I use my La Machine food processor almost every day and just as often I’m reminded of my husband’s grandma who immigrated from Italy to the United States in the early 1900s. Grandma’s command of English was rudimentary, but she spoke the language of food with sophistication and grace. Devoted to home and family, Grandma’s desire to cook “deliziosa” (delicious) pulsated through her petite being and called forth her authentic gifts.
Frequently, after church on Sundays, my husband and his family: mom, dad, siblings, aunts, uncles, and cousins would meet at grandma and grandpa’s house for an early supper. Dishes dotted the top of the small metal-fringed table, the counter, and the stove. Food, steaming hot, awaited the churchgoers. On the menu: homemade pasta, sauce, meatballs, cubed beef, Italian sausage, fresh-baked bread. “Bellissimi pomodori” (beautiful tomatoes) plucked from vines, taller than the kids, grew in a sacred garden on a meager but proudly-owned piece of the American dream.
Leftovers, wrapped in foil pouches, were given to the kids to take home where they quickly became a memory. It was impossible to get enough grandma-goodness, especially the meatballs, no matter how tight the belt. Yes, kids wore belts back then to keep their pants holding steady just under their armpits.
Grandma-goodness, a.k.a. food made by grandmas, is at the heart of family memories. I’m not a grandma, but I believe in adding grandma-like-goodness to every meal I make. I do a pretty good job with help from La Machine. Even though it’s over 25 years old (that’s over 100 in machine years), it works almost as efficiently as my husband’s grandma did in her little Italian kitchen.
La Machine holds second-hand memories for me through the stories told by my husband. It also brings back first-hand memories for me when I think of all the food I’ve prepared through the years with love for my family, immediate and extended. Unlike grandma, who cut and chopped all her homegrown veggies by hand, and pulled and punched her bread dough into submission, my La Machine does the heavy cutting, chopping, pulling, and punching for me.
Here are my 8 Reasons Why You Need La Machine or a comparable food processor:
(1) Pie Crust:
Unless you’re a Food Network star, pie crust is the most intimidating, mind-numbing experience you can have creating grandma-like-goodness in your kitchen. With La Machine, you dump in flour, butter, and a pinch of salt, pulse until you get pea-sized crumbs, add ice water or vodka (for those times when you need a little party in your pie), and you’ve got a dough ball to be proud of—guaranteed.
(2) Nuts and Breadcrumbs:
Crushing nuts (ouch!) and crumbing bread by hand is passé. With La Machine, all you have to do is use the blast-o-rama setting (not really a setting, I just made that up), and you’ll get nut and breadcrumb bits that Diamond and Kikkoman covet.
You gotta have it and you gotta have it smooth. La Machine smooths it up without the freeze-effect you get with your blender. I don’t mean freeze as in cold, I mean freeze as in blades moving, food standing still. I have a good blender and freeze-effect still happens from time to time. It never happens with La Machine.
(4) Coleslaw and Salsa:
Both coleslaw and salsa are nightmares without help. Help, La Machine! I’m throwing a coleslaw and salsa taste-testing party tomorrow! Chop-chop!
La Machine makes presto pesto! Put fresh basil and garlic, pine nuts or walnuts, extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper and fresh Pecorino Romano Cheese into the bowl and hit the presto-chango button. Done!
(6) Peanut Butter:
You’ll never buy store-bought peanut butter again. Picture incessant licking of spoons by you and your dog. Thanks, La Machine!
(7) P. F. Chang’s Chicken Lettuce Wraps:
My husband and I love P. F. Chang’s, but we can’t get to the restaurant as much as we would like, so we bring the authenticity home, fast, with the help of La Machine—mock P. F. Chang’s Chicken lettuce wraps coming up!
I have a mandolin. I don’t use it. It’s harder to clean than La Machine. Also, I never get the stick-a-doo-dad-thing plugged into the food-object well enough, so I end up using my fingers to hold the food-object until it’s sliced down to the teeny-tiniest food-object-piece I can get. NOT. A. GOOD. IDEA. *Danger, Will Robinson!! Picture Robot with arms flailing.
REALLY HELPFUL, I MEAN REALLY REALLY HELPFUL WORDS OF ADVICE:
The best way to clean La Machine is to put a bit of dish soap and hot water in the bowl, and give it a few pulses to loosen the stuck-on-gunk, infamous for holding tight to the underside of the blades and in the connection seams. Rinse well with HOT water, and it’s ready for the next time you want to give it a whirl.
Besides the ability I have to create food with grandma-like-goodness thanks to La Machine, what’s the main reason it reminds me of my husband’s grandma?
After Sunday supper, before my husband, his siblings, and cousins would run out the front door of grandma and grandpa’s house in a race to see who could make it up the street first, she would pull back the reins with a loving but stern warning for each of them to, “Watcha la machine!” In other words, watch for cars.
Do you have La Machine or a comparable food processor? Is it a necessity in your kitchen or is it—meh? See the box… way…down…there … inviting you to, “Tell me something about yourself here!”? Fill it with your answer to this question: What is your can’t-do-without kitchen gadget?
NOTE: This blog post is not a testimonial for Moulinex La Machine Food Processors. I am not being paid, in any capacity, for my appraisal and/or positive review of the product.