I Have Taken a Lover, the iPad

The One (Who Brings Me Love, Joy, and Happiness) likes to joke that I have a boyfriend: my Apple laptop. His comment, wrapped in a crackling tempura coating of snark, is usually lobbed my way if my surfing squashes one of our regularly scheduled activities, like betting on which people featured on “Antiques Roadshow” will fake excitement when auction estimates of their family treasures don’t live up to their expectations. Although I hate to admit it, when the computer blinkers are on, it’s like a stolen glance from across the room. Suddenly I’m sucked into wormhole after wormhole of technological eye candy, bewitched by the pixel, lost in the throes of m4v grandeur.

I’ve been hearing this you-have-a-boyfriend rant for years now, ever since I bought my first laptop in 1993. And if The One’s comment is true, then my past is littered with all sorts and sizes of boy toys: the hairy brute with tats on his arms and legs (my G4 desktop tower), a dandy with a penchant for bright colors (my tangerine iMac G3), and my current fascination, the sleek, handsome, and understated silver fox (my 17-inch MacBook Pro).

But if my laptop is my boyfriend, then my iPad is definitely my lover. You know the kind—that slender iTalian in a black Armani suit who has a gun-slinger walk, is just a tad bit louche, lights your cigarette by bringing it up to his, and haunts your reverie years after the last time you tumbled out of his bed.

I was on the fence about buying one. Renee, our deputy editor, and I went to the new Apple Store on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, and after several minutes of fiddling with it, my conclusion: It’s just a big iPhone that doesn’t make calls. But considering I made such a public to-do about computers in the kitchen, I figured I better get one and see what it could do. So I bought the cheapest model, the one with no extra memory and no G3—something I’d never done in my 26-year infatuation with Apple, and which I now regret—and loaded it with apps.

For our first tryst, though, I wanted it naked: just me, it, and a recipe. So I pulled myself away from the games (although I’m utterly addicted to Angry Birds, Words with Friends, and the NY Times crossword puzzles). I ignored the reader. (I know I’ll be considered the devil’s spawn, but I love it. I don’t care if I never hold a real book in my hands again.) And I forgot the movies, music, and GPS. I wanted to see what this sexy little number could do in the kitchen.

I decided upon the ultimate chocolate chip cookies from this site. Of course, before our orgy of chocolate began, I insisted we be safe—so I covered the iPad in a computer condom (i.e., plastic wrap) and put it right in the middle of the action, among the sugar and flour canisters, eggs, butter, and vanilla bottle.

The first thing I did was let it entertain me. Kind of like pole dancing, but for techno-cooks. I pressed play on the embedded video and watched myself come to life and teach two very energetic TV hosts how to make the cookies. Then I ripped through the recipe for the six-thousandth time, effortlessly scrolling down, enlarging the text with a simple diagonal swipe of my thumb and index finger—no fumbling for reading glasses any longer. Then the real test: Oops! Look, I plopped flour on the iPad. Holy go to war! I spilled sugar everywhere. Jiminy Cricket! I cracked two eggs on it and then tipped them into the bowl of the mixer. Oh, no! I accidentally dribbled vanilla extract all over my face in the video. The plastic-wrapped iPad took everything I could literally throw at it and came through unscathed. What a stud! I lifted the new kitchen savior from the countertop war zone, unwrapped it, and slid it back into its ultra-slim case.

It was pure, utter, unadulterated cooking cybersex. If I smoked, I would have lit up.

I’m convinced: The iPad is the new iTBoy, or iTGirl depending upon your predilection, of the cooking world. Imagine bringing it into the kitchen (or for that matter the garden, or workshop, or craft room [do people really have craft rooms?]) and letting it bring digital cookbooks or magazines to life with rich, full-color images, streaming video, captivating audio—all instructing, coaxing, and seducing us in the mysterious ways of the kitchen. And just think of the hundreds of books this marvel of a machine can hold. No more searching through bookcases for that favorite cannelloni recipe. No more pages stuck together with crusty egg whites.

This isn’t the wishful thinking of a dewy-eyed Applict (an Apple Addict). Between you me and the beauty parlor wall, I’ve been told that a major NYC publisher is planning to publish not only a hardcover version of an upcoming book by a “play-ah author,” but also an iPad version, complete with all the photos from the book, plus tons ‘o video and audio. Yes, you heard it here first.

A week after our liaison on the countertop, I’m positively smitten. During the day, while working on my now huge, frumpy hausfrau of a laptop, I wear a secret smile, knowing I’ll soon be able to steal a few minutes with my iPad. Oh, what love triangle have I wrought?

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Comments
Comments
  1. Maria Peplowski says:

    David,
    I love, love, love your writing. You always make me smile.

