Even the most efficient kitchen appliances can be flawed, regardless of whether they do their intended job. From box graters to food mills to the ubiquitous food processor, some appliances are infuriatingly difficult to clean—so difficult, in fact, that I've found myself switching up my dinner plans just to avoid dealing with hard-to-reach nooks and crannies. Food mills, Microplanes, zesters, and the like benefit most from an immediate soak and rinse.
When it comes to food processors, it's not the bowl or the many blades that are tough to clean; it's the lid, which hides and traps bits of food and sticky liquids far outside your sponge's reach. You might say that it's a small price to pay for such a powerful and versatile kitchen accoutrement. At the same time, on a lazy Sunday, it's enough to make me hesitate over whether I really want to commit to making hummus in addition to whatever else I'm preparing for the week.
Cue the miracle that is Stella Parks. The other day, apropos of nothing, Stella pointed out a simple trick to keeping your food processor lid clean: Use plastic wrap to cover the top of the bowl before putting on the lid.
Eagle-eyed readers may have noticed this trick documented in photographs in Stella's past posts, and that's because she literally uses it any time she's not using the pour spout. It's perfect for preparing the dough for lemon meltaway cookies, or for whipping up a super-stable fruity whipped cream.
There are a few caveats, though. You don't want to use plastic wrap when making heavy-duty bread doughs, which can ride up against the lid. You'll want to use a large enough piece of plastic that it doesn't sink into the bowl, and you don't want the plastic wrap stretched too tightly over the bowl, as that will make it more difficult to twist the lid shut and will increase the risk of tearing. Finally, while this tip will work with larger food processors—anything from Robot Coupes in professional kitchens to eight-cup food processors (as well as blenders!)—it's less effective with smaller food processors, like the three-cup one I've got pinch-hitting while I wait for my replacement Cuisinart blade.
With all that in mind, there's nothing to stop you from pulling out the food processor for any variety of tasks, all without the worry of having to clean up its lid. You could make that hummus; you could blend some chimichurri to sauce a burger or steak, buzz up a basic guacamole or salsa, or make a superlative curry paste.
Or, of course, you could just make them all, washing out just the bowl and blade in between each one.