I'm suspicious of the actual utility of many appliciances. After all, we've been sold electric knives, electric blankets, and electric can openers over the years, none of which is really labor saving.
Then one of my favorite catalogs arrived–Lehman's–which offers lots of non-electric tools for fundamentalists, survivalists, and aesthetes like me made grumpy by plastics and plugs. I was fascinated to learn that I could replace my heavy and expensive KitchenAid stand mixer–a really good appliance–with an even more expensive hand mixer–$650!
I am also completely obsessed with the little Australian woodstove to the right. It not only generates heat, it has a little pizza oven in the bottom. I would like to remake my small kitchen to feature such a stove. Alas, funds fail.
I would also like one of their nice wooden cider presses that cost $700. GIven all the cow apples on my country place, it seems crazy not to make better use of the fruit.
But I'll probably have to settle for some sauerkraut making equipment: a $30 wooden lid for a crock and a $20 wooden board to keep the cabbage submerged under its brine. Sauerkraut is the easiest way to preserve a garden vegetable. Just shred in the food processor and salt.
Oh yeah, another plug. But the food processor, I like.