Feed yourself with your iPad – not by using it is an extravagant pie slicer (tempting as it might be) but by using it is a portable, all-in-one, instant access pass to a world of culinary information. With a few taps you can find not one but dozens of recipes for anything you can possibly imagine.
Then, with equal ease, you can find alternative ways to make the same dish, find affordable places to buy ingredients and watch a video of the dish being made.
There’s only one flaw, really – you need one free hand to use the iPad, and you can’t easily hold it while cooking your favorite dish. Fortunately, there are ways to get around the problem while keeping your tablet clean and functional. Here are ten accessories that every iChef must consider.
Steve Jobs famously believed that adding a stylus to a touch device meant the device wasn’t working as it should, but he probably wasn’t trying to cook with it. A stylus can be useful in the kitchen because it adds a barrier of space between your iPad’s screen and your dirty hands (or your dirty screen and clean hands, either way). Not any old stick will work with the iPad, but the Prepara iPrep comes with a stylus specifically built to work with a capacitive touchscreen tablet.
The stand is nifty, too, as it’s small, simple, supports portrait or landscape orientation and folds away easily when unneeded. Despite the name, a number of Android tablets will fit in the stand as well. You’ll pay around $25 for the iPrep.
Most stands sit on your table or counter top, which means they can get in the way if you have a modest kitchen. The CTA 2-in-1 offers flexibility by including both tabletop and cabinet mounting options. If you choose the latter you’ll benefit from the stand’s long arm which can be adjusted so your iPad is in the perfect position. This stand can be used with numerous devices besides the iPad, and it sells for about $30.
Another way to keep your iPad out of the way is to integrate it with something else, and that’s exactly what the cutting board stand does. Built from bamboo and featuring a stylus, this product keeps your tablet close at hand while you prepare food for a recipe. This stand is built with 2nd to 4th generation iPads in mind but it should work with most other tablets. You’ll need about $35 to snag the stylus model or $25 for a more basic board the ditches the stylus and places your tablet closer to your counter top.
Sometimes the simplest solution is the best, and stands certainly don’t get much simpler than this. The Kitchen iPad Rack is nothing but a piece of acrylic with a lip that holds your iPad in place. This makes its $28 price tag seem steep, but this stand benefits from ease of installation and transparent design which ensures the stand won’t detract from your kitchen’s aesthetic. It’s a stand for chefs who like to do more with less.
Steelie Pedestal Kit ($40)
The Steelie is a sleek, simple stand that mounts magnetically to the back of your iPad and holds firmly in position using a small weighted base with a ball joint that makes adjusting your tablet’s position a cinch. This stand’s tiny size and durable construction make it great for traveling chefs. Price is the only downside, as the Steelie rarely sells for less than $40.
Belkin Fridge Mount ($13)
Mounting your iPad to your fridge makes using it a bit more difficult, as you can’t position it to your liking, but the affordable $13 price of Belkin’s accessory makes it tempting if your fridge is in an ideal position. You can also use this as a holder for your tablet when it’s not in use. Note, however, that it only works with 2nd, 3rd and 4th generation versions of the standard iPad. Air and Mini owners are out of luck.
iPad Chef Sleeves ($20)
A stand will keep your iPad out of harm’s way, but what happens when you touch it to scroll towards the next ingredient in your recipe? You get it dirty. Fortunately, the iPad Chef Sleeve offers a barrier against these contaminants, but it’s still thin enough to provide full use of the touchscreen. This is a must-have for any serious chef. A pack of 25 sleeves will set you back $20.
Prep Pad ($150)
Designed by the same company that created the Chef Sleeve, the Prep Pad is a large, wireless cutting board and scale that can handle all your food preparation needs. In its most basic sense the Prep Pad is merely a very fancy cutting board, but one connected to your iPad it’s capable of making very precise food measurements. This minimizes the time and hassle of moving food to and from a separate food scale. You’ll pay a high price for this convenience, though, as the Prep Pad retails for $150. You’ll need an iPad 3 or newer to connect with it via Bluetooth.
iDevices iGrill ($99)
There are a lot of accessories for the iPad, but this is the only one that will actually help you execute cooking. The iGrill system can link up to four temperature probes to your iPad for easy monitoring, which is perfect for slow-cooking. An app on your phone will alert you when your food is done or if anything seems to be going wrong.
This is another device that works with Android despite its Apple-inspired name. iGrill works with all iPhones supporting iOS 7 or newer, and “many” Android 4.3 phones with Bluetooth 4.0. The iGrill 2 (the current model) is $99. If you’re on a budget you can grab the iGrill Mini, but it only supports a single sensor.
The speaker on the iPad is fairly loud, and in a quiet room it’s more than adequate. Background noises like sizzling pans, boiling kettles and running water can drown out the iPad, however, making the speaker impossible to hear. You’ll likely need a Bluetooth speaker to hear podcasts or videos while you cook.
There are many options, of course, but the ECOXBT by Grace Digital is particularly well suited to the kitchen. It features a rugged, waterproof exterior with handles that makes it easy to move without worry that grime or water will break it. You can learn to cook (and make mistakes) without worrying you’ll sludge up your speaker. The fact that it connects via Bluetooth means you can use one of the many stands available without requiring access to the 3.5mm jack. The ECOXBT typically sells for $80.
These devices won’t make you a great chef, of course, but they will help you on your journey towards culinary perfection – or acceptance, as the case may be. With your iPad in the kitchen, and these accessories, you’ll have no shortage of access to the web’s finest cooking resources, all accessible without worry that you’ll damage your tablet.
Do you use your iPad in the kitchen? What do you use to protect it?
Image Credit: Flickr/Nlsundog