May 13, 2010

Shiny. Want.

This new resolve to cook more is making me shop more. For food, yes, but also for kitcheny things. Like, last week I had to get new canisters in which to store the lentils, couscous, and quinoa I bought. (IKEA is marvelous for these things. I love my DROPPAR series canisters. [My local IKEA has more of the line available than the website does.])

What with cooking two recipes from the same cookbook on Sunday night and wrestling to keep it out of the mess but in a readable place, and the thinkage associated with "where would I put an iPad to keep it accessible but safe while I cooked", it occurred to me that there was a single solution for both print cookbooks and iPads, and it didn't necessarily involve installing anything on anything or buying parts or assembling things. Shopping, yes. Handymanning, no.

I speak, of course, of the cookbook stand. The right cookbook stand holds your book open, holds it up off the counter so it doesn't get (terribly) wet or dirty, possibly even protects the open pages, and possibly even looks good doing it.

I've had a few of the wrong kind of cookbook stand in my life. The beanbag lap desk, for instance. Good for height and adjustability. Bad for resistance to spills of anything other than water. Thank goodness the lap desk was a fifty-cent garage sale find.

Or the acrylic cookbook stand, which turns out to be a boring old piece of impossible-to-store, too-ugly-to-display plastic whose base limits its usefulness to a limited range of cookbook sizes. It's no match for your Encyclopedia of Cooking, I can tell you firsthand. Also, you can't turn the page without taking the book out to do it. Which is OK if your whole recipe is on a single page, but not all of my cookbooks are like that. Also, if you, for instance. Forget that it's on top of your fridge because that's the only place you could find big enough to stash it, and knock it to the floor from a height of six feet? It will break. Or at least a piece will break off it. And if you store it on your fridge, you'll have to clean it every time you use it, because the plastic attracts dust like candy does fat kids.

The cookbook stand I want is the kind you could put your hardcover Joy of Cooking on and leave it there, because it's solid and strong and nice to look at. It's got a pedestal base for minimal footprint, and it elevates the cookbook at least a couple of inches off whatever surface it's on. It doesn't melt or burn, and wipes off with a damp cloth. It's made of cast iron and looks a lot like this one, from Robert The store is in Chipping Campden, the village my sister-in-law lives in, and we drop in for a drool every time we're in the UK. The Beloved is going to the UK in September; I could get him to pick one up. Except that it does weigh several pounds, and might be a strain on the luggage allowance. And, you know, it's only May right now.

I did find this one on, which is quite similar in some ways and is about two-thirds the price (allowing for the GBP/USD/CAD exchange rates, and not factoring in shipping). And it's pretty. And it has those weight things to keep the right page in the cookbook. It's not angle-adjustable like the Robert Welch, and I'm not sure how important that is.

I think either of these items would hold a single recipe card, a magazine, any softcover cookbook, pretty much any hardcover cookbook no matter how thick, and an iPad with equal flair and aplomb.

What do you use to keep your cookbooks/mags/iPad safe while you're working from a recipe? Or do you even bother?


  1. I don't favourite recipes are usually the most splattered and stain ridden. As well, I keep my extra small laptop on the probably takes up less space, but is less sylish, than those cookbook stands :) could buy a music stand and not take up any counterspace?

  2. I've had such bad luck with attempts to keep my cookbooks safe that I mostly don't bother, either.

    A music stand isn't a bad idea, but I'm not sure it could take the weight of more than a magazine. I must google them and see if you can get sturdier ones than I remember from band class in school.

  3. iPhone. Brilliant for recipes. :)

  4. That works, too. And the case for mine even came with a stand, perhaps for just this purpose!