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Vita-Mix Blenders & Mixers


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135 replies to this topic

#1 Lucylu

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Posted 31 October 2004 - 10:55 PM

I've been obsessing over whether to buy a Vita Mix with the wet blade container. The 4500 model has a high and low speed knob, the 5000 has a variable speed. If you own one, do you really use it often enough to rationalize the expense, or is it collecting dust on your counter? Is there a good reason to buy the variable speed model, which is around $400, or the less expesive 4500, which occassionally shows up at Cosco for around $250 I think.

#2 andiesenji

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Posted 31 October 2004 - 11:23 PM

I use my 5000 with the variable speed several times a week, sometimes several times a day. I often use it to make creamed/pureed soups in small batches as it cooks them as well as pureeing.
However I use it most for making condiments, grinding mustard mixtures.
This one is the third Vita-Mix I have owned. I still have my old commercial model with the stainless steel vessel.
I got the newer one because it had a larger capacity and also had the extra vessel for grinding grains.
"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett
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#3 JerzyMade

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Posted 31 October 2004 - 11:26 PM

If you do need a blender, this is one of the best you can buy. If you don't need a blender, it'll sit on your counter. So only you can answer that question.

As for variable speed, I think that it doesn't matter much if you're going to fill it to at least 1/3 of the volume, but for really small amounts it's easier to get everything rolling nicely if you can control the speed.

It's pricey, but it'll last a life time of home use.
The difference between theory and practice is much smaller in theory than it is in practice.

#4 Malawry

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Posted 01 November 2004 - 05:02 AM

I covet one of these seriously. I've burned through a lot of lesser models at work.

#5 deltadoc

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Posted 01 November 2004 - 05:57 AM

I've had my stainless steel Vita-Mix since 1964.

However, heed another thread on this where Kuan said they bought a bunch of the new plastic Vita Mixers and they were perceived as not very good. I don't know anything except this old one I have is indispensable.

I use it to make ice cream, grind whole wheat berries and make whole wheat dough, and for pureeing most anything I want.

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#6 Lucylu

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Posted 01 November 2004 - 08:49 AM

Is foam created when processing liquids? This would be a problem with soups.

#7 Rachel Perlow

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Posted 18 February 2005 - 03:49 PM

I saw a demo of the Vita-Mix 5000 today at the NJ Home Expo. Really really cool product. First, the guy made peanut butter and smoothies (he called it juice, but it was like a thin smoothie (grapes, orange, pineapple, banana, strawberry)). Sure, any blender can do that, but the strawberry seeds were emulsified into the smoothie. I asked about raspberry seeds and he said they get ground up too -- I know when I make smoothies with a regular blender (which recently died, btw) the seeds end up at the bottom of the glass.

Then he proceded to make soup -- a delicious tortilla soup. Hot water, a carrot, a tomato, some cabbage, celery on high until the soup was steaming hot, oh and a chunk of cheese. Then he lowered the speed to mix in some seasonings, corn and black beans -- stuff he didn't want to puree -- and finally some tortilla chips.

Dessert was fruit sorbet (like a thick smoothie or soft serve) with frozen and fresh fruits and ice and vanilla ice cream. The presenter used a gimmick of putting both raw cabbage and carrots in both and asked if you could taste them, you really can't. He suggested it as a way to sneak some extra veggies to your kids.

My mom and I both noticed how well it poured, most blender canisters dribble, I've found. I like how you don't have to disassemble it to clean it.

OK, fine, I splurged. Well I didn't splurge, thanks for the anniversary present, Mom!

So guys, tell me what else to with my new wonder appliance? It should arrive in a week or so.

