I can’t resist problem-solving products. Especially if they come in under $20 (tax included). So when Jennifer at Surroundings showed me Umbra’s $15 Cooknook, an under-the-cabinet book holder, I had to try it.
The picture to the left is how the manufacturer illustrates its use. Notice how the cookbook floats in mid-air, keeping your workspace clear and not interfering with the cupboards above? Such is how I imagined events unfolding in my quirky kitchen.
This is my quirky-kitchen reality. I’ve had to install it under my microwave stand. Why? Because my under-the-cabinet fluorescent tube lighting doesn’t allow for the required 3/4″ clearance. Even if I moved the lighting units back, which I’m not sure is possible, the Cooknook would hit the jars on my counter ledge when I collapsed it after use.
On the plus side, it works as promised with standard-sized cookbooks like Nigel Slater’s Kitchen Diaries (as seen below). However, large books block my appliance garage, microwave and spice cupboard simultaneously. I can’t use my Essential Asian Cookbook without pre-planning.
So is it worth the price? The Cooknook performs as advertised, providing you have the right kitchen. It holds heavy cookbooks and tucks neatly away – just don’t store anything tall directly behind it. Oh yes, the magnetic front has quite a grip. Even heavy cardboard index cards won’t fall to the counter mid-recipe.
While the Cooknook doesn’t solve all my cookbook needs, I’m going to keep it. It’ll come in handy often enough and is unobtrusive when not in use. Besides, I stripped a couple of the screw heads during installation. Guess I’ll be reviewing extractors next…Google+