The Product: Magic Bullet
The Price: $50 in stores; Online two for $99.99 plus $39.98 shipping and handling
The Claims: Does any job in 10 seconds ... or less
Buy-O-Meter Rating: 3.5 out of 5

The Magic Bullet is a pint-sized blender-chopper-frother that claims to do any kitchen job in "10 seconds ... or less."

A boast like that just invites trouble, doubt, ridicule ... frustration.

magic bulletThe silver mini-appliance features a 6-1/2-inch base, two blades, and several plastic cups -- small cup, big cup and many cups with handles.

Fill an aforementioned cup with ingredients, affix a blade, and then pop it into the base. Pulse or lock on -- your choice. Actually, the Magic Bullet sometimes locks on when you'd rather pulse, turning salsa into soup.

After my tests, here's the lowdown on the bullet.

Does Very Well: Grinds coffee beans, froths milk for cappuccino, chops garlic, mixes smoothies and power drinks.

Does Not So Well: Chops onions, dices tomatoes, whips cream (more creamed than whipped), and makes a lot of anything.

Does OK, But In More Than 10 Seconds: Prepares hummus (unless you like crunchy hummus), combines leafy, cheesy, nutty sauces (like pesto).

Combining solid ingredients in the Magic Bullet requires a lot of shaking and tapping. You don't see those aerobics on the product's infomercial, although its cookbook schools you on the "shake" "shakin' pulse" and "tap" techniques -- nice names for smacking the thing around to dislodge carrot pieces or force basil off the sides of cups.

The Magic Bullet costs about $50 in stores -- THE PLACE TO BUY IT! -- and a whole lot more than online, with pricey shipping and handling. And online you'll get an extra machine and a few more attachments, like a juicer you probably won't use.

Bottom line on the Magic Bullet?

Buy the Magic Bullet if you want to blend a packet of instant breakfast each morning, or make a single serving of broccoli soup for dinner.

But if you invite friends for supper, or have only eight seconds to prepare a sauce, then pick some greater magic, like your old food processor or trusty blender.

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