A thermoless existence

It is 5.30pm. We have just finished a multitude of frantic mid-week after school activities. My car rolls into the driveway and before I’ve even found the footbrake I am inundated with screaming, fighting and extravagant food requests from my three ravenous children. I groan unresponsively as I consider my possible menu options: leftovers, takeaway or cooking.

Given that there are never many leftovers in my house (I’ve usually exhausted that option) and my distaste for takeaway food, I usually punish myself with the ‘cooking’ option. If that’s what you’d call it.

The cataclysm usually consists of burnt food, smashed jars, mess in abundance, deafening screams, leg hugging and more than the odd dispute, as my mind is switched into multi-tasking survival mode.

Yep, I am one of those poor b%#tards without a thermomix. I have to slave over the kitchen bench hacking my vegies one by one with my grandmother’s old kitchen knives in the midst of a war, while everyone else hits speed 9. I am the one who turns up to a BBQ revealing a salad that resembles a dog’s breakfast, while everyone else is praised for their fine dining flair.

I unwillingly belong to the ‘Forced Thermomix Resistance’ and much to my dismay; I’m slowly becoming the minority.

Although, don’t let me mislead you; I’ve had my miniscule chances (glimpses that have been snatched from my clasp as quickly as pulverising an onion on speed 9), and I eventually reached a point with my husband when he handed me an ultimatum, ‘you can have your mountain bike, but then there is no thermomix.’

Call it rebellious or simply women’s liberation, but I called his bluff (or thought I did) and chose the more adventurous alternative; a bike. Perhaps I should have gone with the more expensive latter option, but at the time, the idea of pedalling my way off into a sun setting horizon on my lonesome – rather than being sentenced to the kitchen with my new gift for the benefit of everyone else – was non-negotiable for me. Unfortunately, this decision secured my thermoless fate.

A friend and I embraced our thermoless lives though. Filled with envy, we even planned to create a Facebook group titled ‘Poor b%&stards without a thermomix,’ with the idea of resurrecting our inevitable thermoless lives. Not because we loathed them; but because our salads and cakes now looked like s&*t in comparison. They were putting us to shame with their creamy curries and fluffy banana bread.

As part of our group we planned to create online chat rooms for sympathetic thermoless viewers, as well as a shared recipe page aimed at bettering the machine.  The possibilities were limitless. We could have turned our thermo lacking life into a golden empire.

That is, until she abandoned me. When a box turned up under her Christmas tree last year, and as her text messages diminished in number with her reluctance to deliver the dreaded news, I knew she had been possessed by the thermomix demons while I was left to stir my casserole into arthritic oblivion. I always dreaded that call (although happy for her), but knew it was only a matter of time before she left me for 21st century button cooking. Her husband had succumbed to societal pressure, while mine still bore a 1980’s prepaid Nokia. Hope was dim.

After some time, a kind friend took pity on my seclusion – not to mention my culinary skills (or lack thereof) – and donated her precious machine to my thermoless plight for two months with the aim of impressing my husband. As a social media hater, owner of an ancient nokia brick and a strong ‘this generation can’t think for themselves’ believer, this machine was going to have to do its own grocery shopping to impress this prehistoric being.

It didn’t help that right as I came into possession of this wondrous machine, it coincided with a spate of thermomix burning accidents in the media. It was a tiny proportion of people, and we are more likely to get ran over by a car, but he repeatedly boasted, ‘I told you so,’ as if he had foretold the thermomix evil for three generations.

However, after a few weeks of fluffy ice cream, desserts, cakes, creamy mashed potatoes, meat that melts in your mouth, restaurant quality curries and a fully stocked fridge (all at the click of a few buttons), he did subtlety mention several times, ‘when do we have to give this thing back?’

The day we had to return the precious machine to its owner was a day of mourning in our household. The reality set in the next day when I had to return to the stove top and chopping board. And for some reason my authentic curries didn’t quite taste the same. The screaming amplified as I slaved over the kitchen bench. The house was messy. The kids needed a bath. The dishes multiplied. There was dry-retching and ‘I hate this,’ rang strong at the dinner table. I thought to myself, ‘what is this wretched life?’

It was an intelligent move on my friend’s behalf. Comparable to driving a Ferrari and suddenly being downgraded to a VN commodore; it was hard to stomach. I may be married to the leader of ‘The Thermomix Resistance,’ but I am sure my friend’s gesture has put me one step closer to sharing the thermo love.

However, life goes on. While my dreams are dominated by mouth-watering thermomix goodies, my Facebook and Instagram feeds are taken over by short-lived thermomix groups that I am now forced to boycott, and I am pretty much the only non-thermomix owner in Swan Hill who could run a thermo demonstration, I still remain optimistic. By the time I get my hands on one I am sure it will have a remote control, timer and it may even go to the supermarket for me.

And for all you fellow thermomix hopefuls out there- never surrender. I can remember when both my mum and mother-in-law were leaders of the ‘wash your own dishes’ campaign, yet both are now passionate dishwasher advocates. Anything is possible.

Days of the thermoless life are numbered, and just as we question how we lived without a washing machine, we will soon be saying, ‘remember the days when we had to actually cook our own food.’ As the saying goes, ‘we don’t miss what we never had,’ but damn it makes life easier.

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