The three I particularly like and miss, are my Kitchen Aid mixer, my toaster oven, and my bread machine.
|Stock online photo of a|
Kitchen Aid mixer
The problem? The motor. It won't turn the mixing arm. A new mixer would cost $200 - $300, which isn't in the budget at present.
Now, I do have one of these....
.... an old handheld egg beater. And I do use it, but it works best for eggs. Anything thicker binds the beaters. Fortunately Dan found a place to buy Kitchen Aid replacement parts, so perhaps my mixer is one small appliance I won't have to do without.
|My old Breadman Ultimate|
Eventually I found the paddle when I was putting compost on the garden last year. Now that my mixer is kaput, I really need to see if the old Breadman is up to the task of kneading these days. If not, I have my eye on a Panasonic SD-YD250 .
But why get a new bread machine at all? I can still knead by hand after all. True, but what I really like it for is the bake cycle. It takes a whole lot less energy to use, and in the summer especially, it doesn't heat up the kitchen like baking in the big stove. Plus, I can keep it in the summer kitchen so even the little bit of heat it generates stays outside. In the winter, I'll bake bread in my wood cookstove gladly. The disadvantage to a bread machine, is that it makes only one loaf at a time. Fortunately it's no trouble to bake a loaf daily if needed.
|My old Euro-Pro has seen better days|
Mine is about 5 years old and the brand, Euro-Pro, is not one I would buy again nor recommend. It did a fair job, but in accommodating two baking racks, the heating elements are too far from the slices of bread to toast them quickly. After reading endless customer reviews, I'll replace it if I ever can, with the Cuisinart TOB-195 .
The reason I like a toaster oven, is for the same reasons as the bread machine. It's portable so I can move it out of the kitchen in the summer, plus it's more energy efficient than turning on the big oven every time I need to bake a small item for two, or heat up leftovers.
There are a couple of possible alternatives I'd like to try. One is a cob oven. The other is a solar oven. This website (link courtesy of Dani) has loads of excellent DIY solar cooker plans. I've had my eye on the Windshield Shade Solar Funnel Cooker all summer. Unfortunately I haven't been able to find any of those windshield shades. Both a cob and solar oven would have their limitations and wouldn't be for year round use, but would be excellent for outdoor summer cooking. Some day (after the house is done?) Dan hopes to work on a barbeque / smoker / outdoor oven. But as with all things around here, it must await its time.
One small appliance that I do not / will not have, is a microwave oven. They are touted as being time and energy saving, but when our cat Rascal developed feline lymphoma I researched his diet. I learned some things about microwaves that caused me to immediately throw ours out. This is not simply, beware if you have a pacemaker, but what microwaving actually does to the food. Several good articles (if you're interested) are:
- The Hidden Hazards of Microwave Cooking
- Microwave Ovens - convenience vs. nutrition and health
- Is This Common Kitchen Appliance Harming Your Health?
Now that I've started working on my kitchen cabinetry plans, I need to make some decisions. I'm working on where things will go, and have to ask myself, do I want to fix or replace these three items, or learn to do without? I like them all for the reasons I mention, especially the energy savings. Still, if we are on route to becoming self-sufficient and all that this implies, why would I want to replace them at all? If we can ever get off grid, these may no longer be practical, depending upon how much of our own electricity we can generate. Then again, considering how far in the future that probably is, even new appliances will probably have worn out by then!