Unitasker Wednesday: Reel Roaster

All Unitasker Wednesday posts are jokes — we don’t want you to buy these items, we want you to laugh at their ridiculousness. Enjoy!

You know what goes great together? Young children, sharp toys used to stab things, sugary foods, and open flames!

The Reel Roaster is guaranteed to make any child a plaintiff in a personal injury class action suit. From Amazon’s product description:

… crank the handle on the fishing reel. This rotates the skewer and ensures that the marshmallow or hot dog is cooked to perfection. Reel ‘em and roast ‘em! Go for a slow turn for a slow roast. Or you can crank up the speed for a faster rotation. Either way, it’s going to be a hot and delicious treat.

A big thanks to reader Sarah for introducing us to this poorly conceived unitasker!

25 Comments for “Unitasker Wednesday: Reel Roaster”

  1. posted by Dawn F on

    HOLY $#%*!!!!!

    I don’t know if I should laugh or cringe!

  2. posted by Ben in Boston on

    I saw an electric marshmallow roaster at Target yesterday. I thought I’d seen it all. This is WORSE.

  3. posted by Loren on

    Do people really roast marshmallows over electric grills? Or did this this company just not want to show children near open flames?
    Also that marshmallow isn’t going to be properly toasty holding it that high above the heat :P

  4. posted by Tiara on

    Okay, I’m guilty of using a unitasker. We have a set of telescoping forks that we take camping with us for making s’mores. We use them with backyard fire pits, too. We have young children and make sure they are supervised around the open flames. They don’t take up much space, though.

  5. posted by Robin on

    I agree that this is a unitasker and is a pretty stupid gadget but we grew up using sharp sticks and I’ve yet to go to a campfire where children AREN’T roasting things on sticks. It’s a heck of a lot better to teach your child about fire than to simply never let them near it (until the day comes when they get near it when you’re not there).

  6. posted by Liz on

    Unitasker aside, is there really a difference between a “slow roasted” marshmallow and and rapidly-raosted one? (I suspect not)
    And I agree, finding and prepping your stick was half the fun as a kid.

  7. posted by Molly on

    You wouldn’t be able to light your marshmallow on fire with this. Hence, useless for me.

  8. posted by Ann on

    Young children, sugary foods, pointed objects and open flames are an integral part of summer for a lot of folks. This gadget is a little silly, and I’m betting it doesn’t wear well, but it’s no more a unitasker than the telescoping forks most people use.

    In areas with poison oak and or other noxious trees, telescoping forks are a wise precaution, even if they are unitaskers.

  9. posted by James on

    I envision a future Unitasker that features placing kids in a giant bubble so no harm can possibly come to them.

  10. posted by liz (a different one) on

    So, as a city girl, I can’t roast marshmallows in my backyard. City kids need to learn a different method (just as dangerous as sticks in a fire, but in a very different way) – marshmallows on metal forks, roasted over the gas burner on the stovetop. You just have to be careful to not touch the fork with your lips, as it makes for a nasty little burn that’s difficult to explain without looking like a complete idiot. Especially when you’re 42 at the time. (Ahem.)

  11. posted by robert45678 on

    How is roasting a marshmallow on this any more dangerous than roasting it on a sharp stick?

    This is a thing about psychology that has always fascinated me. Cannot put it into words.

    It’s almost like people wring their hands over this sort of stuff so that they don’t have to face that there is no safety in life. So they don’t have to face that there are probably billions of children who are in abusive homes or who are starving to death. If we worry about the safety of marshmallows on flaming sharp sticks, then we can pretend that that is the most dangerous thing that children face?

    I don’t know?

  12. posted by WilliamB on

    Liz –

    A slow roasted marshmallow is gooey and not crispy at all. A fast roasted one has dark brown bits. A really fast roasted one is in flames than is charred. They all taste different.

    Many, many childhood arguments have been had over the best method to roast a marshmallow! (At least where and when I grew up.)

  13. posted by Anita on

    “You know what goes great together? Young children, sharp toys used to stab things, sugary foods, and open flames!”

    So… I guess Erin’s son is never going camping, then?

