A common question involves the tools that are needed to prepare vegan grub. Ex-omnivores often find themselves with a small collection of appliances that don’t have any place in a vegan kitchen. George Foreman Grills and bacon toasters can certainly be repurposed to create herbivore dishes but unless you have acres of counter space it is probably time to sell them on craigslist.org. I have found that there is a small collection of tools that can be very helpful for cooking like a veganaut. None of them are mandatory, but they do save time and help create some culinary magic.
In today’s inaugural “Vegan Tool Box” post we’ll be celebrating the blender. You may get the impression that I am using this as an opportunity to brag because we finally bought our Vitamix. If so, I can only conclude that you are a very astute person.
We’ve had our new (refurbished) food mower for about a week now and in that time I have seen proof that it is a force to be reckoned with. We purchased our darling Blendy Lou directly from Vitmaix and patiently waited a little over a week to get her. After paying around $350 for this industrial powerhouse it was too painful to shell out the extra dough for two day shipping. The new blenders are two and three hundred bucks more, but the refurbished models still have the full-replace-repair-seven-year warranty so we went with the more frugal purchase.
Now some of you are channeling my mother and thinking, “Holy Tofu! Why would you pay that much money for a blender??” Well, Mom, as it happens, we did months of research before buying it, thank you very much. There are two high end, mega blenders on the market that are powerful enough to liquify a cell phone. One is the Vitamix and the other is the Blendtec. There are minor differences that draw blender lovers into one camp or the other but they can both turn solids into liquids like magic.
Shannon and I got by with a Magic Bullet and a Deathstick for the first 15 months of the vegan adventure. The Magic Bullet is a little single serving cup blender that is great for making morning smoothies, salsa, and oatmeal flour. It is a very versatile tool but we were using it as a place holder for months while we dreamed of the big league. For a month or two we even lived without a Magic Bullet because our first died an untimely death. During that time we used the Deathstick.
Some people call this an immersion blender but they are kidding themselves with a benign name like that. With a regular blender you have to stick your hand all the way down into the pitcher and then flip a switch to lose fingers and dangerous amounts of blood. Not with the handy Deathstick! Mad scientists took the vicious blades of a blender and attached them to then end of a stick that you can wave around like a light saber. And unlike a blender with a switch that you have to flip, the Deathstick has a button that you gently press with your thumb. It is so conveniently and ergonomically placed that many times, I found myself blending in midair thanks to a gentle pressure I unknowingly placed on the button. Luckily, this never cost me any digits but I can only imagine the carnage this handy kitchen tool has left strewn in it’s wake.
Now the Vitamix sits proudly on our counter. It takes care of all our blending jobs with what I believe to be a diesel engine from an 18-wheeler. The flax seeds and blueberry seeds are no longer noticeable in the morning smoothies. They are disintegrated into nothingness. If I wanted to add a snow ski to my smoothie, I am sure the Vitamix could handle that as well. In fact…
I recently watched the first episode of Breaking Bad so I could finally see what all the overblown hoopla was all about. Two sleepless days and nights later I’d seen every episode of this dark trip into the vicious meth industry. Protagonist, Walter White is diagnosed with cancer and can’t pay for treatment so he solves the problem by cooking meth. On one hand I spent a lot of time thinking about how this show would have been over in a single episode in Canada since there is no need to create a meth amphetamine lab if there is universal healthcare available. On the other hand I saw that a lot of Walt’s problems in the business involved getting rid of incriminating evidence. Now after a week of Vitamixing the hell out of fruits and vegetables I can’t help but think that this device could have helped him get out of a lot of jams.
Whether you go straight for the big time blenders or spend months with a $35 Magic Bullet, blenders are probably the most versatile and important appliance in the vegan tool box. Just promise me, please promise me, that if you own a Deathstick now or buy one in the future, you will treat it with respect… but if there is an accident, apply pressure and head for Canada.