Unitasker Wednesday: Peel-a-Meal

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

First things first, go and read this wonderful article from yesterday’s New York Times about professional chefs and the unitaskers that languish in their home kitchens, “Must-Have Gadgets for the Kitchen? Think Again.” It is so comforting to know that even the highly trained get sucked into buying unnecessary gadgets and gizmos. Also, don’t forget to come back!

Welcome back, and now onto this week’s doozy of a unitasker. It doesn’t slice, it doesn’t dice, and it most certainly doesn’t julianne. In fact, the reviews for the Peel-a-Meal indicate it doesn’t even de-skin six to eight potatoes very well in 30 minutes:

The Amazon reviews are pretty tough on this device, and I kind of felt bad for it after reading all of them. (I have a soft spot in my heart for poor designs. It’s a good thing I don’t work at the US patent office.) Apparently, it only works on perfectly round potatoes, like Yukon Golds. It doesn’t work with Russets or even on Yukon Golds that have dimples in them — you still have to pull out your hand peeler and labor away on the indented areas. Since it only does six or eight at a time and it takes close to 30 minutes to peel that small amount of potatoes and you still have to touch-up the potatoes after the machine runs AND it’s supposedly really loud … a regular peeler hardly seems like much work in comparison. Plus, a hand potato peeler is super easy to clean in the dishwasher.

If you have a large family, everyone can pitch in and peel their own potatoes in less than 30 minutes. If you run a restaurant, you should really be using a professional grade peeler to process the load and be up to code with your equipment. People who have arthritis could probably benefit from a Rotato Potato Peeler, which at least looks like it takes up less counter space and has significantly more positive reviews. Oh, Peel-a-Meal, you have such a cute name that I’m sorry you don’t work quickly or efficiently or really do much of anything except for take up space and make a lot of noise.

23 Comments for “Unitasker Wednesday: Peel-a-Meal”

  1. posted by j on

    I just finished reading the mentioned article in the Times – – and thought of a favorite Wednesday activity – checking this week’s Unitasker.

    And how about this? Eat your potatoes WITH the peel! Washed well they are easy AND more nutritious.

  2. posted by Marrena on

    Interesting NYTimes article, but wow I couldn’t disagree more with a pressure cooker as unitasker–I use mine for EVERYTHING. Beans, vegetables, making stock from bones and chicken carcasses–it is the most used thing in my kitchen, aside from my knives.

  3. posted by JustGail on

    I’m glad the professionals also fall to the call of miracle gadgets sometimes.

    In my house, unless the peels are particularly rough and thick, they stay on. Them that whines about peels can do the peeling.

  4. posted by Koji Kabuto on

    So I went to check the Rotato at Amazon and they recommended this too: A corn cob cutter. LOL. I’ve been doing it wrong!


  5. posted by Amanda on

    I love on that NYT article the “advertisement” for the Bass-O-Matic from the old SNL skit!

  6. posted by chacha1 on

    JustGail, I don’t peel potatoes either. 🙂 Life is too short!

  7. posted by Matt Petty on

    This mechanical Apple Peeler does potatoes too: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obi.....tterer-20/

  8. posted by Theresa Finnigin on

    Too funny! Great post. As an organizer, we’d call that clutter. 😉

  9. posted by infmom on

    I honestly can’t remember the last time I peeled a potato. We eat them “as is.”

  10. posted by Robin on

    What surprises me is the differences between the 5 star reviews and the 1 star reviews. Based on the 5 star reviews, I TOTALLY want this – at least for the times when I’m doing a lot (like for Thanksgiving – need to peel a mountain of potatoes and a mountain of apples) so throwing the potatoes in this thing and letting it handle the peeling while I do other stuff would be great. Based on the 1 start review, it’s awful. What gives???

  11. posted by Nana on

    “you don’t work quickly or efficiently or really do much of anything except for take up space and make a lot of noise”…you say that like it’s a bad thing. LOL
    If there’s an annual prize, I suggest this device.

  12. posted by Julia on

    It seems more natural for professional chefs to have more unitaskers. When you’re a professional of any kind, you do the same tasks over and over again. So if a device can shave a minute off the time that one of those tasks take, it really builds up. And a professional is going to make an effort to stay current on new products, new ideas, new innovations and that often requires testing things out. That constant effort to get better is what separates professionals from technicians. And I’d bet professional chefs probably get some of these products for free, which only compounds the problem.

    On the other hand, when normal people buy unitaskers to help us with at-home tasks, I think we’re usually just fooling ourselves about how big a difference it can make.

    I think what makes professional chefs the same as the rest of us is that difficulty with throwing things out even after we decide it’s worthless.

  13. posted by Maya on

    I don’t see the point of peeling the potatoes at all, personally, and most especially not with a large noisy contraption. Want a quick easy way to peel potatoes? Don’t!

  14. posted by Tanya on

    In the first line in the linked article they mentioned an asparagus peeler. Not only do I not own one, I didn’t even know you were supposed to peel asparagus. Isn’t that a little fiddly?

  15. posted by writing all the time on

    I agree with the ‘why peel at all’ school.

    EXCEPT – I intensely dislike potato peel floating around in soup. Don’t know why, but there it is. So the only potatoes that get peeled here are destined for the soup pot, all the others get cooked with their little skins intact.

  16. posted by WilliamB on

    I agree with Marrena about the pressure cooker. A pressure cooker is a pot with a very good seal. So even if you don’t pressure cook you’ve got a very sturdy pot.

    90% of my pressure cooker use is for beans. I consider that worthwhile right there. Beans are healthy, inexpensive, easy on the environment. Their downside is how long it takes to cook but in a pressure cooker it takes less than 10 min, no presoaking required.

    I’ve never heard about the alleged nutritional hit. I’ll check the amazing Harold McGee when I get home.

  17. posted by priest's wife on

    who has room for this kind of gadget- even if it worked and it was used twice a week? My kitchen is pretty typical and pretty small. I really really want a vitamix- but I need to find the room (and the money, natch) before I am making a big purchase like that. This potato thing is total clutter

  18. posted by priest's wife on

    about beans and pressure cookers- my pressure cooker says “don’t cook foaming foods” -aren’t beans pretty foamy? How do you deal with this- I would love to speed up the bean cooking process

  19. posted by Erin on

    I am a pressure cooker owner and user. I disagreed with that part of the NY Times piece, too. But, if someone isn’t using it, clutter for him.

  20. posted by dede on

    Loved the NYTimes article. And I agree with the woman about the food processor. Hubby got me one for the same reason – seeing how much TV chefs use theirs. After 1 use I realized it was so much faster/easier to chop by hand. The FP is large and awkward and takes forever to clean and now sits at the back of a lower cupboard. I use it to turn croutons into bread crumbs.
    Turns out what I really needed (and still want) is a good mandoline slicer.

  21. posted by jantzie on

    I was just going to get a rock tumbler, but this seems much more exciting!

  22. posted by guest on

    Love the Times article. I have to disagree with the pressure cooker. My mother is using hers for 30 years now. Always been working great. She uses it several times a year (not weekly, not quite monthly but almost) I wouldn’t cook veggies in it but meat and beans are fine.

  23. posted by pan on

    pressure cooking beans:
    for beans (any dried beans) soak overnight and discard water before putting them in p. cooker, add cold water and make sure to put a teaspoon of olive oil and a a bay leaf , voila! why oil? it prevents from foaming.
    I use my p. cooker for all my dried beans such as pinto, cuban black, split, northern white, garbanzo etc etc. When they are cooked throw the water and you season them with onions, garlic, lime etc. cheap, nutritious and very tasty!!

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