March 21, 2012

Broke :(

I am so bummed. All that talk about the long road to energy self-sufficiency, and my favorite non-electric gadget broke.

French coffee press
In case you aren't familiar with this, it's a French press coffee maker. Add coffee and hot water, let steep, and the fine mesh screen filters all the grounds out. It makes the best coffee ever! I got this one way back when we were doing Y2K preparedness and we love it. As long as the kettle is on one of the wood stoves, coffee (or tea, loose variety) is available in a matter of minutes.

I also have a stovetop percolator somewhere. Like so many other kitchen items, it's in a box who knows where at the moment. (But don't get me started on that. I'm getting increasingly frustrated with not having  places to put things due to our kitchen remodel.) I'll probably only use the percolator with the wood cookstove however, because it takes too long to boil water on the soapstone wood heater, and somehow, it seems using the electric range wouldn't be more energy efficient than the electric coffee maker.

Unfortunately my Superman (who can do anything, just look at all our remodeling posts) says he can't fix it, so this is one item I'll definitely replace.

So what's your favorite nonelectric gadget?


  1. What part broke on it? If it is any part of the plunger thingie, my hubby as a source for those parts.

  2. We went without our coffee press for months when I broke the glass part! And I was too darned cheap to buy another one (at $25+ !!) so poor DH had to filter his coffee through filters fitted on top of the Pyrex measuring cup with a rubber band! I finally broke down and got two on ebay (for like $25) then just a week later found them at TJMaxx for like $8...I bought two MORE!

    Don't torture yourself like I did....splurge and get yourself another one! Ration the goat's feed by a 1/2 cup everyday for a month or so to make up for the cost!! :) Just kidding (or maybe not!)

  3. I see those for sale at thrift stores for a couple dollars, I don't think people even know what they are. Your model looks like a real nice one as most seem to be just metal and glass.

  4. I love my coffee press too! The God broke it one day while claiming to wash dishes, and I kept using it cracked with no lip until I replaced it.

  5. What sad news. I'm currently waiting on my coffee now. :(

    I hope you're able to get your coffee going again. I keep wanting a percolator for camping, but I'm too cheap to buy one...I just make the coffee at home, add my cream & sugar then chill it. Then at the camp site I heat it over the camp stove or fire.

    My favorite non-electric gadget would have to be my cheaper mandolin. I bought it years ago for about $10 it is almost entirely plastic and works great! In fact I cut my wrist on it just two weeks ago. My mom got me a "better" one but the blade attachment is in the middle of the blade...causing the food to get caught. :p and the thickness adjustment is terrible. Gemme the cheap one. :D

  6. Mama Pea, the screen thingy came apart. It was glued together but it looks like some of the pins broke off as well, because we can't get the 3 layers to fit back together. Actually, I'm not so sure I want to be using something with glue anyway. Who knows how that breaks down chemically, in near boiling water!

    Carolyn, LOL, I hear you!

    Sunnybrook Farm, ooo, I would love to find one at a thrift store. I think you're right about folks not knowing what they are. Mine was a nonbreakable camping model, so I wonder if I can find one in glass and stainless steel(?) Not too keen on plastic and glue, since they can likely break down and impart who knows what.

    Serenity, LOL. I'd hang in there with this one too, except it's the screen thingy that fell apart.

    Renee, I need one of those mandolin slicers. Used to be you "got what you paid for." Nowadays, it seems even the high priced stuff is cheaply made. Pity, isn't it?

  7. We use a coffee press to and love it. A funny story, a friend came to visit and we gave her coffee from the press. She said normally coffee doesn't affect her too much, but she was up all night after drinking our coffee. Either the press extracts more caffeine or we like our coffee STRONG! My favorite non-electric item is probably my solar oven, even though I'm not a pro at using it yet and I haven't used it as much as I would like. I did use it today to heat up lunch.

  8. I love my coffee press but I really like my (of all things) can opener. So many people think they need an electric one but I just use my Good Grips hand held one and then put it in the drawer out of sight (which is why I like it) when I am done.

  9. Leigh, that's too bad! That was one of my favorite items, too, and then something happened to the wire mesh and then the puppy got ahold of it... And I, like some of your other posters, am too cheap to buy another. You would think they would be less expensive for not having electronic parts!

    Carolyn - that's hilarious! I can picture it. And I've strained my coffee by hand before lol.


  10. The clothesline. Since we've moved back to the city, its the one thing I miss most.

    Sorry to hear about your broken french press. I love mine, too. Hope you got a cup of coffee this morning.

  11. Sorry about your French press. No fun when faves break.

    My favorite nonelectric gadget has nothing to do with the kitchen. It's my spinning wheel (or my Golding spindle if I'm on the road). Helps keep me passing for sane.

  12. So Sorry!

    I have two nonelectric items that I couldn't live without and they aren't in the kitchen 1) my shovel and 2)my Bible!

  13. Candace, that is funny. I wonder if it's because coffee makers don't really use water hot enough, nor allow it to steep long enough. And speaking of solar ovens, I'm planning to take my first steps in that direction soon too.

    Sista, oh yes about the can opener! My can opener is actually a P-38 from Dan's military days! The most amazing part of it is that I haven't lost it yet. :o

    Beth, cost is always a deterrent for me too. Still, it's so handy, I'm sure I save at least as much as it costs in electricity! (Which gives you an idea of how much coffee we drink. ;)

    Kristi, another good one. I love my clothesline too.

    Sue, oh yes! A spinning wheel counts! 5 stars on that one!

