after a bit more time, I had carrots down to a fine mince, something that has eluded me in the past. It would be the perfects size for a bolognese or mirepoix.
In my opinion, it's the perfect device for someone who doesn't have a food processor at all and would want to make pesto or finely mince vegetables in a pinch, or for someone with a really stocked kitchen and plenty of storage space. If you have a small-ish kitchen and are relatively well-stocked, I'd say it's not a necessity, unless you really really hate chopping. In which case, get your Blue Apron box and spin, spin, spin your way to dinner in no time.
Illustrated by Louisa Cannell.