The Advantages of Owning a Kindle In the Kitchen
Just a couple more shopping days before Christmas and for those of you who are looking for a fun gift to give your favorite home cook, the Kindle may be something to think about. It's one of the more popular gifts being given this year. Yes, it's popular with those who like to read books, magazines and newspapers but what about us cooks? Are there really any advantages to owning a Kindle and using it in the kitchen. I think so and here's why:
More and more people are turning to e-book readers as a way to streamline they way they buy and enjoy books. Although many individuals find that there simply is no way to replace the feel of paper turning in your hands, sales of e-book readers like the Amazon Kindle continue to grow.
The reasons are obvious: It's lightweight, portable, and can contain literally thousands of books on file. For readers, this is a great way to increase bookshelf space. For cooks, there are even more advantages. Using a Kindle in the kitchen allows you to have access to hundreds of cookbooks within minutes, and all at the touch of a button.
What is a Kindle?
The Kindle is Amazon's version of an e-book reader. Although there are other options on the market (most notably from Sony and Barnes & Noble), Kindle was the first one to make a real splash on the market. It is small (about the size of a paperback novel), thin, and lightweight. Much like an overgrown iPod, it is an electronic device that requires some care and charging.
However, unlike most electronic devices, its screen simulates the real ink of printed books, so there is no strain on the eyes, and most people can't tell the difference between the screen's words and printed words. "Pages" are turned with the click of a button, and the Kindle can connect to the Internet for immediate book purchase and download.
The Kindle can also store music, and has a read-aloud feature much like a book on tape. It is available in two primary formats: the original 6-inch screen and a larger, more newspaper-friendly Kindle DX, with a 9.7-inch screen. Most of the books you purchase for the Kindle are less expensive than what you can expect to pay for paperback or hardback versions.
Kindle Features for the Kitchen
Although the Kindle wasn't specifically designed for use in the kitchen (if that was the case, it certainly wouldn't be white!), a number of its features have immense value for use in the kitchen.
- File Size: The Kindle can hold thousands of books, including cookbooks. Whether this includes e-book cookbooks that you buy or files that you convert from your own computer, the result is one small, portable space to store all of your favorite recipes.
- Annotation Features: The Kindle allows its users to take notes and make "bookmarks" of pages. You can flag favorite recipes, note changes you've made to the original recipes, and even keep a permanent record of tricky conversions. Because the notes are made right on the files, they will never get lost or misplaced.
- Wireless "WhisperNet": The Kindle can connect to the Internet from almost anywhere a cellular connection can be made. It is an internal device, so you don't have to pay for a network or have wi-fi in order to tap into this feature. It allows you to browse and purchase books directly from your Kindle (via Amazon.com), and you can download and start using them immediately. Although you can connect to other websites, the Kindle isn't really designed for it, so it can be difficult to look at other cooking sites on the screen.
- Additional Features: The Kindle also has a number of features to make reading easier. You can increase the text size so that it is most comfortable for you. You can choose the audio feature, which will read aloud the text (including recipes) right to you. There is also the ability to view and zoom in to pictures, though the images will be in black and white, and can be somewhat grainy compared to the glossy, magazine-style pictures we've come to expect from cookbooks.
Despite the drawbacks, these features add up to an incredible tool in the kitchen. There are almost 900 cookbooks currently listed on the Amazon site for use with the Kindle, including the more popular ones from Food Network celebrities and current diet fads. (Don't worry - the Joy of Cooking is on there, too!) You can also put your favorite recipes into Word documents on your own computer and have them transferred to files that are compatible with the Kindle. It is a great way to organize your recipes so that they are all available at the touch of a button, and in one convenient location.
Using a Kindle in the Kitchen
Of course, like any electronic device, the Kindle is somewhat fragile. If you plan on using it in the kitchen, where food and liquids can threaten damages, you might want to consider a stand or even a protective cover that will keep it out of the heavy spill zone.
A Kindle provides a great way to streamline the way you cook and use recipes. If you have limited space to collect the cookbooks you want, are looking for a great organizational tool, or find great value in getting new recipes at the touch of a button, the Kindle could be right for you. And while that cake cools or your stew simmers, you can sit back, relax, and read the latest New York Times Bestseller.