#8 Jason Perlow

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Posted 18 February 2005 - 04:06 PM

$500 for a freaking blender? That must be some blender.
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#9 NulloModo

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Posted 18 February 2005 - 05:23 PM

I am also confused what this does that other blenders don't. I picked up a Betty Crocker brand stainless steel blender at Home Depot a couple years ago for $40, maybe less. The thing has blended anything I have thrown at it with no hesitation.
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#10 chefgy

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Posted 18 February 2005 - 06:27 PM

I saw a demonstration for a vita-mixer at the local Costco, looked pretty cool, they made a delicious totilla soup and said that it could boil room temperature water in two minutes just using the heat given off by the motor- I this pretty much assumed that was a blatant lie, can anyone comfirm?

#11 JerzyMade

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Posted 18 February 2005 - 06:36 PM

I saw a demonstration for a vita-mixer at the local Costco, looked pretty cool, they made a delicious totilla soup and said that it could boil room temperature water in two minutes just using the heat given off by the motor- I this pretty much assumed that was a blatant lie, can anyone comfirm?

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I haven't actually how long it takes to boil water, but it'll do it.

The toughest job I've thrown at mine was poppy seed. It was blitzed into a smooth paste, and I doubt many blenders would survive that test.
The difference between theory and practice is much smaller in theory than it is in practice.

#12 andiesenji

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Posted 18 February 2005 - 07:28 PM

I have had Vita-Mix blenders for many years and use them all the time.

The "newer" one is 8 years old and I got it because it has a second "dry" container for grinding grain for bread baking. I had a hand-cranked mill at the time but was really unhappy with the resulting "flour" and the Vita Mix did a great job. If someone wants to see the video that comes with the V-M, I think I have an extra one.
Of course I have since gotten a regular grain mill with a larger capacity, but I make soups with the V-M all the time.
Cream soups are a cinch and, as I have mentioned before, you don't have to worry about scorching which makes the entire batch taste awful.

I especially love carrot/ginger/sorrel soup made in the V-M.
Chicken stock add carrots, ginger, sorrel, adjust amounts until it tastes right, add cream or milk, set for the recommended time and let it go until steam is coming out of the vented top.
Pour into mugs and serve immediately.
Pumpkin soup is also fantastic made in the V-M.

Ditto corn soup, I make the soup, then when it is done, add some cooked and drained black beans, chopped cilantro and scallions. Fantastic, especially if the corn is freshly cut from the cob.

Edited by andiesenji, 18 February 2005 - 07:28 PM.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett
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#13 daves

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Posted 18 February 2005 - 08:42 PM

I am also confused what this does that other blenders don't.  I picked up a Betty Crocker brand stainless steel blender at Home Depot a couple years ago for $40, maybe less.  The thing has blended anything I have thrown at it with no hesitation.

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It does do something other blenders don't do: work really really well. Think of it this way: all knives cut (well, that may be stretching it for some, but you get the idea). Most everyone here appreciates using a sharp well-balanced knife that can hold an edge. Unfortunately, those knives typically cost more, but some are willing to pay for it.

That's the Vitamix. It'll last for years. The food service model has a 3 year warranty; the home one is 7 or 10 years (I think they recently upped it). That's 3 years in a restaurant kitchen of it being used potentially all day long. And it has power to spare: up to 37000 (37 thousand!) RPM at the high speed setting.

As to how it works: I've never seen something that blended so well and so completely. Our old kitchenaid gave up the ghost, and we wanted to get something that'll last. Plus we hated the KA since it really couldn't completely puree soups etc in it. So I heard of the Vitamix, found a local restaurant supply shop that carried the food service model, and went to have a look. Sounded too good to be true, but I made an arrangement with the owner to try it out.

That night, we made a veggie tomato soup with roasted tomatoes and leeks. When put through the blender (for about 10 seconds), it was velvety smooth. You could not pick out any non-pureed solids. The store owner will not be getting it back.

Besides how can you resist the text on the front of the food service unit: the power tool for the professional chef? :biggrin:

#14 irodguy

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Posted 18 February 2005 - 09:15 PM

The difference between the Vita Mix and normal blenders is basically the difference between using a shovel and a bulldozer.

They simply are much higher horsepower than regular blenders and have metal gears were normal blenders have gone to plastics in many cases.

