In 1947 Frenchman Louis Tellier invented the commercial food mill, and it changed the world of cooking. Hours of labor were changed into a few cranks of a handle–I should add that he also invented the french fry cutter that many people use. If you’re like me, and hate cleaning all the little fiddly parts of a food processor, the manual food mill is an excellent alternative or addition.
Why this is something of an exotic tool in US kitchens is a mystery, as even the French made food mills are inexpensive and incredibly simple. Put the appropriate milling disk in, pop in the hand cranked milling masher thingy, and go at it. That’s it. Three parts that lead to great food, from mashed or riced potatoes to pie fillings to any puree that you can imagine.
There are things a food mill can’t do that a food processor can, like making bread crumbs, but try getting the seeds out of a tomato or other fruit with a food processor. It also isn’t necessary to go the full commercial route: Moulinex makes an excellent stainless small sized food mill in France.
Food mills are not just for making baby food. Buying one will change the way you cook, and look at food.