The Rise of the Jacketless Cookbook

Essentialnyt Have you noticed that more and more cookbooks are being published without dust jackets these days?

From skinny volumes like the new Paletas to beefier tomes like Noma and The Silver Spoon, cookbooks seem to increasingly be going naked, shorn of their usual dust covers.

Aaron Wehner, publisher at Ten Speed Press, which recently released Paletas and quite a few other jacketless cookbooks, says, "It's mostly a subjective feel thing—a jacket can sometimes seem a little formal and traditional for a particular book. Whereas POB [paper over board] can feel more contemporary, and a little less fussy."

Food writer and author Amanda Hesser is not a fan of dust jackets: "For a cookbook, a dust jacket really doesn’t make that much sense because it can easily get soaked with whatever you're cooking with and get beat up," she told me.

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In the Future, Your Refrigerator Will Be Made of Green Jelly

On July 14, Electrolux announced the eight finalists in the 2010 edition of its annual Electrolux Design Lab competition. This year, industrial design students were challenged to come up with appliance concepts for compact living in 2050, when, according to Electrolux, 74% of the global population is predicted to live in an urban environment.

Below are a selection of the concepts designed specifically for future kitchens.

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Scoop Sponge: The Sponge for Germaphobes

Scoopsponge The curvaceous design of Full Circle's Scoop Sponge minimizes contact with the sink or counter while it's not being used, increasing the speed at which it will dry out, thereby limiting opportunities for bacteria to fester in moist places.

$4.50 at


Shephard's Pie, Reinterpreted as Furniture

Montreal-based designers Thien and My Ta Trung's "Pâté Chinois" furniture series takes its inspiration from the Quebecois dish Pâté Chinois consisting of multiple layers of meat, potatoes, and vegetables, a French Canadian variation on the shephard's pie.


Edison Bulbs Ignite Debate

Filament bulbs, with their distinctive amber glow, are a favorite of restaurant designers, but they run counter to the eco-conscious sensibilities.


Department of Mashups: Bread Meets Sneakers

If only these concept shoes for And1's Wonder Mid sneakers really felt like walking on a loaf of Wonder Bread. Wouldn't that be wonder-ful?

According to the sneaker blog NiceKicks: "And1 speckled its Wonder with the multi-colored spots that are associated with the Wonder Bread Company. This colorway will likely never see a public release as it probably violates all sorts of Wonder Bread trademarks. It is, however, a clever combination that can be appreciated on a below-the-radar wear-test sample."

Via book of joe.


A Fork Fit for Noodles


It might look like one of those Japanese "unuseless" inventions, but the Calamete noodle fork is for real. Engineered specifically to enhance the journal of noodles from bowl to mouth, the design takes a standard fork and adds an extra short, stubby tine -- intended to simulate the thumb -- to help grab a forkful of noodles (or pasta).

$44 for a pair at Japan Trend Shop.


In the Future, We'll Be Drinking Remote Controlled Rainwater

Edl09_product_watercatcher_lowres-300x211A finalist in the 2009 Electrolux Design Lab competition, the "Water Catcher" (by Penghao Shan of China's Zhejiang Sci-tech University) sends out flying tennis ball-size robots into your neighborhood to collect rainfall. Once full, the roving balls automatically return to a homing tray for filtration, whereupon they may then be summoned to you to fill your glass with water.

A video, below, demonstrates how the concept might work.

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It Chops, It Zests, It Peels, It Scoops!

A concept for multi-use knives that combine the ability to slice, zest, peel, and scoop, looks intriguing and dangerous.


Thai Street Vendors Heralded for Design Innovations

A new exhibition in Bangkok celebrates the "adaptive" design innovations of Thai street food vendors.