If you have a slow cooker you want to make smart, the only thing you can really do is plug it into a smart outlet, which will let you turn it on and off remotely. You can’t set it to high or low or set the timer. You’d need to buy a whole new appliance for that. That’s definitely something you don’t want to do for the $1,448 Thermomix, which is why the company released the Cook Key, a little doohickey that you stick into the side of the machine to connect it to the internet.
The Thermomix — a wonder machine that’s a scale, blender, mixer, dicer, and more — comes with a circular chip preloaded with over 150 recipes. These are essential in helping you learn to properly use the versatile appliance. The Cook Key sits where the chip does, but it connects to your Wi-Fi and gives you access to recipes not found on the chip, from all over the world. To get access costs $39 a year, though the first six months are free. New T5 Thermomixes come with the device included. Those who already have the appliance can buy the Cook Key for $99 until July 1, when the price increases to $129. Individual collections are $4 each, or owners can just stick with the basic 150 recipes and find free online recipes from amateur Thermomix enthusiasts. Like the Thermomix itself, you’ll have to order through a company rep, as it’s not sold in stores or online.
Once you get the Cook Key, you go to the Cookidoo site to set up your account. You can browse through recipes individually or as part of a collection, like detox juices or baby food. To add a recipe to the Cook Key, you click the circle with three dots at the upper right corner of the recipe, and a drop-down menu appears. It gives you options such as add to favorites or add to weekly planner. They’re different ways of accessing the recipe once you’re using the Thermomix.
The Cook Key connects to your Wi-Fi, and you’ll have to sync it every time you add new recipes. Once you do, you’ll find your newly added items in the Cloud Favorites list or in the weekly planner, which lets you more easily find whatever you’re planning to make today or tomorrow.
The Thermomix is big throughout Europe, so many of these recipes aren’t in English at the moment. The company is planning to regularly release new recipes, but right now U.S. users will want to head to the U.K. and Australia sites (to do this, go to Help on the Cookidoo site, then change your flag in the upper-right corner) to get more options.
France has 212 collections comprised of 2,533 recipes; the U.K. has 100 collections and 1,287 recipes; Australia has 55 collections but an impressive 1,297 recipes. Meanwhile, the U.S. is lagging behind with 24 collections and 460 recipes. Its “everyday cooking” collection has three different pizza recipes, though, so that’s comforting. Some of the other regions’ collections are really useful, like the U.K.’s “Christmas around the world.” How would I have known to look for Estonian kringle, since I didn’t know it existed until now?
There are ways to get around the language barrier if you want to see what other countries have to offer. I used Google translate to take advantage of France’s Caipirinha recipe. (The word cocktails is apparently the same in both French and English.) It still showed up in French on the Thermomix itself, but at least I was able to see that glaçons means ice cubes via my laptop. It’s not the most elegant solution, so hopefully more recipes get added quickly — especially since the Thermomix temporarily adjusts to metric units when you use a U.K. recipe.
It will be interesting to see if the Cook Key gets more features down the road, too. Right now, if you wanted to make vampire juice (which you likely wouldn’t, because it’s a concoction of oranges, carrots, celery, and beets), you would have to do the conversions myself to take it from six servings to one. It would be great if that could be done automatically. It would give the Cook Key a little more bang for your buck, especially since you’ll need to shell out 34 of them every year if you want it to keep working.
Updated 5/19/2017: Updated to reflect new Thermomixes come with the Cook Key included and with updated pricing information.
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