cooking conveniences

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.


Elizabeth said...

You are totally right. We want a future and not to re-live a past which only existed in books.

will said...

For a moment I was worried you had chosen the Luddite path! BTW, the Amish use modern electrical tools ... They just don't use electricity from lines connected to coal or hydro powered sources. They make their own power.

Sustainability in the modern world is not always about butchering animals or giant gardens. Returning to 1860 works for a few but the vast majority of us live in apartments and houses.

One new trend is living in homes of less than 1000 sq. ft. One doesn't become a collector of stuff when there's limited space. Another growing business is using recycled materials when building houses.

A small thing we do is seeing how little goes into garbage cans and recycle buckets for the weekly pick-up. The trick is zero garbage and almost no recycle trash. That's the difficult one. Commercially made containers are mostly made for recycling.

Roberta Warshaw said...

When I was homesteading I used to buy 50 pound sacks of wheat berries, and grind them in a Corona Hand Mill. I was certainly very strong. We had no electricity so it was the only option.

Now I buy my flour from the store but I still knead it by hand. I love the feel of the dough as it changes into an elastic-y ball.

Lost Star said...

Lovely post. I want your kitchen aid so much! Today Pip and I baked our own bread, and I am in the process right now of raising some Chelsea Buns to have for the lunch box treat tomorrow.

I love to knead dough myself (which is good as we can't find the dough hook) although I did manage to accidentally punch the counter rather than the dough just now...

We always have a loaf of bread in the freezer but I think more and more we will make our own bread and not be scared by it! Hopefully the more we make it the quicker it will get too!