Contact paper is water repellent, self-adhesive paper that comes on rolls for covering kitchen surfaces with. It is meant to be affixed relatively permanently to the surface, and wipe clean with a damp cloth.
Two well-known brands are Contac® paper made by Rubbermaid®, and Magic Cover made by Kittrich Corporation.
The back of contact paper is covered with peel-off paper, and there are grids on the covering paper to help cut it accurately. Earlier versions of it used to stick to itself, and be very hard to remove without ripping the surface off of whatever it was stuck to. More modern versions are more versatile. After it’s in one place, you can lift it up and move it to another, without leaving any residue behind, and it will still stick in the new place.
Contact paper can be used to line shelves and the bottoms of drawers, to cover the fronts of kitchen cabinets to give them a fresh look and to cover recipe books. Some people like to cover their entire kitchen walls with it, because it’s easy to wipe splatters and grease off of. Some people inherit kitchens in which that’s been done and curse the previous occupants.
There are zillions of patterns available. Classic ones are clear (transparent), marble-patterned, and checks.
There are informal fan clubs, full of keen people who inspire each other to find uses for contact paper throughout the house, with ideas such as using it to turn emptied wine boxes into magazine holders.
When using the clear contact paper to cover recipe books, lay the paper out on a flat surface and lower the book on it, rather than the other way round.