In a thread about home grain grinders, IheartToCook wrote:
I think it's good because then you don't have to have a piece of equipment for only one use... this one is very multi-purpose.
Frankly, I don’t understand the fascination people have, today, with multi-task tools.
I know that Alton Brown is always pushing this concept. He’s often stated, categorically, that he won’t have a single-use tool in his kitchen. And then he goes on to tell us all about things like waffle irons, and deep-fat fryers, and pasta makers, and equipment like that---single use every one of them. And, of course, he’s always seeing single-use (sometimes one-of-a-kind, custom built) tools on Iron Chef and insisting, “I’ve got to get one of those!”
What we find, on close examination, is that the number one proponent of multi-tasking doesn’t quite believe it himself. So why have so many other cooks jumped on the bandwagon?
Don’t get me wrong. I have no objections to a tool that can perform more than one function. What bothers me is the idea that multi-tasking has become the primary criteria for choosing it. That’s just counter-productive, IMO.
When you get down to it, the only essential multi-task tool in the kitchen is a good knife. If you have a task that cannot be accomplished with it, then you need a specific tool. That’s the whole point of specialized equipment---it performs a job you either cannot do with other tools, or does it more efficiently.
You can grind grains with other tools; with food processors and some blenders, for instance. But they do not do the job as effectively as a mill which is designed for that specific job.
In the original thread, for instance, the OP is looking for a mill to grind rice and chickpeas into low gluten flour. So, yes, you can “grind” those products in a food processor or blender. But you will not get the kind of flour a mill produces.
I am not dissing Iheart. Just using this as an example of my point. There are reasons why many, perhaps most, home cooks have both a food processor and a blender; why we use meat grinders instead of the food processor; why we have deep fat fryers, and waffle irons, and both hand mixers and stand mixers, and pasta makers, and toasters. Indeed, the whole market for immersion blenders is based on the fact that they are a better tool, for certain jobs, than the countertop blender. So it’s not a matter of choosing one or the other, it’s a matter of having both, and using the one that best does the job at hand.
There are, to be sure, reasons why multi-task equipment makes sense. Storage space is certainly one of them. And cost factors enter into the equation as well. If a particular task is something you only do occasionally, then a multi-tasker that performs it almost as good as a dedicated tool is surely all you need.
What I am saying is that if there’s a job you do on a regular basis, then a dedicated tool makes much more sense than a multi-tasker that doesn’t do the job near as well. And that if you choose a particular tool only because it’s a multi-tasker then you might be selling yourself short.