I have written extensively in this column about our wheat grinder, and the bread oven, that are used daily at our green home, so I will say nothing more about them. Nor about a fridge and gas stove. The old fashioned electric stove really has no place in the modern home as far as I am concerned; slow, greedy users of power and useless in load shedding.
Gas ovens get bad press, but never having owned one, I will not comment. Our electric oven is used several times a week, but always during the day when the sun is shining; it draws 2 kW, same as a kettle.
Going green and contemplating going off the grid does mean changing the way one does things, and there is some unavoidable inconvenience and irritation unless you have a very large battery bank. Those appliances that draw a lot of current are not used after hours. If roasting the goose and baking the Christmas pudding can only be done when there is adequate sunlight, and it makes a tiny contribution to saving the planet from global warming, then so be it.
The next most loved appliance is undoubtedly our tabletop induction stove. It uses half the electricity of a conventional stove, and works twice as fast; it is a must in my book, and not expensive. They start at about R600. Look for one that can go as low as 200 W or the rolled oats will boil over. They must have a surge detector plug to protect them from a love letter from the Municipality’s mains supply.
They do not work with copper or aluminium-bottomed pots which conduct electricity too well, with none of the eddy currents that cause the warming. There is no connecting element between the stove and the saucepan; the metal itself is heated directly.
Here is a comment about load-shedding. If the power goes off, drop the main breaker and do not turn it on again for at least five minutes after the electricity has been restored and the voltage has stabilised.
Our stick blender finds work constantly in making soups and our homemade hummus; look for the more powerful devices and do not use them to break up ice-cubes. They are so much easier to clean, except for turmeric which stains the appliance.
Generally the stick blender is much more friendly than our old, very heavy Kenwood that only rarely gets pulled out of the cupboard these days.
But we do have two small inexpensive blenders. One is dedicated to grinding spices like cumin, and various seeds such as flax and sunflower, and the other for coffee beans. Both are important in our family and are used very frequently; I have no fear of caffeine.
I was surprised to read in the Witness recently of some poor folk complaining of the cost of electricity, so that they could not afford to use an iron. It remains in my green mind as one of the most environmentally unfriendly and useless appliances. By shaking out wet garments directly as they come out of the washing machine, one barely needs to press clothes in any case.
They contribute directly to the overload on Eskom and to my mind serve no useful purpose.
Neatly ironed clothes need to go except for high, but certainly not holy days; opera, the violin and football we will keep, thank you very much. What about the suit and tie, you may ask? Not even at weddings and funerals do folk wear them any longer. They seem to be reserved for lawyers and Eurocentric politicians; we have plenty of them in the South African parliament.
I remain unsure whether the microwave is detrimental to our wellness; perhaps it is fake news, but we use ours only for reheating cold food.
A food processor has only once been a feature in our kitchen; it was useless and the prongs bent when slicing chips, and we were put off for life. Solar would handle the small motor with ease should you have one.
Christmas is coming; have a wonderful festive season, drive carefully and soberly and try to make sure it is only the goose and not you that is getting fat.
My favourite kitchen appliances include the induction stove and the stick blender. The wheat grinder and bread oven rank very highly. Say goodbye to the iron.
Equally of interest are my favourite kitchen utensils.
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