Kitchens have come a long way since a wood-fired stove and an "ice box" were the only two appliances available to cooks. Small electrical appliances can do just about any task imaginable, and quite often do it much more efficiently than the cook can. Bigger, better, improved and specialized appliances come along every week, but there are also disadvantages to using numerous small appliances.
For many home cooks, the time saved using small kitchen appliances is the No. 1 reason to use them. Throw everything you need into the food processor and the tuna salad is done in 30 seconds rather than 10 minutes. Run the gazpacho soup through the blender and save the time of forcing it, little by little, through a strainer. Modern appliances give back what is most valuable to the cook – personal time.
It takes muscle strength, dexterity and energy to make even simple dishes and beverages, such as freshly squeezed orange juice. Elaborate recipes with hours of preparation, knifework, stirring and assembly may be beyond the skill levels of some or capability of others who have limited mobility. Substituting the power of small appliances for muscle power can open up the world of cooking again for those who are unable to labor for long in a kitchen.
Dishes from other countries and traditions can be made much easier with the power of kitchen appliances. A family from Mississippi may want to try a Chicago-style Italian beef sandwiche but may not have the ability to stay home the five hours it takes to cook. A crock pot enables them to cook slowly while away from home.
Leads to Clutter
Small appliances take up counter space, and when that space is limited they can become a nuisance—especially the ones that are only used occasionally. Having to move and swap appliances to make space for the one that is needed often leads to these appliances not being used at all.
Uses Unnecessary Electricity
Going green is a growing movement, and there are few electric appliances whose results cannot be duplicated with a little more labor and time. Reducing a household's electric usage helps not only a family's finances but the environment as well.
Diminishes Personal Satisfaction
Cooking is an art form, and using appliances that do all the work is akin using a "paint by numbers" artist kit. There is a certain satisfaction to seeing a pile of potatoes reduced to small cubes for chicken soup, the fruit of knife skills that took a long time to master. A chicken in the grocery's rotisserie may taste and look great, but poultry slow-roasted in the oven with homemade dressing is an impressive dish for entertaining.