Cooking Utensils: the Truth Behind the Hype

Using the most suitable cooking utensils can make the difference between a wonderfully planned gastronomic banquet and an awkwardly made excuse-for-food. Or so the celebrity chefs who are sponsored by the major kitchenware companies would have us believe. The question we novice chefs have to ask is, ‘Do the correct tools genuinely make all the difference?’ ‘Does the way you chop, slice, dice and dish out your meat and two veg physically affect the flavour?’

Okay, granted, if you lack the appropriate utensils, it may be tricky to drain your pasta without picking up a couple of third degree burns, and you might find those curly radishes to top your salad bowl difficult to pull off, but is there really an optimal shape and size for food intended for the human mouth? To get a short answer to this question, we need to take a look at Chinese cuisine.

Chinese recipes emphasize the importance of presentation. Eating is a sensory experience. If the food looks, smells and even sounds good (think of sizzling woks wheeled to your table in a good restaurant) we’re salivating even before the first morsel gets anywhere near our mouths. Chinese chefs have long understood that your senses are connected. Your senses all lead to the same place – your brain. And it’s your brain that makes the final assessment. As innumerable sponsored-up-to-their-eyeballs master chefs will fall over each other to inform you, the way you prepare your veggies and present your dishes will have an enormous affect on the way your meal will taste The other definitive feature of Chinese cooking is the way the vegetables and meat are cut. There are strict rules concerning the size and shape of the food on the plate. Each dish should be easy to handle – it should invite you to pick it up… but then again you’ll have to use chopsticks.

Cooking utensils, it would seem, really can transform a mundane meal into a feast… if you know how to use them. Owning the appropriate set of knives to chop and cut, nip and tuck, is one thing; owning the skills to use them is another. However, to develop your technique, you need to own the utensils in the first place. You have to start somewhere, and leafing through a kitchenware brochure at the behest of some celebrity chef or other is as good a place to start as any – the best place to start is from the recipe. After all, the recipe is what you are interested in, and what you and your family is going to end up eating.

What makes a cook into a master chef? The salient factor is their ability to shower their creations with loving care and attention, as anyone who has read an Isabelle Allende novel will testify. Once you have your tools and skills, the possibilities for experimentation and gastronomic exploration are boundless. And you can bet there is a specially designed set of cooking utensils to cope with any culinary creation you might dream up. For the majority of us, one appliance can be adapted to manage a diverse range kitchen tasks, but for the experts there is a specific tool for each and every kitchen task.

This apparently trivial distinction between the two ways of thinking about cooking can have a profound affect on your meals. Take an onion, for example. According to the experts, it should be sliced a particular way to enhance the flavour, although, as we have learnt from the Chinese, the visual result is at least as big a factor in determining how the food will taste. Viewed in this way, slicing the onion ‘after the book’ becomes as important as, say, the amount of oil you add to the pan. It would seem that using the right kitchen utensil in the chef’s domain is imperative. In short, prepping your ingredients by following someone’s mealtime master plan can transform the appearance and flavour of the final dish. Get this right and you are no longer a cook. You are a chef

Selecting The Best Utensil

Selecting the right set of cooking utensils is dependent on the content of each individual recipe. Suggestions for cooking utensils are very often presented within the cooking book or online recipe page and, traditionally, they are accompanied by clear instructions to enable you to choose the right utensil for the right job. Cooking utensils, it would seem, do have a central role to play. Your family is certain to enjoy the excellence of your cooking if it is prepared with skill and loving care, but if not, they may reach for an entirely different set of utensils.

There are many companies that produce fine cooking utensils, but on balance, it is better to start from the recipe book and build up a collection of what you need as needs arise before you start leafing through the pages of glossy catalogues.

7 Tips For Buying Swarovski Bridal Jewelry

Swarovski bridal jewelry has been a popular choice for a lot of women today. A reason for this is that Swarovski crystals just looks cool and fantastic because of its one of a kind glimmer and shine. So it’s no wonder that so many people just find themselves highly likely to buy this type of crystals. If it’s your first time to purchase Swarovski then you might just find it much better to do so using these useful tips:

1. Be familiar with different Swarovski crystals and know which one you would like to buy. It can be very unnerving to find that there are so many options out in the market. You can begin by searching up online and looking for the different types and make of Swarovski crystals that you can purchase.

