The iPad is the closest thing to an electronic Swiss Army Knife I have; I use it for just about every computing and digital entertainment task I have. From productivity to consumption, there’s little I can’t do as well with my iPad that I could with a laptop (one caveat; I do use a Bluetooth keyboard if I’m going to be typing more than a paragraph). Even my favorite pundit Stephen Colbert has found new an innovative uses for the iconic tablet. The device’s portability allows me to do these tasks in places I may not have before; my last post was written at the dojo as I waited for students to come in for class, and the foundation of this post was written at my favorite coffee shop. I can whip up spreadsheets and charts in minutes during meetings, keep multiple lines of communication open simultaneously, and share my latest meme obsession with family and friends as I find them. Thanks to the previously reviewed Plex media center app I can even access my ever-growing movie and TV collection anywhere I have network access.
The one place I find my iPad unexpectedly useful is in the kitchen. The tablet’s entertainment functions are the first thing that would come to mind if I had been asked about using it in the kitchen prior to actually doing so, but it’s far more versatile that just acting as a video and music jukebox. While I’ve grown to love cooking, my skills aren’t instinctive- I teeter on the shoulders of culinary giants. The iPad is my portal to a wealth of gastronomic knowledge and inspiration.
My first inkling of the iPad’s kitchen potential was via some of my favorite food RSS feeds. One of my go-to resources for something to inspire me past a bad case of the food blahs was to peruse other poster’s ideas and musings. Just about anything you’d need can be found there: recipes, critiques, advice, and tips on exotic ingredients. My current favorite is Chef John’s Food Wishes- his video recipes are both instructional and entertaining, and he’s got a great presentation persona.
Not into RSS? No problem- the iTunes App Store has plenty for you as well. There are countless recipe books masquerading as apps. The most used cookbook app on my iPad is Mark Bittman‘s How To Cook Everything (and the app is a steal- $9.99 as opposed to $20 on Amazon for the same version, and the app includes handy timers and links to substitute ingredients and similar recipes). There are numerous fantastic free apps as well- Epicurious and AllRecipes, for example. Specialized apps can be had for just about any palate or culinary need, from Weight Watchers to some of the most decadent desserts and baked goods.
For those of you that want a more conventional experience, there are several avenues you can take. The iBooks store, Amazon’s Kindle store, and Barnes and Noble’s Nook store all have more ebooks than I could possibly review.
Whatever source of instruction you choose, the next step is how best to utilize it. I’ve relied on a Philips DS8550 iPad/iPhone dock for both sound (and it truly excels in that category) and as a stand. The process is a simple one: start up Pandora or the album of choice in the Music app, then toggle over to my recipe app, blog post, or ebook. Want something simpler or less expensive? Stands and cradles abound for the iPad in all manner of configurations: simple countertop stands, mounted arms that can hold onto a counter or be mounted under cabinets, even suction mounts that adhere to any smooth surface.
Take advantage of the power and versatility of your iOS device. Regardless of what you crave, the iPad can help you make it- and if necessary, help you find someone to help you enjoy it!