Electric kitchen gadgets are everywhere. They clutter our counters, need power outlets we can never find, and are hard to clean. Our mothers, grandmothers, and great grandmothers cooked with far fewer of these electric gadgets, using muscle-powered tools that in many ways are more convenient to use and clean. I have fond memories of growing up using hand-powered kitchen devices. So here are my top picks for hand-powered kitchen tools no kitchen should be without:
Rotary Egg Beaters. Before electric hand mixers, rotary egg beaters were the fastest and easiest way to mix and blend liquid ingredients. Fortunately these are making a comeback online (Amazon.com carries them) and in gourmet food stores, saving you the trouble of scouring flea markets and garage sales for them. There are deals to be found everywhere; I found mine, a side-handled model, at a Duncansville, Pennsylvania flea market for just $6!
Meat grinders. With the 2012 revelations of pink slime in our ground beef, Americans are returning to making our own ground meat at home-just like our grandmothers had to a century ago. Meat grinders allow us complete quality control with ground meats-and the economical option of converting leftover meats to ground meats we can freeze and prepare later. Models vary from clamp-on to table-top with deals to be found at flea markets and online alike. Save money and control the quality of your family meals better with a meat grinder!
Manual Food Processors. Also known as “manual food choppers,” these hand-crank alternatives to electric food processors are easier to use and to clean than their electric counterparts. Since they are human-powered, they are perfect for camping and picnics-allowing you to grate, chop, and blend wherever you are. Manual food processors of days gone by were all metal with interchangeable blades that you grated/chopped over a conventional mixing bowl. Today’s versions are self contained with multi-blades and plastic bowls. Of the newer models, I prefer the “Kitchen King Pro Complete Food Preparation Station” available on amazon.com for its easy crank operation and numerous attachments.
Going green in the kitchen is easy. For much less money than their electric counterparts, you can buy hand-powered kitchen tools that are easier to clean, burn more calories while you cook, and can be used anytime and anywhere. Reduce your dependence on fossil fuels with these simple tools that make life delicious while making healthier foods at home.