Something We Do Without: Electric Cooking Appliances

This month, I will be posting each week about “Something We Do Without” and “Something We Keep.” This will allow me to show you what items have no place in our minimalist lifestyle and which items we find indispensable. I have already posted about three items we do without: a dishwasher, a television and a microwave. Today I will tell you a little more about our kitchen.

When we first got married, we had a very well-stocked kitchen. In included an electric can opener, a toaster with inserts so it could actually cook entire sandwiches, a pizza cooker, a deep fryer, a coffee maker with a timer, two slow cookers, an ice cream maker, a toaster oven, an electric coffee grinder, two popcorn poppers, two electric mixers, a blender, and a smoothie maker.

Now we have none of that.

Let me explain each item’s demise, and how we still eat wonderful meals without it:

Electric Can Opener: OK, do they ever actually work? I’ve never seen one that didn’t sometimes chew things up, rather than doing its job. We always had cheap manual openers, which failed about as well as the electric. Then my friend got us a Good Cook brand manual opener that does the trick perfectly every time, with no rough edges on the cans. AND, it doesn’t use fossil fuels to do it! We’ve had this can opener for over 6 years, and it still works as well as it did when it was new.

Toaster: Well, the sandwich toaster was always having cheese and butter dripping down into it, so it became a fire hazard. Then, we decided we really didn’t need an appliance specifically for the purpose of burning bread. When we want to eat toast, we fry it up in butter, in our skillet. It tastes infinitely better that way. Trust me.

Pizza Cooker: Really? Putting pizza dough in a pan and cooking it in the oven or on the grill really isn’t that big of a deal. We always thought this was frivolous, anyway. We only owned it because our power wasn’t hooked up, we wanted to eat, and it was at the Salvation Army store, waiting for us. So it served its purpose.

Deep Fryer: Well, we put the plastic lid on it while it was frying, and the lid melted into the fryer. So that was that. We didn’t replace it, because, the few times we actually deep fry something, a saucepan full of fat suffices.

Coffee Maker: We love coffee. We really love coffee. We’ve got coffee making down to a science, actually. And we’ve been through our share of electric coffee makers. The fancy ones with the timers don’t last long. The electronics always seem to get fried. We had a wonderful DeLongi that didn’t make it a year. We thought it was defective and called the company, but there was nothing wrong with it. Our Cuisinart only made it a few months as well. We liked our Bunn, but we didn’t like the fact that it was always drawing electricity. The cheap Proctor-Silox machines last, but the coffee didn’t taste as good. Finally, we switched to the French press and a tea kettle, and they have never let us down.

Slow Cookers: Slow cookers are wonderful. I think you probably should only have one, but I won’t fault you for keeping it. They use very little energy and make cooking much simpler. We just found that we preferred cooking on the stove or grill, and that we didn’t use ours much. When we want to slow cook, we use the cast iron saucepan over low heat. It does the same thing.

Ice Cream Maker: If you make ice cream as a hobby, go for it! However, this was a purchased dream that we had. We owned it, and never once made ice cream. We try to limit sweets anyway.

Toaster Oven: We have an oven. So having another one is a bit redundant. It was great for toasting bagels and sandwiches, but it really didn’t justify the cupboard space that this device occupied.

Coffee Grinder: We thought we were sophisticated, grinding our own beans. Except they didn’t taste much different from store-ground. Sometimes it even tasted worse. Why? Because those cheap grinders demolish the beans. For good coffee, you need a burr mill grinder. And those aren’t cheap, if you go electric. Our Spong hand grinder is lovely, and it grinds the beans to perfection.

Popcorn Poppers: The air poppers had to go. Face it, popcorn needs oil. We pop it in butter now, which is way better than air-popped. We do allow ourselves one electric Stir Crazy popper in our house, and it gets used a lot. Popcorn is a low-cal, filling snack. We’re addicted. Maybe someday I’ll master popping corn on the stove.

Electric Mixers: If you make lots of pastries, cookies, and cakes, maybe you need one. I can’t get meringues to fluff without it. But, we don’t bake lots of sweets. And hand mixing has worked just fine for us.

Blender: If you’re really into smoothies, by all means get one! We just don’t blend much.

Smoothie Maker: OK, get the blender. But do you really need a separate blender for making smoothies?

So, there you have it! A little inspiration to help you on your decluttering adventure.

6 thoughts on “Something We Do Without: Electric Cooking Appliances

  1. I had to laugh as I read your post. I moved to an apartment little over a year ago which didn’t have a stove or hookups for one. The apartment was everything else I wanted in the location I wanted and at an unbelievable rent ($400 per month including all utilities) so I went for it. To cook I own a rice cooker, and a slow cooker. I do have a small electric pot to heat water for tea and a blender I use for my smoothies. I got rid of everything else. I hate electric can openers and have had the same manual one for more than 10 years.

    One year I received a smoothie maker as a gift. Since i make my own smoothies from nothing but bananas and other fruits it did not work at all and I resorted back to the blender (which was inherited from my grandmother and made from real steel). I pass the smoothie maker to someone who wanted it for making margaritas or some other drink.

    • I would love to see the recipes you made with those appliances. I bet you were able to make some very creative dishes, without even having a stove!

  2. I only own a blender and electric kettle. I use both almost everyday. And there’s nothing like a manual can opener! I’m using my sister’s toaster while I stay with her. I’m kind of overdosing on toast. When I live on my own, I normally don’t even buy bread. I figure I’ll take advantage of it for now…though I like your skillet idea!

    • LOL, you’re one of the few minamilists I know who has not “confessed their sins”. . It’s funny that we’re all ashamed of not being this monk-ish ideal (that we don’t actually want to be). It’s Lagom. You eat toast! My husband has a moped collection! It’s all good!

  3. Between you and me (ha!), I’m NOT a minimalist when it comes to eating…and unrestricted cable. I kind of confessed to those already though. Defo not a minimalist when it comes to sleeping and reading. Oh and I like to hoard money – blahahaha!

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