Unitaskers

What is a “unitasker”? It is a gadget that does only one thing. That they are generally only advertised in late night infomercials should give you a hint as to how useless they usually are.

While I generally agree with Alton Brown that the only unitasker in your kitchen should be the fire extinguisher (which you never want to use), there are occasions when a unitasker is useful or even essential. To make cherry pie filling, I needed to pit 7 quarts of cherries. Try pitting that quantity of cherries with a knife… and no, I won’t cover your co-pay!

So, when is a unitasker appropriate? When the thing it is designed for would otherwise be a huge pain to do, like pitting lots of cherries. While I may only pit that quantity of cherries once or maybe twice a year, the under $20 price tag of the pitter was well worth it to me.

The other situation it may be appropriate in is where the person doing the cooking really *sucks* at the task. I perform kitchen miracles every day but I *stink* at making pie crust, which is why I am so pleased with the dough blender I bought recently – it does a task I otherwise suck at and dread, and makes that task a complete breeze to do.

So when you are watching these infomercials that promise to deal with the big problem at the low low price, think carefully about what that thing *does*. Does it do one thing really well, that is a thing I suck at or dread dealing with? Is that thing something I am likely to deal with regularly? Or is it something that I want to do, but have constantly put off because I dread dealing with it?

After you have asked yourself these questions, take a note of what the person in the infomercial is shilling, then sleep on the decision for a day or two. Check on Google for consumer reviews of the product. Once you’ve done that you will be able to make a better, more informed decision about whether you *really* will benefit from that egg shelling device at only $29.99 excluding tax and shipping, order now to get two for the price of one…

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