I was given it as a Christmas present by my lovely husband. He needed a considerable amount of convincing over a fairly long period of time. It really is a huge purchase ($1935), so naturally isn't something that you would just jump into.
I had been along to two demos (these last a couple of hours each) and did a massive amount of online research, read the Choice reviews, watched YouTube videos. I also spoke to a few owners. It seems that is really is hard to find a single Thermomix owner who doesn't rave and throw about 'it's totally changed my life' type phrases. Mostly they list all the things they now love to cook that they wouldn't have considered prior to having a Thermomix in the kitchen. The first demo I went to made me really want one, and the second confirmed it for me.
It took a little longer to convince my other half, he certainly wouldn't be attending a demo. I think what really got my husband over the line was sitting next to a couple of his friends at a wedding, and even hearing the guy tell us how amazing the gadget was.
It arrived in early January and I was so excited I could hardly sleep the night before. My local demonstrator brought over the machine and took me through all the basics; how to wash it, put it together, look after, and we then made a vegetable stock together. That afternoon I proceeded to cook all the things that I really wanted to try TM style, top of the list were: mushroom risotto, soup and peanut butter.
The risotto turned out well, the Thermomix really does make it an easy, weeknight type of meal. It takes roughly 25 minutes, and then you remove it and allow it to rest for a few minutes, which gets the liquid to the perfect consistency. It tasted fairly good, but the saltiness of the TM vegetable stock concentrate was overwhelming.
Soup-making is also a piece of cake in the TM - no changing vessel, it weighs and times everything, cooks it, then at the end pulverises the soup into a light liquid in a few seconds flat. But the stock base again was such a strong and unpleasant flavour for me. I could also taste raw onions in the soup - the TM does 'fry' onions and garlic, but truly I would say it doesn't take them far enough to remove the raw flavour.
The following few weeks I persisted with trying out other recipes from the Everyday Cooking book. This is the book that comes as part of the Thermomix package. The book is basic to say the least, and to me, quite uninspiring. Most of the recipes are so unhealthy, one of the key things promoted by Thermomix, and they particularly around removing processed food from your diet. The quantities of sugar in the baked items is astonishing. I made the Anzac biscuits for afternoon tea one day and had the biggest sugar hit I've had in years. They tasted delicious, but I couldn't see me making them again. I made bolognese one night for the family and a couple of extras, and again I couldn't get over the permeating raw onion taste, and also the texture of the sauce. The Thermomix is a very powerful machine, and uses a 'butterfly' piece to soften the impact of its blades but the bolognese ended up being almost a total mush.
It also felt to me that I had been totally removed from the cooking process, which I now realise quite how much I love. Cooking has become a type of therapy to me, and it's hands on and sensory when you do it the old-fashioned way. You know the dough is ready from look and feel. You add a little bit more salt or spice on taste. You continue to stir in stocks until the consistency is perfect. The Thermomix locks the ingredients into a steel container, and although you can turn it off and check, it doesn't feel the as when the food is bubbling away on the stove.
Another aspect of the TM which I struggled with was converting recipes from my existing cookbook collection to Thermomix-style. Much of the time the order in which you do things is reversed, and it is difficult to guess times and speeds for most newbies as the machine is capable of doing so many things at the same time. The Thermomix forum was a great recipe resource, but also a veritable rabbit warren of information, much of it posted by individuals rather than the company. It was possible to find a version of what you wanted on there, but probably with the chef-inspiration removed.
I would like to make clear that I didn't dislike everything about the Thermomix, it just didn't do all that I wanted it to. And for over $1900 that meant I was super critical. It made incredible mashed potato, and smoothies, and custard. Really top notch, and so easy. No need to continuously stir that custard for 10 minutes, it does it all for you.
The moral of this story is that my trusty Magimix food processor has now earned its spot on my kitchen counter. Love the simplicity!