Should you buy a Thermomix?
I love cooking. I used to pore over Gourmet Travellers every weekend, planning elaborate meals from exotic cuisines. Thinking about cooking, planning our meals, and then spending hours in the kitchen creating my masterpiece used to bring me great pleasure.
Fast forward three years, and my experience of cooking is somewhat different post children. Now I cook in the half hour between the time Play School starts and finishes. I run the risk of being interrupted at any time by a dirty nappy, sibling fight, a baby having separation anxiety or a three-year-old deciding to flood the bathroom with water. Not to mention my children viewing my osso bucco with a healthy degree of suspicion, and demanding plain pasta only. It’s not what it used to be.
Earlier this year, shortly after Owl was born, my darling husband gave me the gift of Thermomix. Being a Thermie owner is like being part of a cult. Everyone thinks you are slightly loony, keeps asking you how the bloody thing works and is somewhat bemused that you would part with over $1900 for a household appliance. In return you keep saying things like “It’s the best thing that ever happened to my kitchen!” or “I love making my own yoghurt!” and sounding like a never-ending advertisement for good old Thermie.
I get asked about it a lot, so I thought I’d share my thoughts on my Thermie :)
1. It’s probably worth the money
Thermie is a versatile instrument. Basically a food processor that also cooks and stirs your food while you put your feet up (or change that nappy). It never ceases to amaze me how many appliances people have hidden away in their kitchens that they admit to hardly ever using. Thermie replaces the following appliances, and the total cost of the items below comes up to around $1800. Plus you save on a tonne of space.
Kitchen Aid stand mixer $650
Food processor $200
Ice cream maker $150
Kitchen scales $25
Slow cooker $100
2. It’s hands-free cooking
A real boon for mums, who have to respond to little emergencies all the time. How many times have you come close to burning the house down because you forgot something on the stove? Thermie happily cooks and stirs for you, and then stops cooking once the timer stops. I love making bolognaise sauce, as Thermie chops the onions and garlic, sautees them, browns the mince and then cooks the sauce into a beautiful sauce that my kids are happy to eat for days on end. I do vegetable stir-fries using Thermie with pleasing results.
3. It’s quick
Forget slow cooking, how about fast induction cooking for time-poor mums! Thermie cooks a mean stew in about 20-30 minutes with melt-in-your-mouth results. Kneading dough takes a tiny fraction of the time. As does beating butter and eggs for cakes.
4. It’s mess free
Because you prepare and cook in the one utensil, there is only one thing to wash at the end of the day, and it’s dead easy to clean. Thermie’s jug goes in the dishwasher, or is easily cleaned with a dishbrush and some detergent. Or 20 seconds of “self cleaning” on fast whizzing mode gets it pretty clean with only a rinse needed afterwards.
5. It’s somewhat healthier…in some ways
Thermie owners delight in making their own ingredients from scratch. You know, things like butter, yoghurt, grinding your own wholewheat grains into flour, etc. This may or may not improve your health! On the downside, there could be the temptation to create all these absolutely delicious and calorie-laden treats like your own brioche, pastry, ice-cream and desserts. On the up side, by doing things from scratch you can eke out a healthier life. Mince your own meat and you’re eating proper lean meat instead of random dodgy bits of fat and god knows what else that goes into regular mince. I make ice-cream and reduce the sugar content by 50%. You can control the amount of salt that goes into your bread, and avoid using unneccesary preservatives and additives in your jams or what have you. Just go easy on the brioche…
6. It’s so. Much. Fun.
Frozen daiquiris. Need I say more?
7. Some people think you could save money.
I like making my own yoghurt. At $1 a kg, I save $5 per week, or $250 a year. Bread costs $2 less to make. Ice-cream is a fraction of the cost. Chicken liver pate? Snort! It costs me $2 for enough pate to feed an army. But while the actual work that goes into making bread or yoghurt is minimal, it does involve waiting around for dough to rise, and yoghurt to cool. I’m about to become a full time working and studying mama, and I am not sure I can justify that time, or rather the energy (I have been known to set my alarm so I can wake up and finish making the yoghurt at night!!)
Does Thermie do everything? No, it doesn’t bake, it doesn’t dice or slice (it chops and minces more than anything) and I find the jug is a tad too small – adequate for a four person meal, but without much left over that could be frozen.
However, for a busy mum, Thermie can be a life saver. I may not be creating any gourmet meals in the near future, but with Thermie I can get a meal on the table in thirty minutes, with time to clean up and bath the kids in between. And, when I feel like it, whip up some green tea ice cream and a cheeky strawberry daiquiri… ;)