Friday, July 20, 2012

Cooking without Electricity: Non-Electric Kitchen Appliances

Cooking without electricity in a power outage doesn't just mean finding an alternative way to cook food. In our modern world, most of our kitchen appliances are electric as well. If we were ever without electricity, we would need an alternative way to complete the tasks that are now accomplished using appliances. A few years ago, I decided to solve this problem in my house by replacing my electric kitchen appliances with non-electric ones. I didn't go purchase all new ones at one time, but as the old appliance needed to be replaced, I purchased non-electric alternatives.

So, let me introduce you to some of my favorite appliances.  These appliances all run on human power instead of electricity.  None of them were expensive, especially when compared to the price of a KitchenAid Food Processor.

I no longer have a standard mixer. Instead, I now reach for the two hand crank beaters shown on the left. Need to make spaghetti or macaroni noodles? I use a hand crank machine to make my pasta. Same applies to the apple peeler, corer and slicer. My Victorio strainer allows me to make tomato sauce and applesauce without electricity and a green bean slicer helps me to make french cut green beans the same way.

If I need to grind flour or chop nuts, I usually use these.

 My journey to all non-electric appliances is not complete. I hope to get a hand crank blender soon and I want a hand crank ice cream maker as well. 

This does not mean that I have abandoned ALL my electric kitchen appliances. For some situations the convenience of electric appliances just far out weighs the advantages of hand cranking. In other situations, the only alternative to electric appliances would be to purchase processed food at a store. For example, when my job gets very busy and I have tight deadlines, I will use a bread machine. 

My bread machine is really on it last leg - it makes horrible noises when the paddle moves. However, I really don't want to buy a new one - I would rather do without and make it all by hand.  I was mentioning this to one of my friends from church and she told me about another friend who had a hand crank bread machine. Really! I had to go and see it. She was kind enough to let me take pictures of it.

Isn't this thing amazing? To give you some scale, that bucket is big enough to hold dough for nine loaves of bread. When her children were young, she used to make bread once a week and made nine loaves at a time. She told me it is easy to crank and does an excellent job on the dough. Imagine, no more kneading by hand! 

In case you are thinking you can go buy one of these, this machine was made by her father. He made one for her mother when she was a small girl and then made one for her and each of her sisters when they got older.

As you read through the Cooking without Electricity series and print some of the ideas for your food storage binder, don't forget to think about how you are going to prepare your food for cooking. You may want to acquire some kitchen tools that use human power instead of electricity.

If you liked this post, you may also like other posts in the Cooking without Electricity series:

Here's even more posts you may like about Living without Electricity:


  1. I saw a manual bread machine at an antique/junk shop yesterday. It was similiar to this one, but different too.

  2. Wow! You should buy it if you have the chance. I can see lots of uses for it beyond bread. I would love to post a picture of it! Let me know if you purchase it. I will definitely feature it in a new post.

  3. My daughter purchased a new bread mixer on line a number of years ago; I'm assuming that they are still available.

    A brief google brought me to this site -- It looks interesting as does the bread mixer although the crank looks rather wimpy.

    Love the pictures!

  4. Could you please post pictures of each item, what it's used for, maybe how it is used? This way I know what it will replace? I'm young, but really want to go back to the olden times of baking and cooking.... Thanks from us youngans! ;)

    1. Prepared Teacher,

      What a great idea for a series of posts! How about over the fall and winter, I post recipes I have made using a 'featured' non-electric appliance? Stay tuned!

    2. I think a series like that on "non-electric appliances" would be great.

  5. As a note- the bucket used for the bread maker is stainless steel, looks like a milk bucket to me. If you decide to try to build one, DO NOT USE A GALVANIZED BUCKET!! That is the basic metal bucket in hardware stores and is NOT food safe!!
    I grew up mixing bread by hand (yes, I am well over 50 yrs!) in a large tupperware bowl, 4-6 loaves at a time, depending on the population at the home place! Shifted to a large stainless steel bowl in my own home. Hand mixing/kneading is a meditative time for me, very soothing and satisfying!
    I love your advice in this blog, it is so much fun to see the younger generation rediscovering these skills!!

    1. Mr Bill and Miss Mona,
      I was talking to my friend who owns this bucket the other day and she told me that this is a food grade milk bucket.
      Good advice to make sure that everyone uses food grade tools!


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