When you think of a unitasker (tools that serve only a single purpose), what do you think of? Avocado slicers or yolk separators give the word “unitasker” a disappointing connotation, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Some unitaskers are the unsung heroes of the gadget world and deserve your praise.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that a can opener is a unitasker (it really only opens cans) but everyone should have one on hand. And these shouldn’t just be any old can opener. You should get one that does more for you, like this one from Chef’n. It locks closed and has a fold-flat key turn (meaning it won’t get stuck in an over-crowded utensil drawer) and a magnetic lid remover on the top so you don’t have to reach in to grab the sharp lid.
The humble cheese grater is something that you may not think you need until you absolutely need it. This allows you to grate your own cheese for pasta or use it to grate onions to cook down for sauces. It’s also good for baking, as you can grate chocolate for melting or frozen butter for your batter. This one from OXO folds flat for easy storage and can be split apart for easy grating at any angle.
When it comes to cooking pasta or grains, attempting to strain it without a strainer is a massive headache. The beauty of a strainer is that it’s made for one job and it’s a job that gets done on a fairly regular basis. The way to get the most out of your strainer is to, well, get two. A mesh strainer (I’d recommend getting a three-pack like this Cuisinart one) will help with small grains like quinoa while something like this collapsible strainer that will expand across your entire sink will help with larger pasta.
Maybe you make homemade pizza, maybe you don’t. But a pizza wheel is something that you can use for so many different applications, not just slicing through crust. Cut pasta into strips to be quickly boiled, slice dough into the right shape for baking, and chop through lettuce leaves without bruising them. They're also great to mince dried or fresh herbs easily. You can even get one with an ergonomic grip and a protective blade guard.
You may think that a microplane seems superfluous if you have a cheese grater, but this thin grater is key to unlocking so many flavors. Finely grate nutmeg to put into mac and cheese, use it to pulverize ginger and garlic for salad dressings, zest lemons or limes for a bright pop of citrus. You can even use it for cheese as it’s a great way to get a fine layer of parmesan on any dish you choose.
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