How we tested
Cooking from an open cookbook can present real challenges: The book may not lie flat, pages flip over, splatters soil the pages, and pages can be difficult to turn with slippery hands. Short of photocopying the recipe or rewriting it on a separate sheet of paper, the obvious solution is to use a cookbook holder.
Arguably, any book holder can act as a cookbook holder, but we felt that at the very least a cookbook holder should have a shield that protects pages from splatters. Making this our baseline requirement for purchase, we ordered several candidates and evaluated them according to the following criteria:
SIZE: A quality cookbook holder should accommodate a book of any size, regardless of whether the recipe is in the front, middle, or back of the book.
EASE OF USE: It should be easy to insert cookbooks into and remove them from the holder. (This is especially important if the recipes run to a second page.)
STABILITY: The holder should keep the book stable, even on a wet surface.
SHIELD EFFECTIVENESS: The shield should protect the entire page from splatters, and the cook should have no trouble reading through the shield.
DURABILITY: The shield should be stain- and scratch-resistant and easy to clean.
STORAGE: Holders that folded flat for easy storage were preferred over those that did not.
After testing, one holder trumped the field, earning a highly recommended rating. It remained stable while holding books of all sizes and weights. Inserting and removing a book was a snap—the front cover is hinged, allowing the user to fold it down to insert a book—and the holder also stores easily—the back support detaches to lie flat on the base, and the shield folds flat as well.