    Clint, another 5 stars! Though I'd consider my Bible more of an instruction manual than a gadget. :)

  14. Our French press sits unused in a cupboard. Our coffee grinder grinds unevenly, mainly too fine and we can rarely find coarse grind coffee in the shops.
    Non-electric gadgets - spinning wheels, looms, wire wisk.. I love the clothes line and my indoor clothes drying rack. I adore the treadle sewing machine.. it's fun to use and functional.

  15. I love me a manual appliance. I dont know how to choose just one. Of course my two hands are the most used:) But if I had to pick just one it would be my hand crank mixer. It just works so effortlessly. I think my Husband would vote the ice cream maker. That man loves manual ice cream makers for some reason.

  16. If your whole unit is plastic (unbreakable, you said) I would absolutely opt for spending what you have to to get a glass and stainless steel one. Especially for something that has boiling water poured into it . . . I just wouldn't feel good about whatever might be emitting from that plastic!

  17. I don't really have many non-electric gadgets. Though we are trying to acquire them. My hubby has a few non-electric drills. I have a meat grinder that is non-electric. I've never use it, but am going to try my hand at some sausage.


  18. Nina, you already know I'm envious of your foot treadle sewing machine! I have a hand coffee grinder too, which actually grinds pretty well. The electric one I use to make powders, mostly for medicinal purposes.

    Jane, your hand crank mixer is tops! And I'll definitely have to add an ice creamer maker to our wish list. With all our goat milk, ice cream is a no brainer!

    Mama Pea, that's the conclusion I came to.

    Sandi, I have a meat grinder too! And like you, I've never used it yet. :) Homemade sausage sounds fantastic.

  19. I just got a French Press and agree, it makes great coffee:) I got mine at Walmart for only $20.

  20. Iwould like to have a french press. I do have a hand crank meat grinder, I have used it to grind peanut butter, just run it thru using smaller plates each time, the peanut butter will be grainy but it is so good.

  21. My Pampered Chef food chopper!

  22. My hand crank apple peeler, my cheese grater, my can opener, my Squeezo strainer and my clothesline are all my favorites. I can't choose just one.

  23. I googled a mandolin slicer and I found the exact one that I have and love unfortunately I can't find a larger image of it, but this is it. The cons for it are that there isn't much in the adjustment of slice just 3 thicknesses to choose from. But for most everything that I need it for these 3 are good. If I want a different thickness I'll either use the pain in the rear one or cut it by hand. ;o) And I love the julianne blades...I used the super fine one to puree some celery the other night for soup.

  24. Leigh,
    My favorite item is also a coffee maker! It's vary old and I got it from a collector.
    It's a vacume pot! It has a heating coil of it's own, but can be used on any stove and even a camp fire. I have been thinking of doing a post on it and taking pictures of it.
    Maybe soon!

  25. Stephanie, at Walmart, eh? I should check there!

    T, what a great idea, to use a meat grinder for making peanut butter. I have two meat grinders. One was my grandmother's, the other I bought at an estate sale. I need to check the plates on both.

    Michelle, I need to add that to my list too!

    Jen, I agree, it is hard to pick only one, LOL. I would love to have a Squeezo! I keep hoping one will show up at a local thrift store one of these days. :)

    Renee, thank you! Sunbeam is a fairly common brand so maybe I can find one somewhere around here! If not, that's a very good price.

    Tom, please do a post! I would love to see it. Seems like my mom or somebody used to have one of those. I'd love some photos of yours.

  26. I agree with sista - I also ADORE my hand-crank can opener. I also like my little zester which doubles as a fine cheese grater. Sorry about the press!

  27. my knives i bought in Arthur illinois at an Amish Grocery store. They are lethal looking but the best I have ever owned.

  28. How sad! We (my wife especially) love our coffee presses but we can't seem to keep them around very long and I think it's time to buy one with a plastic carafe instead of glass! I broke her original press from college last year, then she broke the replacement last month. We've gone through every method of making coffee since we've been maker, espresso maker, stovetop espresso, stovetop percolater....but the coffee press does really seem to be the easiest, fastest, and easiest to clean up.

  29. Hmmm...That's a tough one. What's MY favorite non-electric gadget?

    That would be SM of course! @:>

  30. Favorite non electric gadget....That's easy, a bottle opener!

  31. My favourite non-electric gadget? Right now, it's gotta be my spinning wheel.

  32. Jessica, I never thought of using a zester as a cheese grater. Thanks for the idea!

    Donna, a good set of knives is priceless.

    John, how funny. I'm thinking of switching to glass. But the point about breakage is well taken.

    Tami, LOL. That one's irreplaceable too. :)

    Theresa, interesting. Not many folks seem to use those any more!

    Natalie, you're in good company with that one. :)

  33. My favorite non-electric gadgets are a hammer, a pair of pliers and some wire. You can either fix about anything with these things or destroy it when frustration goes beyond any control what-so-ever.

  34. It had a long and useful life by the sounds of it...

    We have quite a decent one of these purchased from Starbucks about five years ago. It's way better than the cheap Ikea one I had before that.

  35. Well, would you believe it, I found a coffee press today at a consignment shop for a dollar. It is a Tupperware Moments, It looks like it has never been used, until tonight anyway. Coffee is wonderful, I am now going to have to find the best bean around and go back to being the local coffee snob again, Thanks T

  36. John,LOL! At least you didn't say duct tape ;) It's true though, basic tools can do a lot.

    Tanya, I never thought about Starbucks. Of course, I never go to Starbucks. :)

    T, good find! I didn't know tupperware made them. It does make the best coffee, doesn't it?

  37. my P-38. I have a teeny one on my key chain and a larger one in the kitchen.
    Sorry about your coffee pot. :-(

  38. Bonnie, good to hear from you! I only have the teeny one (Dan's). Didn't know they made bigger ones!


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