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Can it Really Puree a Cinder Block?

Blenders have been around for a long time. In restaurant kitchens, under countless bars and in homes. Of course, someone had to make a blender that out performed all the others. It's called a Vitamix.

It too has been around awhile. Many models are out there--the most recent and capable is the 5000 Series. I've sorta wanted one since school, but since our old barmixer sits unused . . . Well, then I discovered two Williams Sonoma gift cards on the same day their catalog showed up featuring the Pro 5000 Vitamix. With the cards in hand and knowing I would get a professional discount on top of them I headed for the store, bought it and hefted it home.

This thing is big and heavy. Its 2 bhp motor (that's right), at top speed, drives the poodle to the far side of the house and makes me think I should fetch my old navy flight deck ear muffs, which reside in the garage next to the chain saw. It's loud.

What can it do that the others can't? So far in my experience, not a lot. But it does everything better, much better and in quantity. For chefs, that means a better presentation; and for home cooks too. Where the barmixer struggles to puree ice, the Vitamix drives through cups full of ice cubes without a strain. It's 64 ounce bowl is big and promotes feeding. Smoothies come out with no ice crystals. We're not smoothy fans but we buy a lotof sorbet--having pretty much given up on ice cream--but now make sorbet in the Vitamix. This machine has a setting for smoothies and frozen desserts and does them wonderfully. I fully intend to make fresh fruit sorbet, a la minute, at our next dinner party. We also find now, that when veggies and fruit are approaching over-the-hill time, we make something of them in the Vitamix. Cost saver? You betcha. The machine should pay for itself in a 100 years, maybe.

Every autumn, we pick our basil patch clean and make pesto. The Vitamix batch was more refined than past years' Cuisinart efforts because it did a far better job of processing the Reggiano Parmigiano, which is a very hard cheese. It also has a setting for soups: put on your ear muffs and leave it on high long enough and hot soup pours out, heated by friction alone! That kind of power also makes 10X out of table sugar.

It comes with a informative DVD and a very good and well edited recipe book covering in 350 pages everything from beverages, dips and dressings to sauces and raw food processing. It concludes with an interesting section of signature chef's recipes. Vitamix enjoys a good reputation for reliability and service support.


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