Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Cooking with Arthritis Gadgets: Maximix 5200XL Review

Those of you who follow me on twitter (@CookArthritis) will know that my KitchenAid food processor broke for good a few weeks ago. We hadn't had a good history together. The bowl cracked on me after the 5th use and was impossible to replace, it was difficult to assemble and then finally the locking mechanism broke two weeks out of warranty and leaving the blade dangerously running with the lid open. Cue lots of cursing and asking people which food processor they would recommend for people with arthritis. Time and time again people recommended a Magimix, so after a bit of research, I picked up the 5200XL when it was on offer and here is my verdict on whether it is cooking with arthritis must-have or must-avoid.

Ps. The Guardian Money ran an interesting column last week (which mention Cooking with Arthur) on people's rights when buying kitchen equipment with arthritis. The gist of it is, if you can't use something because of your arthritis then you are entitled to return it in the UK under the Sale of Goods Act because it 'isn't fit for purpose'. You can read the full piece here.

What is it supposed to do?
The Magixmix 5200XL is a family sized premium food processor with a capacity of up to 1.8 litres and extra wide feeder tube.. It comes with three different sized bowls - a small one for chopping herbs, nuts or little portions, a midi bowl for using with the grating and slicing disks and a large bowl for making doughs, mincing, blending, whisking etc.

The Magimix 5200XL also comes with a range of accessories included: a dough kit which is basically a bowl you can use in the food processor for making, proving and baking dough; a smoothie/juicing kit and a mash/puree bowl.  A whisk, dough blade, grating and slicing discs are also included.

Does it work?
I've been putting the Magimix through it's paces doing a range of kitchen tasks that are difficult or time consuming with arthritis over the last few weeks and I've been pretty impressed.

The basic processor function is excellent: it will mince vegetables or meat quickly and smoothly, and, unlike my old KitchenAid processor, it does so very evenly. I was a bit sceptical about the dough blade but it made lovely light scones and kneaded bread dough well although it did take longer than my stand mixer.The grating and slices plates work very well and the extra large feed tube means you can do whole slices of potato rather than having to cut them in half like you need to do with most other processors. The only attachment I haven't found brilliant is the whisk, but to be honest I've never found a food processor that can whisk egg whites as well as a stand mixer or electric whisk.

Does it make it easier to cook with arthritis?
Definitely. The processor parts are easy to assemble or detach. The bowl clicks into the base unit nicely and I haven't had to struggle to fit the lid or any of the attachments despite the arthritis in my hands being quite challenging at the moment. There are only three buttons to control the food processor motor: on; auto; and, pulse and they are easy to use and wipe clean - even with sore or weak fingers. The box you put the attachments opens out like a bread bin which is quite helpful and means that unlike a lot of processor parts boxes, you don't need to take everything out just to get to the grating disc you need. Having said that, it's still a bit fiddly to put the blade in the box if your arthritis makes you less dtrouser

I haven't tried putting the parts in the dishwasher but they are straightforward to wash up. The lid and funnel are a bit of a hassle to dry but if you aren't OCD about limescale/watermarks like me then that probably isn't a problem! 

The actual processor is very heavy (11kg) and quite large so I'd recommend making sure you have the counterspace to leave it out as it wouldn't be fun taking it out of a cupboard with arthritis. 

The Magimix 5200XL is expensive, even if you buy it on offer like I did. If you have arthritis but aren't cooking large meals or needing to blend things frequently then I think you could manage quite happily with a good handblender with mini processor attachment (more on that soon...) and a mandolin for slicing

Overall Verdict
A - an indispensable investment for keen cooks with arthritis

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