The food processor competition has caught the attention of Consumer Reports. In its June issue the magazine evaluates the Cuisinart and three other "imitators." Then the magazine, which is put out by Consumers Union, turns to a kitchen wizard of the past, the blender, and evaluates 24 of them.

Not surprisingly, the evaluation of food processors resulted in top marks for the Cuisinart. The American Food Processor 8000 ($80) and Epicurean 8000 ($100) which is "essentially similar" to the American, were "judged lower in overall quality," as was the Farberware 286. The testers found the $185 Cuisinart (with plastic instead of metal housing) "processed food as well as the deluxe ($225) models did and was just as convenient to use."

Consumer Reports also offered some interesting insights on the food processor as a tool and toy. "A good food processor is probably the most versatile of all kitchen appliances," the evaluators wrote. "But there are other appliances that can do one or more of the chores a processor can do. If, like many cooks, you already own a blender, a food mixer, and a meat grinder, do you need a food processor, too?"

They conclude that the food processor does some chores better than the specialty appliances and some less well and, "Although the food processors usually worked very fast, they wouldn't always save time."

There are some thoughtful words about blenders as well.

"Take a good appliance and gimmick it up. What do you get? A good appliance that costs twice as much as it should.

"Extra speeds, space-age circuitry, times and 'pulsing' controls add little or nothing to a blender's usefulness but quite a bit to its price."

Many of the 24 blenders the magazine tested ranged in price from $35 to $53, yet the model that won top rating was a Sears product (Cat. No. 82902) that was priced for just under $20. Only one of the models tested received a negative rating, mainly because it lacked a removable bottom and therefore removing food and cleaning is difficult.