i think a lot of people connect sustainability with a degree of luddism - that it means you have to do things the old fashioned way, by hand, without the assistance of machines or technology. i'm not sure if our notions of that came from the laura ingalls wilder books (where they admittedly had no choice) or the amish or from the do-everything-the-hard-way ethic that tom and barbara displayed in the good life.
well, i don't subscribe to that view. the reality of modern life is that it very often takes two incomes to run a home and that means that there's no one at home to cook or bake bread or generally slave away all day in the kitchen. we need to feed our families wholesome, fresh food, but there's no reason not to take all the help you can get in the form of kitchen appliances.
i make bread 2-3 times a week and it's largely because my kitchen-aid mixer does all of the work for me. i can throw in yeast, flour, a dab of honey, a glug of olive oil, some salt and flour and it will mix me up a pizza crust while i grate the cheese and slice the tomatoes and pepperoni. because it allows me to save the time i would have spent kneading the dough and use it for other preparation, we can pretty much have a homemade pizza in the same time it would take to run down to the local pizza place and get one. and i can tell you, i'd much rather have the homemade one.
my food processor is another kitchen appliance i wouldn't want to do without. i might not use it every day, but i use it pretty much every other day - it mixes up a pie crust for a quiche while i sauté up the leeks. in fact, i was reminded of how easy it is yesterday, because i forgot to buy a ready-made tart crust when i went to the store (i'll admit i do that too, to save time). instead, i threw the ingredients for beth's wonderful crust into my food processor and ended up with a crust 10x better than the store-bought kind, with very little effort on my part. i don't think i'll be buying those ready-made crusts anymore.
and right now, in my mixer bowl and in my oven, a batch of amy's gooey, delicious chocolate chip cookies. so i say, embrace your kitchen appliances and cook your way to a more sustainable life. no need to suffer while doing it.