Who Needs a $500 Blender?


Obviously, no one needs a $500 blender. But no one needs fleur de sel or dinner at Per Se or a thousand-dollar suit or a Ferarri either.

The Vita-Mix 5200 retails for $450. It’s one of those products that was designed for a commerical kitchen which are now popular with obsessive homecooks. But not many people are in the market for a blender that costs more than a plane ticket.

But let’s just say you’re having a midlife crisis and you prefer cooking to messing around with pretty girls or to speeding. Is the Vita-Mix worth it, by any standard?

If you’re a kitchen-gadget-lover, a person who’d like a juicer, a food processor and a blender as powerful as a jet engine all in one, than it probably is worth saving your pennies for.

There’s some inscrutable info in the manual about the blades being so powerful that they break down cell walls in fruits and veggies. All I know is that I stuck a bunch of carrots and ginger in there, turned it on, and ended up with carrot-ginger juice (see before and after, above).

It’s also so powerful that it heats up soup (hopefully soup that you wanted puréed). Put your cream-of-whatever in there, whirr it up, and it’s soon piping hot.

When making frozen margaritas, the Vita-Mix got a bit stuck on the gnarly, clumpy bodega ice, but a poke with its plastic wand sorted that out.

If the notion of the blender equivilent of a Ferrari appeals, this is your guy. The blades spin at 250 mph, so be prepared–the first time I turned it on, the roar of the blades made me duck for cover.

And here’s a summery, spicy gazpacho to make in your blender, whether it cost $5 or $500.

Four Chile Gazpacho

Yield: 6 servings

2 pasilla chiles
2 ancho chiles
2 guajillo chiles
2 seedless cucumbers, divided, 1 diced, 1 roughly chopped
1 small red onion, 1/2 diced, 1/2 set aside
1 (28-ounce) can chopped tomatoes
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
4 cloves garlic
3 roasted red bell peppers
1 red jalapeño, halved
1 cup 2% Greek yogurt
juice of 2 limes
salt and freshly ground pepper
Greek yogurt, for serving
diced avocado, for serving

In a bowl, combine pasilla, ancho and guajillo chiles. Cover with hot water, and set aside to soften. In a serving bowl, combine diced cucumber and diced red onion. In the blender base combine roughly chopped cucumber, 1/2 red onion, tomatoes, carrot, garlic, roasted red bell peppers and jalapeño. Blend on high until smooth.

Remove dried chiles from hot water, discarding water. Stem chiles, roughly chop, and add into the blender base. Blend on high until puréed. Scoop in yogurt, lime juice and salt and pepper, to taste. Blend briefly until incorporated. Scrape into serving bowl to combine with diced cucumber and red onion, and refrigerate until chilled. Serve topped with yogurt and diced avocado.