People. Have you ever heard of this thing, the Bimby?
My first encounter with the Bimby was about four years ago, at a friend’s house in the north of Italy (Biella). It was this little, unsuspecting, utilitarian blender-looking gadget taking up minimal counter space in the kitchen. Little did I know that it “fa tutto” that is, “does everything.”
The Bimby, an appliance of German origin, seems to be a gadget that’s popular with northern Italian households. I haven’t ever seen one in a Roman house. That is, until one recently turned up on the kitchen counter at the house of two of our best friends here in Rome, who just had a baby a few months ago. Both of our friends come from towns in the north of Italy, though, so that might have a little something to do with the Bimby’s appearance.
Our friends had purchased the Bimby in order to make baby food. But we inaugurated it at their house with an incredible pineapple sorbet. Apparently, the only things the Bimby cannot do are fry food and iron clothes. Other than that, it can make everything from mayonnaise to juice, yogurt to bread, cakes, and pies, soup to cocktails, mashed potatoes to pie crust, pork roast to risotto, broth cubes to marmellade. And the best part of all? It requires the kitchen finesse of a chimpanzee. You just dump in the measured amounts of ingredients according to the Bimby
Bible Cookbook, push some buttons, and whiz bang, it’s ready. Love.
So, needless to say, I want. Yes, wanting is one thing, but having is quite another. These gadgets are distributed in that nebulous category occupied by vaccuum-cleaner salespeople and Amway representatives. You have to know someone, have a home demonstration, and it costs a pretty centesimo. To the tune of like €900 *I think* although I haven’t been able to pin anyone down on the exact price new. Yikes, people. That’s steep. Even eBay might not save you.
Outside of Italy, this device is also known as the Vorwerk Thermomix. This article talks about “Europe’s do-it-all appliance” and how the ex-chef director of distribution in Spain calls it a “magic pot” and claims that they sell one every five minutes. One Spanish chef quoted in the article has six of these doo-dads in his restaurant kitchen.
Here I’ll show you how it made us some really delish pineapple sorbet.
This is the inside of the Bimby. It doesn’t look like much, I know. The first step in the pineapple sorbet recipe was to make powdered sugar. So, we added regular granulated sugar, pushed the required buttons and programmed the required amount of time on the control panel…
…and the next thing we knew, poof! We had real, honest-to-goodness powdered sugar.
Next, we added some chunks of frozen pineapple, some lemon juice, and again programmed the buttons/time. It’s kind of fun, like a science experiment. Before long, we had a delicious sorbet:
The idea that I could make an entire meal, from aperitivo to appetizer to first, second, side dishes and dessert, with just this one little machine? Well folks, it just boggles the mind. If the stuff that came out of it was crap, that would be one thing … but it’s not. It’s really good. Look at the sheer quantity of things you can create with this list of Italian recipes.
Do any of you have one of these or have you ever seen one? If you have one, I’m jealous. If you decide to sell it, let me know!