Cook’s Illustrated likes this one. They also rate the Cuisinart ones pretty well. Unfortunately, they pretty much say “save your money” when it comes to the inexpensive ones. The rating guide is in their November 2004 issue, if you want to look it up, with an update in the September 2005 issue because the top-rated Kitchenaid is no longer available; they like replacement (linked above) just as well, and it’s cheaper.
I have a Cuisinart, and it does the job. Honestly, though, I don’t use it all that much. For some things, it’s essential. For others, meh.
You say you want to use it for “slice and dice ( which is the main purpose for soups and whatnot) I would love to have one that can make liquified veggie & fruit drinks.”
My experience with them is that I never use it to slice and dice. Unless you’re feeding an army, pulling it out of the cupboard, finding the right attatchment, and cleaning it afterwards is always more work than just cutting everything up with a knife.
It won’t make liquified veggie and fruit drinks. Food processors don’t liquify as well as blenders, and they don’t replace blenders. Buy a nice blender to make smoothies, or a juicer if you want to juice carrots or something like that. Food processors don’t liquify well enough even to make blended soups (like Cream of Asparagus soup) - I use the blender to do that.
What do I use it for:
- grating cheese for pizza.
- making pie & pizza dough
- making pesto
- making hummus
That’s about it. I supposed I could use it for making homemade salsa, but I tend to use a hand blender for that.
Honestly, out of all the high-dollar kitchen appliances I own - and I own 'em all because I’m a first rate kitchen nerd - the food processor is the one I could most easily do without. On the other hand, the stuff it does well - hummus, for example - really can’t be done by any other appliance.
I use my KitchenAid stand mixer with the various attachment WAY more than I use the food processor. It gets used so much that it lives on the counter. Heck, I think I use my blender about twice as much as I use the food processor. If you really want to drop big bucks on a kitchen appliance, go get a Vita-Mix Blender. It does most of what you want better than a food processor. 'course, it’s ridiculously expensive. But you’ll be the envy of all your friends!