Now that being said I saw another commerical blender demo at Sams that looked like it would give my old Vita Mix a run for the money. It was about $250 with a "life-time" warranty. I don't remember the brand name..
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#15 Rachel Perlow

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Posted 19 February 2005 - 09:35 AM

I saw a demonstration for a vita-mixer at the local Costco, ... they ... said that it could boil room temperature water in two minutes just using the heat given off by the motor- I this pretty much assumed that was a blatant lie, can anyone comfirm?

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It's not from the heat of the motor, it's from the friction of the water movement due to the incredibly high RPMs.

Now I feel stupid for not getting the extra container with the dry blades for grinding grain and making dough. I've sent the company an email hoping to add it to my order at the show price ($40 off the website price).

More ideas people! Can we keep this an ongoing, "I have a Vita-Mix and here's what I did with it today" thread?

#16 daves

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Posted 20 February 2005 - 10:08 AM

Can we keep this an ongoing, "I have a Vita-Mix and here's what I did with it today" thread?

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Ok I'll bite. This morning my wife made the batter for a "Far Breton" in the Vita Mix. No need for high speed -- she just used it because the recipe called for making the batter in a blender. In fact, high speed would have developed too much gluten and ruined it.

Later today I'll be making an emulsion of lime juice and olive oil for a mojo sauce to go with tonight's dinner: Cuban Grilled Mojo Pork. I intend on using the high speed :rolleyes:

#17 Rachel Perlow

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Posted 20 February 2005 - 06:24 PM

I'm looking forward to using it for Mexican Hot Chocolate. I figure it will not only blend in the chocolate, but heat the milk and froth it up. Has anyone tried it for this?

#18 AmbrosiaFood

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Posted 20 February 2005 - 08:26 PM

I own 2 Vita Mix Commercial 4000 Maxi blenders. They are great.

I wouldn't trade them for a new one or for any other brand blender.

#19 phaelon56

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Posted 20 February 2005 - 08:49 PM

One thing a Vita-Mix will definitely do better than just about any regular blender is crush ice quickly and blend it with other ingredients onto a frozen drink that has the right texture. At home I use a Braun PoerMax that was under $50 and does a great job with froaen drinks both due to motor size and blade type/design but it still doesn't hold a candle to Vita-Mix. The Braun is actually far better than many blenders in the $100 and up price range but it's strictly for home use.

The espresso cafes I work in part time use Blend-Tec commercial blenders with success for frozen coffee drinks but people I've spoken to, particuarly in warmer climates where the blenders get heavy all day use.... all swear by Vita-Mix. They say the blender jars hold up better with heavy use and have bearings that can be unsealed and relubricated for extended life (both manufacturers recommmend against total immersion or dishwashers for cleaning the jar but everyone does it). Blend Tec has sealed bearings - when they're shot, they shot and new jars are pricey.

#20 Rachel Perlow

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Posted 11 March 2005 - 06:13 AM

I'm looking forward to using it for Mexican Hot Chocolate. I figure it will not only blend in the chocolate, but heat the milk and froth it up. Has anyone tried it for this?

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My new toy arrived yesterday and Mexican Hot Chocolate was it's inaugural creation. First we used the lower Variable setting to chop the Mexican chocolate, then added warmed milk and blasted it on high until hot. Makes a very very frothy hot chocolate. Seriously abundant and thick foam!

#21 francois

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Posted 04 April 2005 - 05:22 PM

My new toy arrived yesterday and Mexican Hot Chocolate was it's inaugural creation. First we used the lower Variable setting to chop the Mexican chocolate, then added warmed milk and blasted it on high until hot. Makes a very very frothy hot chocolate. Seriously abundant and thick foam!

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It has been a few weeks now... I am curious, is it worth it? Do you use it ?

I am also very tempted to get one, but the price tag makes me hesitate...

