Launching—a new community of cooks
In 2009, my wife alerted me to an article about a new food processor that was able to do most things that any cook would want, including cleaning itself. It seemed too good to be true, but it did also have a price tag of around $AU 2000, which put it several hemispheres above any other domestic kitchen wiz. I was somewhat taken by the promise of such a machine given my collection of whizzers, microwaves, pressure cookers, electric beaters, sous vide, vacuum sealers, multiple coffee machines, smokers and bread machines; not to mention hundreds of cookbooks collected over the journey. My initial thinking was 'would be nice, but you can't have everything'.
A year later, a Melbourne-based food writer, Dani Valent came to see me spruiking a book about food and cooks, based on a regular gig she had with The Age's Melbourne magazine. What I cook when… was a monthly collection of recipes that professionals cook when they have a family/friends gathering. Dani would be part of each frivolity, take notes about the personalities involved, there would be beautiful photos, half a dozen recipes and the story would come alive. The book would be a collection of a few years of the festivities.
Then she told me about her obsession with a new kitchen machine: "Have you heard about the Thermomix?" she said. I told her of my very limited knowledge, based on an obscure magazine article, and we decided that a cookbook about the Thermomix may have more legs that a collection of disparate recipes from a wide range of cooks at various places in the cooking chain; and, the complication was that it was likely the intellectual property belonged to Fairfax, the Australian publishing conglomerate and publisher of The Age, in which the articles had appeared.
A year on and we had produced a Thermomix cookbook—In The Mix—and then, soon enough, another (In The Mix 2); I did buy a Thermomix; I did become (almost) obsessed with the machine; I did decide it was indeed wondrous in many areas; and I did discover there was a vast "family" of Thermomixers who would save the machine before the family photos, the dog, and their iPad should their property be engulfed in fire.
So, is born TMix+—a magazine for the Thermomix cooking community that will, we hope, provide not just a whole new collection of recipes, but also amend and/or verify ideas and recipes that have been haphazardly circulating through the ever-expanding world of the Thermomix.
TMix+ will be a food magazine like no other; although its primary purpose is to engage Thermomix users with new recipes, or new ways with old, it will also be a true world magazine, informing, amusing, motivating, but above all, contributing to the discourse on food, cooking, preservation, ingredients, people, places and more. It will not be a propagandist for the Thermomix; the machine can do things—hands off—that no other methods get close to, but it is NOT the be all and end all of the kitchen. Sometimes traditional methods are more efficient; sometimes doing things by hand is better; sometimes it's the microwave, sometimes the pressure cooker, sometimes the dutch oven, and sometimes a pan and a steamer. And sometimes we just enjoy doing things by hand, without flash, bang, ping assistance. The best cooks are those who “feel” the food, who “see” its subtle changes. Years ago, I was (and still am) an unabashed fan of the Time-Life Good Cook series. These wonderful, step-by-step, and timeless books, required users to do all things by hand in the first instance, and once the basic skills were understood, it was open slather: use any machine you like, because now you understand the process, from go to whoa. The best Thermomix cooks are not those who just push the buttons, and set the temperature; they are those who understand that what the machine offers them is a set of extra hands in the kitchen, hands that can do the basics better than ever could. I asked several chefs, in the best kitchens, what the Thermomix gave them? The response was consistent: it can do things only the best chefs can do, and I can achieve what I want with two fewer staff. Our task in TMix+ is to take professional techniques, apply them to the Thermomix, and open up users’ minds to its vast potential.
We know that one of the beauties of the Thermomix is that once you get a recipe right, nothing can go wrong: timing, temperature, speed of stirring is all managed by that wonderful German engineering, enhanced over generations by the creators Vorwerk. However, just as there are a dozen versions of gnocchi, 100s for shortbread and 1000s for potatoes, there are multiple versions of recipes for many of the basics of the Thermomix.
We're here to find the ones that really work to the best traditions of the best cooks on the planet, getting textures, flavours and processes just right. We also note that not enough has been done to provide "normal" cooks with the ammunition to create some of the great traditional items in the best cooks’ repertoire. Too much of what's in the Thermomix world is either cooking 101 in a new machine, or is so advanced as to befuddle even the world's most advanced chefs.
Our aim is to reduce the noise, focus on what works best for the home cook—from the beginner to the semi-pro—and create exciting and involving ways for you to relate to not just the workings of the Thermomix, but, most importantly that what's ends up on the plate is astonishingly good, day by day. At TMix+ headquarters, we’re fortunate to have gathered with the best cooks and food writers of the last 40 years, when cooking went from a chore, to an entertainment. TMix+ will be scouring the work of these icons of the food world, people like Elizabeth David, Paul Bocuse, Alice Waters, Madhur Jaffrey, Gaston Lenôtre, Heston Blumenthal, and so many more. These great recipes have never been interpreted for the Thermomix. We’re excited about the journey, and we hope you’ll join us.
Thanks for engaging with Tmix+. We hope you enjoy the experience, and together, we can get the most from our Thermomix and yours.
Publisher, and avowed Thermomixer