Kitchen & Gadgets

Thermomix: The Miracle Appliance

May 20 2013 - 1:00 PM

The foodie world seems to be divided into two camps. Those who know what a Thermomix is and want one like its their job, and those who have never heard of it. Because you can’t hear about this extraordinary appliance and not covet it beyond all reason.

Think Vitamix that cooks. Think Rosie the Robot with a delicate hand for steaming scallops. Think about a machine that can make ethereal hollandaise BY ITSELF. Oh, yeah. You want one.

I was introduced to the Thermomix on my 40th birthday weekend in Montreal. Every restaurant we went to, whether it was the velvety purees, silky sauces or the perfectly al dente and creamy risotto, turns out, the king in the kitchen was Thermomix. We set out to acquire one and were disappointed to find out two sad bits of info.

First? They are not sold in stores or in the States. So, you have to find a Canadian who loves you and knows a rep, since those are the only ones with the right electrical plugs. And second? They will run you about $1,800 bucks. So I hope you have an extra kidney lying around.

The big question with purchases like this for me is the CPU. Cost per use. Would I spend a mortgage payment on a machine that makes doughnuts? Nope. Because I would maybe use it once every other year. But on a machine that is the most high-powered blender I have ever seen, with the ability to COOK? Yeah. It’s worth saving your pennies. Because this kitchen workhorse will be useful several times a week, and they last forever.

We got lucky and my family all chipped in to buy us one when we got engaged. And it has been a total game-changer. I can dump in cubed raw celery root, a little milk and butter, and turn it on and leave the kitchen, and in 20 minutes not only is it cooked perfectly; it is the smoothest cloud of puree.

Want risotto, but have other things to do? It will chop the onion, then sauté it, toss in the rice and it will stir and toast, then you just dump ALL THE STOCK AT ONCE, turn the puppy on low and reverse and it will stir it slowly and constantly, making truly perfect risotto. I mean perfect. Restaurant perfect. Add the butter and cheese right at the end, 20 seconds on speed two, and the all’onde, and that slow seductive slide that good risotto makes on the plate is right there. Pop the two-tier steaming vessel on top and it will steam a piece of fish AND some veggies while the risotto is cooking, and dinner is done beautifully.

The lid is designed to drizzle, so you can make any emulsified sauce like a champ, homemade mayo in about 90 seconds, hollandaise that is light as a feather, and holds beautifully warm in the stainless container. Did I mention that all the pieces are dishwasher safe?

Here is how I know that this appliance is the single most important one in my kitchen…I’m saving up to buy another one. Because while the bowl capacity is great for serving 6-8 people for side dishes, which covers 90% of my dinner parties, that other 10% haunts me. And someday? Thermomix is coming to Thanksgiving dinner at my house.