#22 Rachel Perlow

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Posted 05 April 2005 - 10:01 AM

Our favorite use is for smoothies, it makes them very smooth, better and faster than a regular blender. Jason doesn't like the "whole food juice" which he pronounced "too pulpy." Actually, these are very similar to a smoothie, but not as thick or frozen. I've also made the more frozen "sorbets" with it, they're good -- but you need to follow a recipe because the rapidity of the blend makes for a melting product if you have to taste and experiment. When it gets warm, I'll make some Moo-latte-like coffee drinks with it.

I've ground grain it it and made bread dough. I like the pure whole wheat bread recipe that comes with it, but it is little heavy for sandwhiches. Freezing the grain helps keep it from getting overheated when grinding. I've also ground some grain for use in breads where the dough is handmade or I've used the breadmaker or stand mixer -- when I wasn't going for all whole grain.

I made a tomato sauce in it, but it turned out way too smooth and oddly colored orange. Like when you blend fresh tomatoes in a blender. But this was canned tomatoes, so it seemed weird to me. I tried cooking it further in a pot, but it stayed orange.

It is excellent for making bechamel/cheese sauces. Heat the milk in the microwave for a head start (or not), blend with the flour for a couple minutes -- you can hear the difference when it starts to thicken. Add some butter, S&P, and cheese and blend some more. Perfect perfect cheese sauce without having to pre-grate the cheese. No lumps, no standing over a pot stirring or whisking to keep it smooth and from burning on the bottom. This would extend to a section of the VitaMix cookbook I haven't gotten to yet -- fondues (both sweet and savory). I'm sure I'll make one of those for company at some point.

I try to use it every day or so, but I probably wouldn't have spent the money on it if it weren't a gift. What are some foods you would like to use it to make? Maybe I can help you figure out if it is worth it to you.

#23 jsolomon

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Posted 05 April 2005 - 10:46 AM

One of my grandmothers used hers to puree pretty much anything for baby food. Heck, I'm pretty sure you could make a reasonable soup out of an unboned chicken, stock, and all with one of those suckers.

It's not that they are the cadillac of blenders. They're kinda loud and homely. But, they are the Caterpillar D-10 bulldozer of blenders.

Also, crabapple sauce... cored crabapples, and sugar, then water pack in mason jars. That's good stuff!
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#24 andiesenji

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Posted 05 April 2005 - 12:00 PM

As I mentioned earlier in this thread, or I think I did, there was an earlier thread also....
I love the VM for making and cooking cream soups.
When several things are being prepared at the same time I often would forget to stir a cream soup and just a tiny bit of scorching ruins the entire batch, that vulcanized taste permeates instantly.
Cooking them in the VM solves the problem and produces a wonderful creamy soup that is just perfect.
I have two, one old one and once in a while I will do two soups at the same time, of contrasting colors and pour both in the bowl at the same time. This works beautifully with the VM - something that I never was able to do quite as well with using two ladles.

P.S.
Regarding chicken. I have pureed an entire chicken, bones and all, that had been cooked in the pressure cooker until the bones were soft.
I didn't do it for soup, it was for dog food, but it tasted okay - I tasted it.

Edited by andiesenji, 05 April 2005 - 12:02 PM.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett
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#25 RETREVR

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Posted 05 April 2005 - 05:31 PM

I just passed up a vita mix at auction last week. I kick myself. Could have stole it for 30 to 50 bucks.
I was at the supply house later that day and the owner told me that his cost on the pitcher alone was $90.
It came down to the fact that I don't need a blender.
Could have made a buck though.

#26 Pat W

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Posted 06 April 2005 - 10:24 AM

As I mentioned earlier in this thread, or I think I did, there was an earlier thread also....
I love the VM for making and cooking cream soups. 
When several things are being prepared at the same time I often would forget to stir a cream soup and just a tiny bit of scorching ruins the entire batch, that vulcanized taste permeates instantly. 
Cooking them in the VM solves the problem and produces a wonderful creamy soup that is just perfect.

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Andiesenji, while looking through your messages trying to find one on cream soups, I ran into Mrs. Obregon's dulce de leche recipe. Oh joy! Thank you for posting it. I've already printed out & made multiple backups of her enchilada recipe. Maybe you should start a Mrs. Obregon thread.

