The only thing that has stopped us from buying an iPad -- besides lack of money -- is our paranoid fear that we'll use it in the kitchen and accidentally knock it into the simmering pot of chicken stock. Or helplessly smudge it with flour-dusted fingerprints. Or absentmindedly put the milk in the sleeve and the iPad in the fridge. We rest assured, though, knowing that when we finally do get around to picking up that beautiful portable screen, Belkin already will have resolved our fears with its nifty kitchen accessories for the iPad.
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The first, and most likely to cause anxiety, is the iPad 2 Fridge Mount ($40). "Maximum strength" strips are attached "securely" to the fridge or any other flat surface; the iPad is snapped into the mount, and its Smart Cover magnets help hold it in place. We trust that these low-tech command strips are strong enough to hold on to your very high-tech device, even when your kid slams the fridge door shut. Again and again. The (safer) alternative is Belkin's iPad Cabinet Mount ($50), which snaps the iPad into an adjustable arm that can be clamped securely onto your cabinet or shelf.
Belkin also offers the "Chef Stand," essentially a cookbook stand for your iPad so you can conveniently refer to a recipe or read Ruth Bourdain's latest tweet while cooking. It's not too different than most other iPad stands out there, but does include a handy Stylus pen so you can smudge that instead of the screen.
Alternatively, you can McGyver your own accessory. For example, you can simply throw your iPad into a plastic bag and prop it up with a small thrift store business card holder. This is an especially handy tip if you have a Mark Bittman-sized kitchen, precious little counter space, and don't mind dinner guests wondering why your pretty iPad is stuffed in a Ziploc Double Zipper Freezer Bag.
Of course, none of these -- Fridge Mount, Chef Stand, Ziploc -- would be worth the time or trouble if the tool they're designed to protect wasn't worth it. And for that, and other ingenious tools, inventions, and reinventions, we have Steve Jobs to thank. May he rest in peace. And may you keep his vision of the future out of the chicken stock.