In a store so chock-full of delightful, tempting stuff, it’s pretty amazing that I even noticed the box
of BookBones at the check-out counter in Grass Roots Books & Music, Corvallis Oregon. What
were these bone-shaped, flat-bottomed pieces of rubber? The display photo made it clear:
flopped across an open book, a BookBone was designed to maintain that position until you were
ready to turn the page.
“But does it really work?” I pondered.
Pretty darn sure of himself, Grass Roots owner Jack Wolcott retrieved a cookbook for a test run.
We opened it to one of its most stubborn segments that would frustrate any cook attempting to
read a recipe while in the throes of cooking. Then we took the BookBone and flopped it across
the open face. Voila! The book was tamed. Hands-free reading and no more sticky pages.
I was so charmed by the concept that I decided a story dedicated to this and other cooking gear
fine-tuned to deal with life’s culinary challenges was appropriate. Just in time for Christmas,
obviously. But beyond that, I’m hoping that my little round-up will challenge you to pay attention
to other elegant designs on the market that could improve your life or the life of someone you
BookBones: This item is at the top of my stocking-stuffer list because it’s such a fun idea and
can be applied to so many book-related needs. Pure and simple, BookBones hold books open
so you can read while you do other things with your hands. Beyond their obvious use in a cook’s
kitchen, BookBones are great for the home, office, shop or classroom. Students who want to
study while they eat, for example, or folks who simply like to lay back in an easy chair with a book
open in their lap all benefit from owning a BookBone.
BookBones owner/inventor Dan Fletcher produced his first batch 10 years ago and has been
tweaking the product into perfection ever since. They’re a vertical operation, he explained
recently by phone from his Savannah, Ga., shop, producing the bones from start to finish in-
house. The bones can’t follow the speedier path of injection molding common throughout the
plastics and urethane industries because too many of the steps require more personalized
attention, Fletcher said. So the company makes their own molds, cast them with their special
rubber material, insert the weights and even create the artwork that’s applied to each bone,
which is (you guessed it!) printed directly onto the BookBones right there under the same roof.
There are other “book weights” out there — most of them are leather and simply don’t behave
properly under challenging conditions — but none of them are as well thought-out and as fun to
use as BookBones.
gazettetimes.com November 30, 2011
By Jan Roberts-Dominguez, Food for Thought
So who is Jan Roberts-Dominguez? Here's a short bio from her website.
She has written and illustrated a weekly food column, Food For Thought, for the Corvallis
Gazette-Times since 1983, and a syndicated column, Fresh Approach, since 1985. Preserving,
a seasonal column on preserving food, had a 20 year run in The Oregonian, beginning in 1987.
Jan is the author-illustrator of five cookbooks, including The Onion Book, published by
Doubleday. Her latest is Oregon Hazelnut Country - the Food, the Drink, the Spirit. That book
was released in December of 2010 and is now available for purchase in the Books section of her
website at www.janrd.com
Jan has made numerous radio and television appearances in major markets around the country
and has been a regular guest chef on Portland's popular morning TV talk show, AMNorthwest
(KATU) an ABC affiliate). She has judged cooking competitions at the state level and above,
including the National Beef Cook-Off Finals, and served as Guest Chef aboard the Royal Viking
Cruise Line vessel Royal Viking Sun. Jan hosted the cooking segments on the PBS series,
Northwest Gardening, which was carried by public television stations throughout the U.S. in 1999
and 2000. She was a creative consultant and writer for the PBS television series Smart
Finally, a personal note from Dan Fletcher, inventor of BookBones.
I have never met Jan. I hate to have to admit it but the first time I ever heard her name was when
the owner of Grass Roots Books & Music, in Corvallis Oregon called me to reorder BookBones
because he said a local artist/author saw them and liked them so much she decided to write
about them. He needed to stock up. Jan called me soon after and we spoke briefly. She then
combined information from our discussion and my website and wrote the article. The article was
not a paid advertisement.
For those of you who own a small business, you know how hard it can be to get a business off
the ground. Believe me this is especially true when you are trying to market your product
nationally through independent retailers.
During my own personal struggle, I don't remember a single time when someone I
didn't even know did something for me or my business that I didn't have to pay for.
While I have of course thanked Jan for writing the article, I would like to try to return the favor by
suggesting that you visit her website at www.janrd.com. You will find her incredible paintings (a
few are shown below) which are available to order in various formats. She also sells her
cookbooks there which are also available on amazon.com and other bookstores.
|Here's just a small sampling of Jan's incredible paintings!