‘Hey, can I borrow that scrubber to clean my beets?’
‘Sorry, it’s for potatoes and only potatoes.’
That, my friend is called a ‘unitasker.’ A tool that’s designed to help you with a single task, yet is useless for any other function. A tool that invariably takes up valuable kitchen real estate, yet is destined to gather dust.
Of course, there are a few unitaskers that are pure genius and likely to find themselves in frequent rotation, but sadly those are few and far between.
‘For decades I have been trying to come up with an ideal way to slice a banana. ‘Use a knife!’ they say. Well…my parole officer won’t allow me to be around knives. ‘Shoot it with a gun!’ Background check…HELLO!’
Not surprisingly, 55,417 Amazon users ‘found this helpful.’ Because slicing a banana is a task so simple that’s it’s usually delegated to an unruly toddler.
Oh, banana slicer . . . you are the most wondrously (un)inspired unitasker!
You own scissors, right? And you also have a spatula, right? What about a pair of scissors that’s attached to a spatula and has the extra added bonus of being super bulky? And in case you’re unsure of the function of this tool, the word ‘pizza’ is right there to clear up any misunderstandings.
These Pizza Scissors are described as a ‘Spring-loaded gadget cuts the perfect slice of thin-crust pizza with old-fashioned scissor technology.’ Umm . . . ‘scissor technology?!’ I guess those genius NASA engineers worked this unitasker up in their spare time.
Dedicated use bowls
I don’t want you to get the impression that unitaskers are all kitchen gadgets. Unitaskers can be as simple as a bowl that’s specifically for popcorn, soup or any other food you can possibly think of. But at least when those items get donated at Goodwill, (which they inevitably do) there’s a slight chance that they’ll find a new home. But when ‘Shaun and Kim’s popcorn’ bowl finds its way to your local thrift shop, there’s a .000001% chance that another ‘Shaun and Kim’ will happen upon it. This is the elusive unitasker-within-a-unitasker. The Inception of unitaskers.
American marketers like to convince us that we can’t live without machines that turn our ordinary kitchens into clever fun food factories. For example, why buy Hostess Twinkies when you can ‘Bake Twinkies at home!’ Or perhaps you’re more the soft pretzel type or maybe you need to jump on that cake-pop bandwagon. Why did I choose these three examples when there are countless bake-your-own-whatzit makers available for purchase? Because all three of these were on my local Goodwill shelf the other day, still in their boxes. Their big bulky unitasker boxes. What repeatedly shows up at Goodwill is a pretty good indication of what people do not want in their homes.
This last unitasker is something many of us are guilty of, which is holiday specific dishware. Whether it’s a plate that reads ‘Cookies for Santa’ or a mug that proclaims ‘Happy Freakin’ Hanukkah,’ these unitaskers have their annual moment in the spotlight only to get put aside for the majority of the year. And if it’s just a mug or plate or two, it’s not really that big of a deal. But we all know that person who switches out all her dishes for Christmas, Easter and Halloween. This one is harder to argue against, but let’s all just agree to keep it in moderation. Okay, maybe an Easter bunny candy dish, and ooh . . . look at that reindeer soap dispenser!
#6 Good Unitaskers
Remember when I wrote that ‘there are a few unitaskers that are pure genius?’ I must point out that some might consider vegetable peelers to be unitaskers, as many people throughout the world instead make do with a simple paring knife. But my favorite unitasker is my vintage Squeezo-Strainer, which transforms the task of making applesauce from dreadful to delightful. Why? Because it separates the skin and seeds from the rest of the apple, thus eliminating the unpleasant task of peeling hundreds of apples. What else do I use it for? Nothing, because it’s a unitasker! A unitasker so lovely, I even took a selfie with it.
Before falling prey to a fad-driven unitaskers, ask yourself this simple question: ‘Do I already own something that can perform this task, and can even perform other tasks?’ If your answer is ‘yes,’ then go right ahead and keep your cash in your wallet. Because you are smart and know that it’s a waste of money and resources to buy household items that only serve a single purpose. Just ask food show presenter Alton Brown, or better yet watch this video where he hilariously skewers ‘Amazon’s dumbest kitchen appliances.’