A couple of days ago, I took my wife and kids for a ride to our hunting cabin. The weather was holding and, I said, why not? Four hours later, we arrived only to find out that someone nicked the power transformer from one of the nearby electricity poles.
Long story short, our weekend was doomed because the electricity company representative said that a replacement should arrive in a couple of weeks. Back when we furnished the place, we didn’t consider that something like this could happen, and so we went ahead and bought all the electrical appliances we could find at a discount.
Here’s where things get interesting. My grandma gave me this old and battered chest. Told me that inside it I’d find anything a chef needs to whip up a quick dinner, power or not. Because that thing was heavy and smelly, I figured that the best place to store it would be the hunting cabin.
Seeing that the power won’t come any time soon, I took a peek inside the chest to see if there’s anything of use there. I am not exaggerating when I’m saying that I struck gold. Inside, were indeed all the kitchen tools one could need to live a totally electricity-free life. And I would be lying if I didn’t admit that we had some trouble figuring out what goes where or how to use those thingies.
Anyway, seeing that more and more of you guys are asking about powerless appliances, I figured showing you my list of 8 most useful kitchen stuff. Dunno if you have chest inherited from your grandparents or not, but, surprisingly enough, most of this stuff can be bought from just any kitchen appliances store, and, yes, they don’t cost a fortune. So, without further ado, here are my choices in powerless kitchen gadgets.
- Hand-operated coffee grinder
Because I’m a coffee junkie I’m going to start by saying just how awesome and handy a cordless coffee grinder is. I mean, nothing compares to that subtle, yet flamboyant, freshly-ground coffee aroma – way better than sex (hope my wife doesn’t read this article).
Anyway, if you get ahold of one of these gadgets, be sure to hit your local gourmet coffee store for some great beans. While you’re at it, learn how to make Turkish-style coffee – beats espresso any time of the week. Be sure to clean your grinder every now and then and oil those parts to prevent blockages.
2. Meat grinder
If we’re talking of couldn’t-do-without kitchen items, the meat grinder’s is out there with the big shots. Nearly every recipe that calls for minced meat, whether it’s lasagna, moussaka or meatballs, will taste even better with freshly-minced meat. For a while, I used to buy minced pork from my local supermarket.
Gave it up for Lent after I discovered that I could make it at home, with the cuts of choice. More that than, I simply abhor the fact that even the most expensive minced meat is filled with so much water that you mostly end up boiling your meat instead of searing it. Great little gadget, very low maintenance, but now so great when it comes to cleaning it. Pros and cons, man. Pros and cons.
3. Hand-cranked food processor
I like preparing salad dressing as much as the next person, but doing so without an electrical blender is quite difficult. Wrong! The hand-cranked food processor will chop down your veggies or meats in a matter of seconds just like any over glorified electric blender. Just make sure to give those blades a quick sharpening from time to time and to apply some oil or WD 40 on the moving parts.
4. Kitchen scale
My wife’s madly in love with making all sorts of cakes and cookies and pastry. However, most of the time, she needs a scale to measure the ingredients – sometimes I feel like I’m stepping into a meth lab or something.
My take on the electronic scale is the old and moderately precise mechanical scale – a cup, a platform, and several weights. Might not work that well if you need to measure with Swiss precision, but other than that it’s a very dependable kitchen item.
5. Tea kettle
Not much of a tea drinker myself (usually do that when I’m nursing a cold). But I have to admit that a tea kettle is pretty useful around the house, especially when the power goes out. More than that, if properly maintained, a kettle can last for decades if not more (mom said granny got her tea kettle from her mom). It’s also a very fast and low-gas consuming way of warming up water for other necessities.
Forget the mixer! If you really want to step up your kitchen game, learn how to tame the egg beater. IT’s a really simple item, but one that helps you prepare far more stuff than omelets (I like to use it to prepare the bather for my MRE survival bars).
7. Can opener
Those electrical gadgets are shinny and new but much too unreliable to be kept around the house. If the power doesn’t go out on you, that thing will break down faster than you can say “preparedness.” I had to fix two of those blasted things and buy three others. So, my solution was simple – out with the bad and in with the good, the good being the mechanical can opener. Solid piece of work, capable of breaking into just about any can out there.
8. Water filter
Water comes, and water goes. No matter where you’re from, you must always ensure that the water you drink is, well, drinkable. That’s why a water filter is a must around any house, hunting cabin or duplex. It may be a little expensive compared to the other items on this list, especially the spare carbon filters, but it’s an investment worth making.
That’s my list. Do you have some other mechanical gadgets on your mind or in your off grid house? Share it here.