This weekend I had a small kitchen problem. My fridge decided to start freezing everything. All the vegetables in it froze and were destroyed. My milk turned into a rock. As far as I can tell it is fine to drink. Leftover pasta, refried beans, apples, pears. All frozen. So until I can get a repair man in to fix it, I will be using an ice cooler on the deck to store my perishables. It will be like camping I guess. Except I don't have to worry about ice, since it is plenty cold enough outside. This might be nice, I will try to do without the refrigerator for a few months. In all reality, the ice box is so big for what is actually in it. Milk, cheese, some condiments, and leftovers need to be stored somewhere cold. Eggs, fruit, vegetables for the most part don't. I would always need a freezer of some kind, since I need somewhere to store fish and berries. This could be a little bit of an experiment to see if I can go until the new year without fixing the fridge. Lets see how good my will power is.
This isn't the first time that I made due with out a modern appliance in my kitchen. About a year ago, I removed my microwave. It was a large box sitting on the counter, constantly drawing electricity because I never unplugged it. The only thing it ever was used for was to melt some butter once every few months. A task that could be easily accomplished with a pot on the stove. The new found space was quickly filled with a bread maker, which like most bread maker owners, sat unused in the cupboard. It was a hassle to bring it out and put it away again when needed. Now it has a permanent home and I make my own bread on a regular basis. It is simple, fast and only contains whole foods, and no chemicals. Re-heating foods on the stove top or in the toaster oven might be a little slower(not much) but it doesn't destroy the cell structure and nutrients in the food. I know that there are arguments both ways on this topic. I just feel better not cooking my food with invisible rays.
Listen to David Heddy on the Sprocket Podcast talk about life without microwaves
I have also done with out a dishwasher. It broke down in the summer. I hadn't been using it much anyways so it was an easy decision to pitch it in the dump. I was never thrilled with the performance of the machine. It was always growing black moldy stuff on the inside. That was disgusting. So now the hole in the cabinets is used to store my Bradley smoker, and much more fun and rewarding appliance. And my dishes are always clean and haven't been exposed to nasty bits. I have also taken away my coffee maker. Since discovering the supreme taste of French pressed coffee, the electric machine was given away on Freecycle. I grind my own organic, fair trade beans and enjoy making a cup every morning.
These changes has slowed me down in the kitchen. I think more about how many dishes I use in a day. Almost every night the dishes are washed and put away. My kitchen is more tidy and organized than before. This is all training to live simpler and with less modern convenience, so one day the transition to a rustic living arrangement will be easier.