I’ve been impressed with the Thermomix lately. It’s a pretty clever machine. It will chop, beat, mix, whip, grind, knead, mince, grate, juice, blend, heat, stir, steam and weigh food. Clever, no? Yet, I so often hear people singing the praises of the Thermomix gushing, “Oh, it does EVERYTHING!” Because… it doesn’t. (Fair enough, they’re excited because they have their dream kitchen machine. But for those of us who don’t have a Thermomix, and are trying to come up with reasons not to get one (for whatever reason, such as, no money in the household budget for it, or perhaps on the principal of the thing, or perhaps you don’t like party plan style selling, or perhaps you don’t like to rely on electricity too much etc)… here is a list to get you started – “Stuff you CAN’T do with a Thermomix”!
1. You can’t bake food in it.
You can mill grain and you can mix/knead batter and dough, but the Thermomix won’t actually bake the cake or loaf of bread for you. You’ll still have to turn on the breadmaker or oven for this.
2. You can’t roast food in it.
The Thermomix will steam and boil and simmer, but it can’t roast foods.
3. You can’t dehydrate food in it.
Obviously not many appliances that dehydrate will do anything else, but it’s still worth pointing out that it’s one thing the Thermomix cannot do.
4. You can’t pan fry, stir fry or deep fry in it.
This is something that would annoy me – because I like to brown meat or onions in the casserole before I add the other ingredients and liquid for a stew or casserole. And a basic heavy-bottomed saucepan can deep fry, but you can’t do that in a Thermomix, despite the Thermomix being promoted as the perfect machine for casseroles and stews.
5. You can’t pressure cook in it.
If you’ve never pressure cooked, you won’t know what you’re missing, but having a pressure cooker now, I know the Thermomix would never replace my pressure cooker’s place in my kitchen.
6. You can’t can/preserve in it.
Obviously, some people won’t be concerned about this at all. But for principle’s sake: it’s another thing that the Thermomix cannot do. (However, if you are looking for a multi-purpose kitchen gadget that will can/preserve as well as cook, I recommend an 8+ quart pressure cooker.)
7. You can’t freeze ice-cream in it.
The advertising almost caught me out on this one, because a lot of people talk about having sorbets at their demonstrations (Thermomixes sell by demonstrator only, not via retail). But a sorbet is not an ice-cream. Sorbets made in a Thermomix are made by pre-freezing ingredients and then briefly pulverising them into an icy snowy puree. Generally just fruit and sugar, maybe other flavours. Makes delicious sorbet, but it’s not ice-cream. Traditional ice-cream is made from a gently set custard of egg yolks, cream and sugar, and while the Thermomix can make this mixture up for you, you’ll still need an ice-cream maker to freeze it (or use the freezer and mash-with-a-fork method, but frankly I’ve never had success with this and I’ve tried a LOT of times!). So nope, the TMX does not make ice-cream.
8. It won’t wash up everything else for you!
One of the Thermomix’s selling points is that it will wash itself; it does this via its ability to whizz the water around inside and clean via the powerful movement of the water. However, what they fail to mention is that when you prepare foods, you inevitably end up with other messes, such as a pan from browning meat, knives and peelers, oven trays, cake tins, etc. You’ll still have to wash these yourself. The TMX also won’t wipe down its own outside, either – and from what I’ve seen, they can get messy from flour dust and food splashes. So unfortunately, it will not replace your maid. (What? You don’t have a maid? Just kidding. Neither do I. 😉 )
9. You can’t operate this thing without electricity. And a lot of it.
If you’re running your home off an off-the-grid system or otherwise have to limit your energy use (eg rising power costs), you need to be aware that the Thermomix consumes a lot of power. For example, the combined usage of heating and blending uses 1.5Kw of power. 1.5Kw is commonly the maximum constant power output that small off-the-grid systems can put out. So for example, a small solar/wind and deep cycle battery system. Newer or more powerful systems may handle the Thermomix’s power need, yet you still have to consider other appliances and power consumers you’re running at the same time off the same system. For example, even if your off-the-grid power system is a gusty one, you might still have to take care not to run a microwave oven, television, hairdryer, or anything else which consumes much more than 500W of power at any given moment, if you want to run your Thermomix. Now, you may think that none of this is relevant to you, but if you’re already a slightly “alternative” or “greenie” type of person who may at some stage consider moving to a more self-reliant place in the country, then keep this factor in mind. Do you really want to become reliant (and Thermomix owners often exclaim shortly after purchase that they don’t know where they’d be anymore without their Thermomix) on a machine which may not be able to accompany you to a greener lifestyle? Most off-the-grid homes utilise combustion stoves or bottled gas for cooking. What if you stay on the grid, but power costs go up and up and up (like they are predicted to)?
