You know how learning a new word makes you realize how much that word is used by the rest of the world? In fact, now you cannot even imagine that not-too distant past when you were so ignorant that you weren't able to squeeze that word into every conversational context? Well, that sort of describes my relationship with the Vitamix.
I long ago registered hazily the existence of the Vitamix and knew friends who possessed them. I walked past myriad demonstrations of its superior blending power in shops and department stores and tried to avoid having to make eye contact with the perky people leading those demonstrations. What I needed though was to be bombarded with the Vitamix as I was the last few months to finally acknowledge and appreciate its significance.
At first it was Gwyneth Paltrow (of all people) who, months ago, re-jiggered my memory of an appliance called a Vitamix. (The very first time I heard of it, I thought it was a vitamin-fortified drink…) It was mentioned in an issue of Bon Appetit featuring her new cookbook that she loves the Vitamix’s ability to blend soups to a creamy consistency without the addition of cream. Then I came across the Vitamix again in an issue of Food & Wine in which an amateur cook extolled its virtues in helping her make fresh almond milk every morning. I casually mentioned the Vitamix to Will only to find out that he had himself just read about how Thomas Keller—in his Ad Hoc at Home cookbook—said that a Vitamix was an indispensable piece of kitchen equipment.
We debated. Do we really need another kitchen appliance? As it is, we have no more room on the kitchen counter. But didn’t we decide that we wanted to make more smoothies in the morning? Wouldn’t a more powerful Vitamix help blend together the frozen mixed berries and vanilla soy milk into a creamier smoothie? After all, our Oster blender—while fine with soups and sauces—seemed to whine pathetically whenever we blended frozen items in it. But then again, the Vitamix is not inexpensive and thus not a frivolous purchase to make just because an athlete and an actress said in (advertisement-rich) magazines that they liked it. Yes, almost as expensive as a New York City dinner that was over and forgotten about in 3 hours. You can see how the rest of this debate raged on.
Ultimately, a routine shopping excursion to Costco proved the deciding factor. They had a $25 instant rebate coupon when we were shopping there during our Vitamix debate phase. That small but still unexpected piece of saving and the generous full 7-year warranty on the product (who else gives 7-year warranties on kitchen equipment?) made us feel that the product will give us at least 7 years of satisfactory use. Our mental calculations went something like this: If we make a smoothie 100 days out of the year, then that is 700 smoothies over the life of the warranty, thus making each improved smoothie only ______ cents per serving, etc. Never mind how much almond milk we could consume (but only if we had the Vitamix)! We never had a chance. The Vitamix came home with us that afternoon.
Though we are chagrined at our inability to resist impulse purchases, we are delighted with the purchase itself. We’ve already used the Vitamix more in the past month than we used our former blender in the past two years. A chilled asparagus soup (pictured below) blended to such a creamy consistency that it did indeed feel like cream had been added. But really, the star of the show is the simple soy-berry smoothie which we do make about every other morning.
Mixed Berry-Vanilla Smoothie (a recipe for 2):
1 cup Vanilla Soy Milk
1 cup Frozen Mixed Berries (of any kind)
Optional Add-in: ½ peeled banana or mango
1) Pour soy milk into blender. Pour in the cup of frozen mixed berries. If you are adding banana or mango, you can add that in now too.
2) Take the center of the lid out and fit the lid of the Vitamix with the “tamper” (the thing that looks like a small plunger) and snap the lid on. Have the Vitamix at the “Variable” power and at speed 1 (from 1-10) before turning the power on.
3) Turn the power on and then turn the speed dial to 10, and then the power to “High.” You might or might not need to jiggle the tamper in the middle—depending on whether an air pocket gets trapped. Blend until the consistency is to your liking. Then return to “Variable” and “1” before turning the machine off.
(Note: The speed dials are for my Vitamix 5200. Other models might have slightly different numbers and power designations, but the basic idea is the same: you should move from lower variable speed to higher rather than just starting at High power.)
To your health!