Monday, November 18, 2013

Traditional Methods vs. Appliances: What goes on in your Kitchen?

In a culture so enamored with gadgets, it’s easy to just assume doing things the old fashioned way is a waste of time. But speed and ease don’t always equal better—especially when it comes to baking and cooking. It’s amazing how often recipes mention using food processors as if owning one is a given. Perhaps some of us still believe in the power of a good, sharp knife and a nicely worn-in chopping board? Could it be that the marginally slower act of chopping manually actually encourages an overall savoring of the experience?

When it comes to kitchen appliances, people can get pretty particular because food and family meals often represent the emotional center of a home and household gadgets are a part of that. Having a clean, efficient and cozy space should be a priority, but how one achieves that is very personal. Okay, so some things are “necessities” like toasters, microwaves, kettles and coffee makers, but the list for what is “necessary” can be long for certain wannabe chefs or haggard parent-types who want the kitchen experience to be as fast and easy as 1-2-3.
Will the recently purchased, fancy food mixer eventually be shoved to the back of the cupboard and replaced by the simple, classic whisk? How many shopping trips where the necessary espresso pods were—yet again—forgotten before the French Press is dusted off and filled with freshly ground beans?

Truthfully, all these actions still rely on some sort of kitchen appliance, after all, we’re not in the Stone Age! And the allure of new, shiny, easy-to-use kitchen appliances is one we all understand. But before making that purchase, stop and think “do I really need this?” Consider favorite recipes and whether or not that new item will actually improve the cooking experience. Maybe the answer will be ‘yes’ – after all, you can’t make a smoothie without a blender. But we can all enjoy a little slowness and deliberation in the kitchen.

Chopping veggies by hand, whipping egg whites with a whisk, making bread in the oven and carving meat without the assistance of an electric knife--these are the ways in which slowing down and enjoying the pleasures of a kitchen happen. Isn’t the pace of life already fast enough?

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