10. It won’t actually save you money for a LONG time.
Let’s just say how this could work. You think that by having a Thermomix you’ll save money on bread; the tantalising thought of the fresh homemade bread may be the biggest drawcard for you. Let’s just say you use $1 worth of ingredients to make a loaf of bread, and 25c electricity to bake it . To buy an equivalent-sized average wheat loaf costs $4. This means for every loaf of homemade bread you eat you will save $2.75. That’s obviously a good saving in the long run, but you need to consider two things. #1 is the amount of time that goes into making your own bread, and #2 is paying off the initial investment of buying the Thermomix. Based on choice.com.au’s price of $1939, you will have to make 705 loaves of bread just to pay off the initial investment of your Thermomix ($1939/$2.75 saved). That’s a lot of bread! How many loaves of bread does your family eat each week? A family of four may go through a loaf of bread a day. Therefore it would take you nearly two years making a load of bread in the the Thermomix every single day just to break even on your TMX. That’s not even counting the rather likely instance that you would sometimes buy a loaf of bread instead of making it, anyway.
Not to mention that a lot of people get enthusiastic about the idea of soups and stews made in the Thermomix, yet it’s easy to forget when you’re looking at a shiny demo Thermomix that the same healthy meals could be had out of a $40 slow cooker, too – and you could actually brown your meat and onions in the slow cooker, first. Finally, a lot of families start making more sweets and desserts when they purchase a Thermomix. Delicious, but not necessarily healthy – and may end up costing you more money simply due to the face that you wouldn’t even be making and eating these luxury foods if you didn’t have the ease of the Thermomix. Now all that being said, many people will use a Thermomix to grind special flours for special diets (eg buckwheat, seed and nut flours etc) and with the expensive price of these flours in the supermarket, you may be able to save money faster by milling these at home in a TMX. The raw ingredients, however, are still not cheap, and often the price of blanched almonds (for example) is exactly the same as the price of ground almonds. And then you’ve got to put the time in making it yourself and the cleaning up after.
So all other things considered, don’t be caught out by the Thermomix’s catchcry, “Imagine how much time and money you can save!” Because chances are you’ll end up spending more time in the kitchen… and you’ll also be out of pocket $2000 for quite some time!
So after all this… am I a Thermomix hater?
No way! It’s a very clever gadget and if I hadn’t already owned a grain mill, I would have been tempted to buy a Thermomix by now. But I already have a mill, so I can be a little objective about this. Any family who has special dietary needs would definitely benefit from a Thermomix. (Although they may also find that a Vitamix would do those jobs just as well for less money.) A Thermomix would be an awesome wedding registry gift for a young couple just starting out in a new home together. A Thermomix would be an extremely cool thing to have if you were a college student who wanted to eat healthily but did not have access to a properly kitted-out kitchen (eg living in a dorm or share house) – although I doubt many college students would have this sort of money to spare, even on a TMX payment plan. And finally, a Thermomix seems to be an ideal “all-in-one kitchen” for a senior couple or single person who is downsizing their life and probably eats a lot more simply now they’re older/alone. So no, I am not a Thermomix hater. I am sure they are really fun and yes I do sometimes drool a bit at the thought of one. But honestly, I think that they are very clever at convincing *some* people that they need one when they really *don’t* need one, and I think it is worth pointing that out, in case anyone was already feeling this way and wanted to be pushed over the edge (of not buying)!
Do you already own a Thermomix? What was your main motivation for buying it? What have you ended up mostly using it for? Is there a surprising difference between the two answers? – we’d all be interested to know. Why not leave a quick comment in the bow below and tell us your thoughts!