There are plenty of things that I'd rather do by hand, even if there exists a more efficient and even more efficacious tool or technology: mixing and kneading bread, making cookie dough, chopping vegetables. I used to make butter cakes by hand, too, but now I use a hand mixer. James Beard says that in 19th century America, bakers had to have a strong arm, as they would often make large cakes, or even more than one at a time. Either I used to have a stronger arm, or else I just got tired of beating a cake for 500 strokes, or however many it was. Still, it's nice to know how. A few years ago, I got a decent chef's knife, and still find great pleasure in sharpening it and preparing all sorts of vegetables with it.
I also have occasionally made myself an item of clothing by hand--a couple of skirts, for instance. There was something good about the enterprise--very slow, meditative, I guess.
I'm noting this fact because I just bought myself a swell new kitchen tool--a mandoline. For those of you who don't know, it's basically an implement to slice vegetables and fruits. It has a fold-out leg, but the operating part of it slants. The blade is very sharp, and you can also insert a little julienne tool. You use it to cut carrots or potatoes or whatever into even, fine slices, matchsticks, or shreds. The day I got it, I immediately took just one small potato--a Yukon gold, in case you're wondering--cut it into even and beautiful circles, thin slices, and fried them in small batches. Voila! potato chips, the best possible potato chips. I love my knife, but there's no way it could match the mechanically-assisted quality of my mandoline-engineered potato chips.
My kitchen has entered a new phase in the age of mechanical reproduction.