Question: I do a lot of vegetarian cooking, but I have just a little bit of time after work. Slicing and dicing ingredients can take about an hour for a recipe. I usually use knives, but I'm looking at machines to help me. Do you have any recommendations?

Before you spend a penny, know that you can prep in the beginning of the week. Onions, carrots and celery hold well in the refrigerator. My friend Marjorie stores them in airtight bags. Then, when she wants to do a saute or stir-fry, they are there. These things will hold 4 or 5 days.

Shirley Corriher, a food scientist, has a suggestion for keeping salad for weeks. Fill the sink with water and ice cubes and add cleaned salad leaves. Let them sit there for a while in order to fill all the cells of the salad leaves with moisture. Dry the lettuce thoroughly in a salad spinner, then roll it up in a towel. Put it in a Ziploc bag and seal out every bit of oxygen that you can. Your salad will keep for a very long time.

If you want to invest in something that slices, chops and purees, buy something that you will have for years. A lot of the very inexpensive gadgets tend to not do a very good job or they fall apart just when you come to love them. It's kind of like having a boyfriend who lets you down. You want husband material. Cuisinart, Sunbeam, Bosch, KitchenAid and Robot Coupe hold up very well. Get what is handy for you. You may want a small one if you cook for one or two people -- there are many different sizes of food processors.


Lynne Rossetto Kasper

Lynne Rossetto Kasper has won numerous awards as host of The Splendid Table, including two James Beard Foundation Awards (1998, 2008) for Best National Radio Show on Food, five Clarion Awards (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2014) from Women in Communication, and a Gracie Allen Award in 2000 for Best Syndicated Talk Show.