Living Well with Montel HealthMaster review: Not all it claims to be

The Product: Living Well With Montel HealthMaster Blender
The Price: Online $199.96 plus $29.99 shipping and handing; $199 some retail stores.
The Claims: Replaces 20 kitchen appliances and performs 31 kitchen jobs.
Buy-O-Meter Rating: 2 out of 5

If the Living Well With Montel HealthMaster called itself a super-sized blender that can mix Margaritas for the entire neighborhood, I'd give the 21-inch tall appliance the thumbs up.

But the large and loud machine claims to replace 20 kitchen appliances -- hand mixer, juicer, garlic press, snow cone maker, even the 10-inch cook's knife. That's when this Baby Huey blender loses me.

With a fork, knife and spoon -- and unlimited time -- I could accomplish most kitchen prep jobs. But who's got forever to slice, dice, whip and blend?

Great kitchen tools perform specific and tedious tasks, faster and better than basic utensils. A garlic press is terrific at squeezing garlic, not lemons. An immersion blender purees soup ingredients like a champ, though I wouldn't mash potatoes with it: I'd use a ricer.

The HealthMaster claims to replace those tried-and-true kitchen friends, which it disdains in its over-reaching infomercials.
"... blenders only blend and leave clumpy messes," the pitchman says.

My old Waring blender -- a wedding present -- has been blending my husband's favorite malted milk for 16 years, and without clumpy messes.
"Mixers only combine ingredients and leave even bigger messes," the ad says.

My ancient hand mixer -- the one my mother taught me to make Toll House cookies with -- can whip, beat, mix and stir.
"Juicers just discard the nutrient-rich skin, seeds and pulp."

In fact, my Jack LaLanne juicer gives me the choice of adding pulp after I extract drinkable juice from whole fruit.

The juice I tried to make in the HealthMaster was a fruit and veggie sludge. And the deafening machine, which claims it can smash concrete into powder, never fully pulverized the fruit: I poured half an apple into my glass.

When Tristar Products sent me the HealthMaster to review, I was eager to cook hot vegetable soup in the blender's 2-liter pitcher, as seen on TV.

But after the HealthMaster's blades attacked $15 worth of veggies for eight minutes (per its recipe) -- the noise just about drove me crazy -- all I got was a hot vegetable froth and a big disappointment.

Even though the HealthMaster is the one kitchen appliance I can live without, it does possess some positive features. I particularly like the safety valve that releases steam and keeps hot liquids from exploding when blended. Also, while my Jack LaLanne extracts the best juice from fruit and vegetables at their peak, I can blend over-ripe produce in the HealthMaster to make a healthful drink, though I wouldn't call it juice.

No appliance can be all things to all food.

Instead of trying to muscle my kitchen memories off the counter, the HealthMaster should stick to what it does best -- blend big drinks for crowds of friends -- and make some memories of its own.

Read more of our As Seen on TV product reviews.

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