Foreign electronics: to buy or not to buy?

It’s no secret that my favourite show on television is The Great British Bake Off. Each week ten amateur bakers battle it out by completing baking challenges that increase in difficulty and showmanship.

It’s inspiring to watch the contestants improve their technical skills, elevate flavours and, of course get judged for it. The scenery is also beautiful. The tent, located in the middle of the idyllic UK countryside, sits on the grounds of an estate home. In each episode you can expect cheeky humour, friendly banter and, yes, even epic meltdowns. Who knew people could get so worked up over cake? It’s a delightful program.

Everything about this show brings me so much joy …which is why I finally decided to learn how to bake.

The Great British Bake Off taught me that to be a successful baker you need to own the necessary tools. For example, if you want to make a buttercream frosting you’ll need an electric mixer and paddle attachment. A glass bowl and a whisk simply won’t do.

Same goes for making chocolate soufflé. The dessert requires significant aeration which is difficult to achieve by hand. Want to make a raspberry mousse? Better grab your immersion blender!

The point is, when it comes to baking, electric gadgets are your friend.

Foreign electronics

But when you’re an expat living in a foreign country there’s a high probability that your electronics aren’t compatible. This means that my expensive 120-volt Kitchen Aid mixer from Canada won’t work in 220-volt Germany. But if you want to risk it and plug it into the outlet expect to hear a “boom”. Congratulations, you just friend the circuit.

If this situation sounds familiar there’s a choice to make:

1.) Replace your $$$ original electronics with locally-regulated $$$ ones, or

2.) Go without.

Not a lot of option there.

To buy or not to buy? It’s a personal decision

For me, at least initially, I decided to go without. I thought it was wasteful to spend money on these items (especially for baking, cooking, etc.) But then the years passed and I realized our life in Europe wasn’t going to be temporary. Which is why I changed my opinion 3 years ago I started to acquire 220-volt electronics for the kitchen. And I’m happy I did.

One look in my pantry today and you’ll find an impressive collection of gadgets that would impress any home baker. And guess what? I actually use them! Last month I baked a birthday cake, scones, madeleines, sourdough bread and cinnamon buns. I know they say practice makes perfect, but to excel you’ll need the right tools for the job.

If you’re still unsure if you should make an electronics purchase, ask yourself if it’ll help you reach your goals. If it does, don’t wait too long to buy it. Consider it a smart investment in your productivity, satisfaction and happiness. Don’t stress, you can always sell it to a friend when you (eventually) leave!

– es