When I first saw this Trio lasagna pan, I thought it was kind of cool. But then I thought about my lasagna pan and how I use it for many more purposes than making lasagna. It is one of the most useful things in my kitchen. If I had the Trio lasagna pan instead, it might be a little easier to make lasagna, but I wouldn’t be able to use it in all those other ways.
That is the problem with unitaskers–devices that can be used only one way. When we are not using them for their specific purpose, they are just taking up space. That’s why unitaskers are the first thing to go to the thrift store. When we stop doing whatever it is they do, they become useless.
By contrast, multitaskers–devices that are used multiple ways–take up less space and are used frequently. If you are concerned about having a more efficient kitchen and cleaner cupboards, try to only own multitaskers.
The best multitasker I can think of is a knife. One knife can replace a host of gadgets–apple corers, vegetable choppers, mushroom slicers, garlic presses, and so on. For each of these unitaskers, a knife does the job just as well and takes up less space. On top of that, by not buying the other gadgets, you are saving money.
Here is another unitasker I was tempted by, but didn’t get: the baker’s edge brownie pan.
I like the idea of brownies that are all edges (the edges are the best part), but how often do I really bake brownies? What other uses could this pan have? Is it going to end up being used, or is it going to end up in the back of the cupboard?
Alas, I think the baker’s edge brownie pan is a unitasker of the worst sort.
But sometimes we need unitaskers, right? What about ice cream makers? Waffle irons? Popcorn poppers?
This is true. I am not sure how to replace my waffle iron… yet. But sometimes you can replace a unitasker by finding a better way to do whatever it is it does. For example, I used an oil-popper for popcorn until I discovered how to make microwavable popcorn using only a paper bag. It works just as well and takes up no space in the kitchen, so I donated the oil popper to the thrift store. By thinking the process through and using resources at hand, I found a better way to do it, and it rendered the unitasker useless.
Alternately, sometimes you can turn a unitasker into a multitasker. For example, take the melon baller.
On the surface, the melon baller seems to have only has one use, which is to scoop melons. But a melon baller can be used to scoop ice cream, shape cookie dough, remove seeds from pumpkins, make meatballs, core apples, and so on. With a little creative thinking, a relatively useless item becomes more valuable in the kitchen.
On the other hand, a spoon and your fingers can do all those things too.
My goal is to slowly replace all unitaskers with multitaskers. By doing so, I will have less stuff around and a more organized kitchen. Multiple functions means more efficiency overall.
To tell the difference between a unitasker and a multitasker, ask yourself the following questions about each gadget:
1. How many ways do I use this thing? Clearly, if you can only think of one purpose, you have a unitasker on your hands.
2. If it just has one purpose, how often do I use it for this purpose? If you haven’t used it in 6 months, this is a highly suspicious unitasker and perhaps is only good for taking up space.
3. Is there another way to use this gadget that I haven’t thought of? If you can think of more than one use, you might be able to turn a unitasker into a multitasker.
4. Can I replace this gadget with something else I already have? If the answer is yes, then give the unitasker away–it isn’t any good to you.
What about you? What unitaskers have you replaced with a multitasker?