By Mike Elgan, Houzz
There are kitchen gadgets, and then there are expensive and technologically advanced kitchen gadgets. And then there are these three products. They perform feats of kitchen magic previously unimaginable. And they cost, well, a lot of money. Are they worth it? That’s for you to decide.
According to its legions of fans, the Thermomix is the most all-purpose, convenient and precise countertop kitchen gadget available anywhere. Except it isn’t available anywhere — most conspicuously, it’s not sold in the United States.
The company used to sell the Thermomix in the U.S. but stopped in 2004. (Unofficial reports claim that Thermomix Canada will sell a U.S.-compatible unit to American buyers by mail. See more about where you can find it.)
The Thermomix weighs, mixes, blends, purees, chops, stirs, grates, grinds, processes, kneads, slices, peels, cooks and steams food, controlled by computer and reportedly with incredibly professional results. In fact, it’s used by chefs in some restaurant kitchens and pastry shops.
The main processing space is a 2-quart stainless steel container with blades built in. It’s controlled by a series of buttons on the front.
Some like the Thermomix for the appliances it renders unnecessary, saving counter space. But others point out the things it can do that other devices cannot — for example, mix and cook at the same time. The Thermomix has a cult-like following among home cooks and professional cooks alike. And it can save a lot of counter space — if you can get one. Prices vary by region.
Blossom One Coffeemaker
A new coffeemaker called the Blossom One costs as much as a budget car. But, according to the company that makes it, the coffee it produces is perfect.
To make coffee with the Blossom One, you pour filtered water into the machine, then load in ground coffee. Select a “brew profile” or program your own custom settings. The water is heated during brewing using what the company calls a “proportional integral derivative feedback control loop” to maintain the exact temperature throughout the brewing process.The machine beeps when it’s done.
Despite its advanced settings, it neither grinds beans nor pressurizes the water — it requires hand pressing like an old-fashioned espresso maker. The coffeemaker has some unusual hardware components, though, including Wi-Fi connectivity (so the settings can be conveyed via a smartphone app) and a digital camera (for reading QR codes from coffee bags to automatically adjust its settings.
The Blossom One is made with some nice materials, too, including teak and mahogany.
Kitchen Contraptions 3: Foodini Food Printer, original photo on Houzz
Foodini Food Printer
The Star Trek TV series had something called a replicator, which responded to voice commands and instantly manufactured any food. A new project could be a first step toward that kind of technology: It’s a food “printer.”
Three-D printers can make 3-D objects, even highly complex ones, normally using a special plastic. They work by creating layers under computer control in succession until the 3-D object is completed. A company named Natural Machines now wants to use the 3-D printing concept to create 3-D foods using a machine it calls the Foodini.
In early tests the machine has been able to “print” veggie burgers, cookies, bread sticks, pizza, ravioli, gnocchi, quiche shaped like dinosaurs, snowflake-shaped chocolates and more. Natural Machines co-founder Lynette Kucsma says the company expects to start shipping the machine in mid-2014 for around $1,300 — which is equivalent to the price of a high-end food processor and on the lower side of the price range for a 3-D printer.
The Foodini connects to the Internet via Wi-Fi, so instructions and updates can be downloaded.
Here’s what a printed pizza looks like:
And here’s what it looks like being printed:
Some of the most sophisticated and advanced kitchen gadgets are expensive — sometimes pricing themselves out of usability. But for serious foodies, they’re also precision devices that can do what no other machine — and sometimes what no human — can accomplish without them.