If there's one appliance sitting unused, gathering dust and guilt in your kitchen, chances are it's a bread machine. If that is so, chances are it looked fantastic on the wedding registry. It's like an American tradition to receive one and not use it.
Actually, bread machine owners seem to either use them all the time or not at all. Ever since we got ours for our wedding (thank you, college roommate!), I've faithfully used it. Paige has made a loaf here and there, but mostly I have contributed bread to the household. For your information and inspiration, I videotaped myself making a loaf of bread. Having done it at least once a week for over sixteen years, I now know the recipe by heart, which speeds up the measuring and dumping a little bit. It doesn't speed it up as much as it looks on the video; I sped up the video to double-time so that it would be a more Internet-appropriate two minutes long rather than an old world four minutes.
I have wondered for a while how much I have saved over the years by making bread at home. I have bought sandwich bread almost never, maybe a loaf a year at most. I therefore do not know how much it costs. Also, I could have but didn't want to sit down and do the math about how much my home bread costs. Then I read in Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by the insufferable Barbara Kingsolver that a homemade loaf costs about 50 cents. Let's say sandwich bread costs $2.50 at the grocery store. With those simple variables and assuming some growth in bread baking as our family has grown, I posit that I've saved us about $2,000 in 16 years, all while eating superior bread.
If you do have one, dust it off and commit to making a loaf a week for four weeks. Then at least you'll know and can decide whether to keep it or give it to someone else so they can keep it in their basement.