While there are a plethora of almost-pointless, single use kitchen gadgets that would make Alton Brown shudder, the humble immersion blender is not one of them. It's genuinely useful. There are a lot of dishes that need to have a consistent texture — like soups, hummus, and salad dressings — that don't totally work in a conventional blender or food processor. So if you want to make, for instance, whipped cream (or meringue!) without whisking your forearms sore, you need an immersion blender.