Now back to the subject at hand. About 7 or 8 years ago, riddled with guilt over the price, I picked up the phone & boldly ordered a Vita Mix. I've used it just about every day since it came. Every morning I start out with a lovely, creamy smoothie. As someone else mentioned, it makes a killer cup of Mexican chocolate with a head of foam worthy of a pint of Guinness. I have occasionally ground wheat into flour & it does an excellent job. It hadn't occurred to me to make cream soups in it. I hope Andiesenji elaborates a bit more on this.

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#27 andiesenji

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Posted 06 April 2005 - 11:01 AM

As I mentioned earlier in this thread, or I think I did, there was an earlier thread also....
I love the VM for making and cooking cream soups. 
When several things are being prepared at the same time I often would forget to stir a cream soup and just a tiny bit of scorching ruins the entire batch, that vulcanized taste permeates instantly. 
Cooking them in the VM solves the problem and produces a wonderful creamy soup that is just perfect.

View Post


Andiesenji, while looking through your messages trying to find one on cream soups, I ran into Mrs. Obregon's dulce de leche recipe. Oh joy! Thank you for posting it. I've already printed out & made multiple backups of her enchilada recipe. Maybe you should start a Mrs. Obregon thread.

Now back to the subject at hand. About 7 or 8 years ago, riddled with guilt over the price, I picked up the phone & boldly ordered a Vita Mix. I've used it just about every day since it came. Every morning I start out with a lovely, creamy smoothie. As someone else mentioned, it makes a killer cup of Mexican chocolate with a head of foam worthy of a pint of Guinness. I have occasionally ground wheat into flour & it does an excellent job. It hadn't occurred to me to make cream soups in it. I hope Andiesenji elaborates a bit more on this.

Pat

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I don't often use a recipe for making soups, particularly the ones made in the VM.
In speaking of the 2-soup combos which look so pretty in the bowls, I was thinking of the combo of black bean and white bean soup that goes so good with Mexican meals. I just pour it so it is half and half in the bowls. A chef friend used to pour it so it would end up in the yin/yang design. I was never able to achieve that degree of precision.

Another is a combo of carrot/ginger/sorrel soup with avocado soup, these can both be served hot or cold. and the gold/green combination is beautiful.
Another combo I make quite a bit is a roasted red pepper soup combined with spinach soup or broccoli/cheese soup.

Any cream soup can be made in the VM. One does need to saute the aromatics in butter or oil first and do any pre cooking of the vegetables, roasting or steaming (I steam carrots, celery, etc)
and then the cream is gradually added at the very end of the process as the soup is being "cooked" by the blender.
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#28 Pat W

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Posted 06 April 2005 - 11:25 AM

Oooh those sound so good, I fear I'm growing faint from hunger. Thanks very much for the pointers. I'll give it a try.
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#29 sourmango

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Posted 07 April 2005 - 09:48 AM

Well, this thread and my recent discovery of Jamba Juice smoothies is really making me consider purchasing a Vita-Mix. At $5.00/smoothie from JJ, I figure I could recoup the cost of the Vita-Mix by the end of the summer. So..Does anybody have any suggestions on a model?

#30 andiesenji

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Posted 07 April 2005 - 12:04 PM

I have a 30-year-old commercial model
and the newer Super 5000, and bought that because at the time they had a deal so I got the dry container for grinding grains free.
I don't use it much anymore because I now have a grain mill.

I recommend the 5000 over the 4500 turbo because the turbo has only two speeds.
The 5000 is variable speed from very, very slow to vrooooooom.......:biggrin:

Order direct from Vita-Mix here
Unless you can find one on ebay. There have been several in recent months. As long as the seller backs it up, and the price is significantly lower, go for it.

Note that the home models have a 7-year warranty.
You can get a Vita-Prep from J.Hufford that is the commercial version that only has a 3 year warranty. J.Hufford
shipping is free.
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