Over the past year, I have changed the way my family eats. I do a lot more cooking of whole foods and a lot less opening of boxes from the freezer. My time spent in the kitchen has increased dramatically. There have been many times that I’ve thought “making this would be so much easier if I just had the right gadget.” But I’ve refrained. Often the item I’d like to have is what Alton Brown of Good Eats calls a unitasker – a kitchen gadget that is only good for one purpose.
Why shouldn’t you go out and buy a unitasker? I’ve got a few good reasons.
- You most likely already have something in your kitchen that will do the job. I recently returned a panini maker still in a box to a friend who was lending it to me because it had been sitting unused in her cupboard. I had the idea that I would be making loads of tomato, mozzarella, and basil paninis this summer. When I finally got around to making one, it occurred to me that I could make it in my grill pan and use my cast iron skillet as a weight to press it down.
- Your kitchen doesn’t need to be any more cluttered than it is. I don’t have a single friend who has extra space in the kitchen. I certainly don’t. That panini maker was huge. I really had no place to store it after it was used. I already have a place to store my grill pan and cast iron skillet. Unitasking items are generally used very infrequently. Do you really need to take up precious kitchen space with them?
- You’ll save money. Some unitaskers (like that panini maker) can be really expensive. Others, like an egg slicer, only cost a few dollars. But money is money and if you can save a little and slice those eggs with a knife that you already have, you’ll have more money for better quality food.
- You’ll be helping out the environment. This is probably the most important reason. Lots of resources are used to get a gadget to your kitchen. There are physical resources that are used to create the item. There are resources used to create the packaging. Fuel is used to ship the item to the store or your home. The less stuff you buy, the better it is for the environment.
I do have one unitasker in my kitchen. My waffle maker. I don’t know how else I could make waffles without it, and it does get used frequently.
What’s your take on unitaskers? Do you have any that are must haves? Have you ever found an innovative way of getting around needing one?