Multitasker, or Multiple Unitasker?

November 17, 2009 · 6 comments

Eggmatic

Alton Brown’s conversion of a fire extinguisher into a smoothie maker got me thinking about unitasking devices in my own kitchen.

(A digression: The fire extinguisher in that demo is a CO2 model, which is hardly ever sold for kitchen use. Kitchen extinguishers are usually dry chemical models, which I don’t recommend for smoothies unless you need to address a monoammonium phosphate deficiency in your diet.)

Twenty years ago I was given the gizmo pictured above as a gag Xmas gift, something I was never expected to actually use. The raised lettering across the top read “Eggmighty Almighty Egg Cooker.” It’s not actually a cooker, but something that assists you with egg cookery. It unstacks into a collection of tools, as shown here:

In order of unstacking, there’s a soft-boiled egg shell cuter, a shell piercer (the pin is below the spring-loaded cap, an egg stand (used with the shell cutter), a hard-boiled egg cutter (cuts into six wedges), an egg cutting stand (used with the wedge cutter), a v-knife for separateing hard-boiled eggs into two toothed halves, a standard egg slicer, and an egg separator.

Eggmighty Bits

I have used the standard and wedge slicers to cut mushrooms. The v-knife and stand make lovely kiwi halves. Everything else, however, seems to have only one use. So my question is: Do I have a multitasker, or multiple unitaskers? Regardless of the answer, I’m not getting rid of this gizmo, since I’ve never seen it again in any store — Asian or otherwise.

6 comments

Elsepth November 17, 2009 at 7:02 pm

Multiple unitaskers put together in a clever way.

David November 17, 2009 at 8:38 pm

But the slicers are clearly multitaskers.

Terra November 18, 2009 at 9:12 am

Is a gadget a multitasker if it performs a single task on more than one object (slicing both eggs and mushrooms?)

David November 18, 2009 at 10:00 pm

By Brown’s definition, yes. A pot performs one task – heating stuff up – but it’s not a unitasker.

Bryan November 18, 2009 at 7:16 pm

I guess it depends on how strictly you define “task.” Most kitchen things have one primary function, like whisking, straining, and so on, but that function can be applied to a variety of things. Some apply their function to only one thing, like a coffee grinder. Is that such a bad thing? I could use some other thing to grind my coffee, but it wouldn’t be as efficient. I could get a “multi-function” combo grinder-coffeemaker thing, but those usually involve some compromise in functionality as well. Some things have limited usefulness and are a crutch for not having, say, reasonably good knife skills. Those things should be avoided if possible. But the “unitasker/multitasker” divide is somewhat illusory.

David November 18, 2009 at 10:04 pm

Brown’s waffle iron was a unitasker until he used it to cook bacon. His old spinning-blade coffee grinder was a multitasker because it was also used to grind whole spices. So, in theory, a good burr coffee grinder could also be used as a spice grinder, even though you wouldn’t do it in practice. Unless you like coriander coffee…

He created the divide to prevent people from buying single use items, usually stuff hawked by Billy Mays and his ilk on TV.

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