That’s strange; I thought Works-for-Me Wednesday this week was supposed to be a “What’s not working for you?” edition, but the hostess has explained how to make a burlap wreath that apparently works for her, and now that I think about it, last week she explained why online calendars don’t work for her. I must have gotten the dates confused. Well, anyway, here is something that’s not working for me:
The Magic Bullet is a blender/chopper system that supposedly “does ANY job in 10 seconds or less.” Seriously, any job? Really, they mean only food-cutting jobs, like making smoothies, dicing vegetables, grating cheese, chopping nuts, crushing ice, pureeing beans, etc. Still, that sounds good! We bought one on special at Costco almost two years ago.
Our conclusion, after trying hard to learn its ways, is that the Magic Bullet does a few kinds of jobs in 10 minutes or less and is annoying, if not incompetent, at all the other things it claims it can do.
The basic idea of the Magic Bullet is that you screw a blade assembly onto a cup with some food in it, and then you press the blade assembly into the base that holds the motor, causing the blade to rotate in quick pulses. Sounds reasonable. The trouble is…
- Only the food right around the blade gets cut. In order to get the rest of the food to the blade, you have to shake the cup in such a way that the cut food falls off the blade and lands in the opposite end of the cup, while the rest of the food moves around it. The instructions make this sound easy. It isn’t.
- Lining up the tabs on the blade assembly with the notches in the base is difficult. They’re really small. If they don’t align perfectly, the thing won’t run.
- You’re supposed to run it in pulses, just a few seconds at a time. But once the tabs and notches are engaged, they tend to jam together, such that releasing your pressure on the cup doesn’t necessarily cause the thing to stop.
- The motor overheats really easily. If you accidentally run it for 10 seconds straight, it starts to smell bad. A few seconds more can overheat it to the point that its safety feature shuts it off, and then you have to wait at least 15 minutes before it will run again. This makes it not very convenient for quick ingredient preparation!
- It doesn’t dice or grate anything. It tears everything to bits. Instead of pretty grated carrot, you get carrot that looks like it’s been chewed and spat out–okay for making soup but not for topping salad.
- If you want to make a full cup of something–for example, a smoothie–you cannot put in all the ingredients at once; it works best if you puree one ingredient, then shake it to the other end of the cup and add the next ingredient, puree that, shake it off, add the next. . . . This is a real hassle because you have to unscrew the blade assembly, take it off (dripping food), and then screw it back on. It’s much more complicated than a regular blender, where the lid is easily removed and you don’t have to handle the blade until you’re done.
- Leaves and tough fruit peels (like apple peel) get cut very unevenly, usually leaving a few awkwardly huge pieces.
- Forget about kale. You might get away with a few pre-torn smallish bits in a smoothie, but if you try to shred a handful of kale in the Magic Bullet, it winds around the blade and jams the motor.
- The motor is very loud and obnoxious.
- It’s no easier to clean than a standard blender. It seems very time-consuming to clean because, almost every time we have attempted a job with the Magic Bullet, we’ve ended up also using a knife and cutting-board or our food processor so had to clean those as well!
These are the only tasks for which we’ve found the Magic Bullet works pretty well:
- Grinding flax seeds. As long as you fill the cup less than 1/3 full, it does a really nice job. (But not in “10 seconds or less” because you have to stop and shake it several times.)
- Making a smoothie from mostly soft ingredients, such as banana, melon, and berries.
- Pureeing soft, non-sticky foods such as cooked vegetables. (Beans are too sticky.)
We do have one nice thing to say about the Magic Bullet: Its user’s manual + cookbook is unusually well-written. It not only avoids that “translated from another language, possibly by robots” style of many appliance handbooks; it’s actually written in a pleasant, enthusiastic tone that is fun to read. We’d be happy to have the author over to dinner and find out if he or she actually was able to make the machine perform as described or was simply doing the job well!