    Maria

  2. Franklin Martin says:

    David,
    I loved this story. I have to say I’ve taken the same lover. I am building a recipe file right on my iPad. I research recipes online and then cut and paste them into the notepad app. Now with the swipe of a finger I can go through my virtual cookbook. Thank you for the condom idea. I will definitely use it this weekend.

    Enjoy your week.
    Frankie

    • David Leite says:

      Frankie, thanks. What a great idea using the notepad app. Gotta try that. It’s like a personal clipping service.

  3. Terry says:

    David – loved this iPad article! I just went to the Apple store this past Sunday to buy one & they, of course, are on back order. It should be in sometime this week and I specifically wanted one for exactly the same reasons you noted — using in the kitchen! Thanks for validating what I’ve suspected all along – the iPad is the perfect kitchen lover!

    Terry

    • David Leite says:

      Thanks, Terry. I knew there were fellow lovers out there. One thing: definitely go for the best you can afford. I so regret buying the least expensive.

  4. Winnie says:

    That is such a funny piece David! P.S. some people do indeed have craft rooms (Martha Stewart, does, anyway…)

  5. Julia says:

    Great post! I need to get myself a lover eventually. I know it will break my laptop’s heart but I have enough love for both.

    • David Leite says:

      Julia, your laptop will get over it, trust me. (Although I sometimes imagine it’s sitting there feeling like the mop in those Swiffer commercials…)

  6. David says:

    David, wonderful article – as usual! I’m fighting the urge to get an iPad, this didn’t help!

  7. Ling Teo says:

    LOL. Fabulous!! :D

    Ling

  8. Karletta says:

    Well, that sealed the deal. Apple store here I come…What did I do with those Dunhills?

    Thanks, David!

    K

  9. RisaG says:

    David, I agree the IPad is amazing. I am typing on one right now. My husband bougt one and said it was his and only his but when the cat is away…

    His one rule is that I don’t take it into the kitchen.

    So I type from the bedroom but that is great too.

    • David Leite says:

      RisaG, tell your husband to buy you a computer condom (or slip is iPAd into a Ziploc bag. It’s the best protection.

      • RisaG says:

        I’ve been saying he has to get one but he still insists it is his and I shouldn’t be using it. I am saving up for my own now. When I get one, I will get a sleeve for it and then I can do what i want. If I want to cook from it, I keep it in the livingroom, a hop-skip-and a jump to the kitchen. What he doesn’t know doesn’t hurt him!

  10. Elise F says:

    I am afraid I too have taken the same lover—it’s going to be named as the correspondent in many a divorce action I fear. As soon as I figure out how to get all my files on there, it is never leaving the kitchen. The only problem is getting it away from my son who is obsessed with plants vs. aliens. In the time he is using it to play that, how about a game on words with friends, lol

  11. Martha in KS says:

    Risque little blog today, David. I loved it! I may have to invest in a boy-toy of my own. Someone should invent a line of heavy duty “computer condoms.” Entrepreneurs – ready, set, go!

  12. Hi, David,

    I’m so glad you’re enjoying the iPad. You might be interested to hear that my son Nathaniel (the young fellow watching World Cup soccer with me in my essay on your site, “I Don’t Know Why I Love Lisbon,” works at the Apple headquarters now and is one of the team leaders for the iBook application. And he just turned 23!

    I too love my iPad, though not in a carnal way–as one friend recently observed, “Of course you love your iPad, it’s your grandchild.”

    And I do a lot of cooking now with the iPad, the recipe front and center while music plays on my iPod application. Heaven!

  13. Frannie says:

    I thought of you today when I heard Rod Stewart singing “Have I Told Lately” – The One, The One.

  14. Allison Parker says:

    I love this piece even more now that I see it in its final form on the site. Of course I’m beset by envy and am working my mind furiously to rationalize a trip to the Apple Store, though the high-end version (which I dub the “maxiPad”) is probably out of the question. The other thing I want to say is how FABULOUS the illustration is! A great example of writing and visual art complementing each other. Thanks for the ideas and the laughs.

  15. Renee says:

    You’re such an enabler.
    Soon. Soon.
    It’s probably the only techy toy that has made me drool in the last decade.

    And I would think that someone clever with tools could fashion a frame of some sort to hold it on a kitchen wall (or, with magnets, on a fridge) to keep it off the counter.

  16. Sylvia says:

    I haven’t actually been able to play with an iPad yet, but this is another amazing review that I am reading. I am praying that I get one for Christmas this year, because it looks so awesome!

  17. Ricka Doerr says:

    You made me smile all the way and definitely wanting an iPad in my future.

    • David Leite says:

      Ricka, caution! iPads are wily, unpredictable, addictive lovers. They have no regard for your priorities or commitments. They just demand, demand, demand. Oh, but it’s so worth it.

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