Thursday, June 10, 2010

KitchenAid and Cuisinart need to get the Ninja Pro

So there is this little kitchen gizmo called the Ninja which is making waves right now... not all of them are good. The signals are mixed.

I managed to get mine several months ago on clearance at Bed Bath & Beyond. I also had a 20% off coupon, which they allowed me to apply to the discount price. That made the deal too good to pass up. I got fair results with mine. The big jug is great for any kind of mixed drinks. The little one is great for shredding herbs, garlic, ginger, or onion.

My dad also bought one. He hated it. It died on him after 2 uses. He caught hell trying to them to honor their guarantees. He now curses Ninja. I was sorry to hear about that, but I cannot relate. Mine is still going strong. No signs of giving up the ghost.

The one thing I liked but didn't love about it was the 4 blade system. All food processors from KitchenAid and Cuisinart provide just 2 blades which fly around the bottom of the cup. My KitchenAid is pretty good, but I do need to run it longer than I should to give stuff time to make a trip to the bottom. Sort of pisses me off. Dough is often tougher than it should be because it gets over-worked. The Ninja produced better results by simply putting 4 blades on a spindle: 2 low and 2 mid-level. Each blade in a pair is slightly off-set by .33 of an inch or more.

This concept was very good, but not quite perfect. Several times, I thought that if they would merely add another 2 blades, for a total of 6 blades, the Ninja would have been perfect. Well... it's a damn funny thing... because...

After watching Adam Richman smash a 48oz Porterhouse steak at Shula's Steak House in Miami, the Travel Channel played a new Infomercial for the new Ninja Pro. At first I was pissed. "So you changed the color and style and expect me to buy again, right?"

Well, not quite. They jacked the power on the power pod from 375 watts to 450 watts. That might be good. However, the solid-gold money-shot is the addition of 2 more blades to the big jug. They were thinking the same thing I was: 6 blades makes it perfect. They also included a mid-level jug of 40oz. The 40oz cup is very similar to what we might expect from a simple 5 cup food processor.

The 6 blade thing stuck in my craw like a big fish-hook. I want it... But I don't want to buy it.

What irritates me is this: All KitchenAid or Cusinart needs to do is introduce an accessory blade that you can drop into your existing food processor. If it had 6 staggered blades, everything would be wonderful. They could sell it for $20. They could sell it for $30. They might even be able to sell it for $40. We would buy it. If they included it with the current box, the product would be dramatically improved and sell better.

Why do I have to go to Ninja to get this feature? It would seem that some smart and enterprising 3rd party would introduce these blades for the big food-processors. Why hasn't this happened?

48oz is a pretty sharp limit, especially when making pasta for an army. You can never fill these things more than half-full. You would burn out the motor. 24oz of pasta is actually not a lot of pasta.

For instance: we are having a Pot-Luck tomorrow. I am going to lay waste to the division by bringing in a killer Mac-N-Cheese. I can make the pasta fresh, and do it fast, because I have a nice 9 cup food processor at home. I can make about 3 pounds of pasta. That is enough for the 10 of us to give it a try. That's about 5oz of pasta each.

Either Ninja needs to introduce a really large cup, say 72-112oz (9-14 cups) or the big boys need to introduce the 6 blade system. Something has got to give. It is imperative.

Frankly, I like my current KitchenAid a lot. I would really like to see accessory blades on the market soon.

There are two additional thing I should mention about the Ninja blades. First, the blades do resemble the geometry of a Tanto. The blades on a standard food processor are much more curvy, almost like Scimitar.

Second, the Ninja blades leave plenty of room between the blade-tip and the wall of the cup. That open space is good. It prevents you from making baby-food when you want Soffritto. You can make a soffritto with a Ninja. I really have not been able to do this with my KitchenAid.