In my opinion, salad spinners are one of the most useless kitchen gadgets ever invented. A few minutes of swishing greens in a colander over the sink does the trick, not to mention gives you a few minutes of toning your arms. That’s not bad. But are you really trying to get serious about firmer arms and tighter abs? Make bread—the old-fashioned way. Forego the Kitchenaid and you will definitely be feeling it tomorrow. For me, cooking is not only a necessity and a hobby, it’s a stress reliever. Working out is supposed to be a stress reliever. So to me it seems natural to combine the two, by doing things by hand without all of the electric appliances and gadgets we have around today. Don’t get me wrong—I adore my microwave. It reheats all that food I talk about freezing all the time in a matter of minutes when I don’t want to cook. And I can’t speak highly enough of the defrost function. First and foremost I don’t have the space in my kitchen or my budget to go out and get a fancy Kitchenaid mixer with the ice cream bowl attachment, or a bread machine or a rice cooker. And I don’t think I need them. Sure, they save you a little time, but if you want to cook, cook. Besides giving yourself a mini workout and a chance to focus on what you’re doing (a great stress reliever—quit thinking about everything else) another benefit to ditching excess electronics in the kitchen is the environmental impact you’ll save. A lot of appliances carry phantom loads, meaning they’re still consuming energy even though they’re not in use. Appliances with clocks or pre-set timer functions are big culprits. In my kitchen, appliances are at minimum—we have a microwave, toaster, toaster oven (great for meals for two because it consumes a lot less energy than running the main oven), mini coffee maker (it brews into two travel mugs) a blender (which we primarily use for mixed drinks and smoothies, but it also does double duty on soups, purees and the like) and a crockpot. The blender and crockpot are stored in the cupboard until we need them, while the other appliances are out for daily use. We also have a mini food processor and hand mixer that we’ll be getting rid of at our next yard sale. They were gifts and I’ve used them occasionally, but not often enough to warrant them taking up valuable cupboard space. Besides, I prefer mixing my doughs and chopping my onions by hand. We have a manual can opener instead of electric. I use my hands when mixing butter into flour for biscuit dough. I use a spoon instead of a mixer (that just gets clogged up and you have to scrape the sides down anyway) when I make cookies and such. So while I’ve got a bevy of appliances waiting on my beck and call, I also recognize the liberating aspect of doing without (some of) them.