  14. posted by momof3 on

    Even been camping with a bunch of little suburban girls who have never been away from home for a overnight while at a local Girl Scout camping weekend???

    Sharp Sticks? No….Long Handled forks. Open Flame, of course, but only after each and every troop of girls underwent a session of camp fire safety, leaders and parents included.

    What a hoot. Nothing like sending little girls who have never been away from home overnight off to bed with sugar highs from s’mores!!

    At my home, we use the long handled BBQ fork over the open flame in our portable fire pit. Nothing like a s’more on a summer night.

  15. posted by Margaret on

    Technically, this is a multi tasker. It is a roasting fork (and I also use those — keep them in the camper — I hate having to find sticks and sharpen them) AND a toy – because the kids can pretend they are fishing while they roast their hot dogs. I’ve actually been thinking about getting these for the kids.

  16. posted by Balton Rown on

    I don’t see why a telescoping fork is a unitasker.

    You can eat with it and you can use it as a chalkboard pointer.

    What more could you want?

  17. posted by The Tiny Homestead on

    if only it were battery powered. I don’t like that you still have to crank the handle to rotate the fork. :D

  18. posted by Carmen on

    I agree that the telescoping forks are not a uni-tasker. You can also use them to roast sausages and hot dogs to eat before your s’mores dessert! I love our telescoping forks – they’re plenty long for when the fire is hot but when you push them together again they are compact and easy to fit into our TINY camper!

    There always seems to be a debate on the proper technique of roasting marshmallows. There are the “stab the marshmallow in the flame until it starts on fire and turns black” group (they are so wrong! :D ) and the other group – the “roast ‘em slow and high above the flame until the insides are all gooey and it’s ready to fall off the stick”.

  19. posted by Leslie on

    I’m not sure why this would be any more dangerous than a standard roasting fork or a stick (especially since you have to sharpen a stick first with a pocket knife). And yes, it definitely matters whether it’s slow roasted or fast. Most of my friends seem to be of the “light it on fire and blow it out and it’s done” school, but my mother is the queen of the slow roasted marshmallow – evenly golden brown and crispy on the outside, melty and gooey on the inside. I’ve never quite managed to match her skill. And since I’m a fan of the evenly roasted marshmallow, I actually think the crank is kind of cool.

  20. posted by Trav on

    I also like that it’s plastic. Because that goes well with open fire…

  21. posted by schmei on

    1) We’re all a bit cranky this week, aren’t we? I thought the opening line was comedy gold.

    2) The telescoping forks aren’t unitaskers – they work for hot dogs, too.

    3) Thanks, Trav, for pointing out the obvious – this is PLASTIC. Molten plastic in the hand seems less safe for kids than a stick or fork. And I kind of think the process of roasting marshmallows is fun enough for kids without the added spinny thing.

    4) As a former Girl Scout camp counselor, I advocate the golden brown, slow-roast, hot-coal method. This requires patience developed only over the course of roughly seven thousand s’more campfires with campers. But it makes for a delicious marshmallow.

  22. posted by Anita on

    @Trav & schmei — I thought the same thing… then I took a closer look because I couldn’t believe they’d be so inane as to make the whole thing out of plastic. Turns out I was right, the handle is plastic, but the actual fork part is metal.

  23. posted by Cal on

    The plastic aspect of this bothers me more than the novelty itself. If it were made out of metal, it would be about as useful as a roasting fork (and more entertaining with the reel).

    We never bothered with sticks at the GS camp I used to work at. We used wire coat hangers that we snipped and stretched out. They were reusable, ran no risk of poison ivy, and were fast to hand out (meaning no pouting kids who couldn’t find a proper stick).

    This urban camper makes her s’mores in the toaster oven now.

  24. posted by Lesley on

    This is hilarious. The crank is so funny … we wouldn’t want junior to have to do the hard work of rotating, would we?!?!

    Sticks were mentioned above. What about wire hangers (unpainted, of course). Those were always our marshmallow roasters of choice.

  25. posted by melpy on

    We use a charcoal grill on vacation for s’mores since we don’t camp or have fire pit access. Never tried on our gas grill.

    I don’t think the telescope fork is a unitasker, you can also use it for anything you use a fork.

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