Tuesday, 3 September 2013


Yesterday I wrote about ditching the internet, TV and phone at home. Since moving house six months ago these are not the only things I have decided to do without in my quest for a simpler lifestyle. I have also got rid of the following 'essentials':

The microwave. A microwave is a horrible thing. It never heats the food evenly. Take soup. Whenever I heat soup in the microwave I burn my mouth on the liquid on the edge of the bowl but the centre remains stone cold. Eggs go from raw to rubber in an instant. Chicken never tastes properly cooked and has to be 'finished off' in the oven to crisp the skin (my favourite bit). Jacket potatoes cooked in the microwave are a travesty. And anyway I could never understand the controls which forced me to cook everything in multiples of 'one minute on full power'. I do not miss the microwave.

The dishwasher. I don't see the point in a dishwasher. They are supposed to save time but I don't see how. In the time it takes to load and unload I may as well have washed up in the sink. A dishwasher takes days for me to fill up, by which time leftovers are welded so firmly to the plate they can only be removed with the aid of a chisel. And half the time I have to do it all again by hand anyway. Plus - and this may sound weird - I like washing up. I can do without a dishwasher.

The washing machine. The washing machine is, I agree, harder to dispense with. On the other hand washing machines create a lot of washing. It's so easy just to bung everything in the laundry after one wearing and then chuck it through the wash. Most clothes do not need to be washed every single time they are worn. They just don't. By a combination of being more careful about what clothes I wash, handwashing and using the launderette I find I can manage perfectly well without a washing machine.

Toaster. This was easy. I stopped eating bread.

The Freezer. For me the freezer was an expensive way to store food for a year before throwing it away. I was never organised enough to date items when I put them into the freezer and consequently I was never too sure how long they had been in there. Also I was never organised enough to get anything out of the freezer to defrost in advance. The less I used supermarkets, the less I bought food to freeze anyway. When I finally decided to get rid of it, my freezer contained two tubs of blackberries from my last forage, an ancient leg of lamb, an even more ancient packet of minced beef and several loaves of bread which were only in there to fill the thing up and stop it costing too much to run.

The Supermarket. Supermarkets do not save money. Although individually items may be cheaper than at a small shop/delicatessen/farmers market/butcher etc. it is far too easy to buy too much food, stuff it in the fridge, forget it's there and then throw it out a week or two later. It is also easy to lose track and get a nasty shock at the till. Since I started limiting my wheat and sugar intake I've discovered there is little food I can buy at the supermarket which I can't get elsewhere.

With the possible exception of the washing machine I have not missed any of these so-called essentials one jot. And my fuel bill is less eye watering than in used to be. Just don't expect me to get rid of the electric kettle any time soon.

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