Saturday, November 16, 2013


Mano a mano.
Years ago, before my kids were born, I lived in a rustic mill house in the country, with no electricity and no running water. Or, I should say, the running water came from a rushing stream, carried to the house in buckets. When I eventually built a new house in a small olive grove, I installed both water and electricity. No more kerosene lamps! No bucket showers!

I immediately went out and bought myself an electric blender, a Braun Minipimer. A hand-held immersion blender, it was at that time a “revolutionary” new design.

After twenty-five years—and much gazpacho, baby-food purée and mayonnaise—my blender finally gave out. I was right in the middle of testing gazpacho recipes for the cookbook, My Kitchen in Spain. So I went right out and got another, basically the same Braun blender, 300 watts. But this one came with an additional attachment—a mini-processor for chopping.

I found I used that chopping gadget quite a lot—much handier than pulling out the food processor (Moulinex, 400 watts). In fact, in 13 years, I seem to have used it so much that I eventually wore out the gears or whatever it is that  connects the motor to rotate the blade. The blender still works, although it’s making a funny buzzing noise when it’s in operation. (A blender in Spanish is a batidora; a food processor is called a robot de cocina.)

Meanwhile, my good friend Charlotte was having her own blender dilemma. She was devoted to an old Osterizer (600 watts), brought from the US and run with a transformer on Spanish current. When the glass container broke, she was devastated. She had a practically new Braun immersion blender hanging in her kitchen. Even though I raved about it, she resisted using it, claiming nothing was as good as the Osterizer.  

So I went blender shopping. I found a new Osterizer for Charlotte, manufactured for European current. Although she was heard to say, “well, they don’t make them the way they used to” (plastic where the old one had metal), she seems delighted.

My new kitchen tool--a Bosch blender and mini-processor.
And, for myself, I found on sale a Bosch combo immersion blender, mini-processor/chopper plus whip attachment. With a whopping 750 watts, it will even grind ice.

I’m putting the new tool through it’s paces—blending last week’s pumpkin soup (see that recipe in the previous blog post); finely chopping onions for meatballs; making a quickie basil-walnut pesto using the chopper;

Puréeing beans for bean-kale soup.
puréeing beans for Tuscan bean-kale soup (the recipe by Nancy Harmon Jenkins is on the Saveur web site); coarsely chopping nuts for a cookie recipe;

Mini-processor for chopping nuts.

Puréeing mangos with yogurt for ice cream.
 puréeing mangos with yogurt for “ice cream” (recipe).

I still haven’t tried out the whipping attachment. Are meringues coming up next? Oh, in my appliance nook are also a standing mixer, a Sunbeam Mixmaster that is more than 40 years old, which I pull out whenever a birthday cake is on the horizon, and a hand-held mixer which I never use.

I’m pleased with my new equipment, although I don’t really need such high wattage (300-400 watts is adequate for making gazpacho and most purées).

Shredded zucchini for savory flan.
So, it looks like it’s retirement for the good old Braun. But, the old Moulinex processor, with its cracked food bowl repaired with strapping tape, stays, as I like the grating disk—perfect for shredding zucchini and grating cheese for a zucchini flan (recipe ).

Zucchini flan.

I’m hoping that the life expectancy of the new blender is at least as long as the one it replaces. In my kitchen, it gets almost daily use. Or, is there a Thermomix in my future?


  1. i have had difficulty finding a food processor & blender in Spain. Now considering getting one shipped!

    1. Anon: Corte Inglés stores have a good selection of food processors and blenders. Another option is to order from (Spanish Amazon).