2. Look for a reliable seller. The last thing you want is to find a person who will not be able to give you the right and authentic crystals you so want to purchase. Research about how authentic the seller is and you should also take time to look at the person’s comments and reviews page. Check what other people has to say about this person as they have made transactions with him or her. The more comments you find, then all the more better.

3. Check out the payment options. If you are buying your crystals online then it would be best to do a quick look at the site’s overall look and feel. This is a great way for you to understand just how much reliable the site is when it comes to making transactions. Don’t forget to check the security measures being used onsite or else you might end up making an unnecessary risk.

4. Have a budget before looking at the market or better yet, start with canvassing for prices first. Although Swarovski crystals are generally much less expensive than other precious gems, it is still a precious stone and as such would be more pricey than what you would have expected. So as soon as you get to finish making your canvass it would be easier for you to budget your money so that you can buy the perfect Swarovski crystals that you want.

5. Pair up your crystals with the occasion. This is a great way for you to be able to trim down your choices. Think of the actual reason why you decided to buy Swarovski in the first place and from there, you can think about better choices much easier.

6. Look for classic colors and designs. On way you can enjoy your Swarovski crystals much better is if you get to choose designs that are almost all-around. This simply means that it can be used for different occasions. It would be best to have a design that you can wear even after the wedding is over so that you can really stretch its usability.

7. Get the opinion of a designer. If you are having your gown made through couture, it would be wise to consult them about these crystals too.

Entertainment on the Internet – There Is Something for Everyone!

The Internet is an exciting place for entertainment. We can play Online games, Chat with friends and family, Can browse live news and interesting articles, Watch online movies, Do online shopping, Hear FM Radio's and Podcasts, Watch Live Televisions, Get new friends through social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace , Orkut, Twitter, Friendster etc. And in general, Internet provides a great range of entertainment.

Video sharing sites provide much more fun and entertainment. These sites such as Google video, YouTube, Metacafe includes lots of funny, interesting and useful videos. Funny pranks and Comedy videos in those video sharing website will be used a good stress relieving tools.

Watching online movies is another great entertainment in Internet. There are numerous websites providing online movies, some of them are free too and some charge a tiny payment. Online movies include all genres such as action, romance, drama etc.

Online games such as Yahoo Games, Pogo, iWin, Shockwave, and New grounds are all great pages containing thousands of free online games for users of all ages. These games are often Flash, Shockwave, or Java and can be easily played through your browser without having to download and install the game. There are stress relieving games to overcome everyday stress in business and personal life's. Websites such as Bored.com, Funisland.com, and gamefunonline.com have lots of free online games, computer games and flash games. Not only that but we have tons of fun filled games.

Social networking site's posses lot of fun and they are equipped with options like chatting, video and photo sharing, tagging, writing comments, updating status and lot more. Messenger services and VoIP service provide chatting and group conversation, which enables enhanced communication.

Listening to music is yet another great way of stress relieving and entertainment we can get on the internet. Lots of sites provide online music, covering almost all the languages ​​available on the internet. Free internet radio stations, Live FM radios, Music libraries are the sources of music on Internet. We will also hear music from online live concerts, video uploads, etc.

We will get more tips on stress management in websites regarding health benefits. There is a lot of websites provide guidance on meditation, yoga and tai-chi. These sites provide video tutorial on those Yoga, Meditation etc.

In general Internet is a great source of fun, entertainment provider. Internet is resourceful tool providing lot of entertainment. Internet acts as a great communication application.

Traveling in Mexico: Internet Cafes in Mexico City’s Zona Rosa

INTERNET CAFES IN THE ZONA ROSA

While you're tooling around Mexico, you'll want to stay connected. Mexico City has excellent internet café facilities even for those who Spanish is not the greatest. English is spoken in many internet cafés in the Zona Rosa and Historic District. Here are some of your e-café options.

Café Internet Victal

Address: Hamburgo No. 108 local 101 at the corner of Genova

Phone: 514 – 4161, 672 – 3821

With a going rate of 20 pesos per hour, this is one of the cheapest full-service Internet cafés in the area. Chats, computer games, and office programs (word, Excel, etc.) are also available. The staff is knowledgeable and helpful. The Victal is open from 9am to 9pm Monday through Saturday and is open on Sundays half a day. There are many computer-related services available – if it has to do with computers, they can probably do it or have it. Getting into the place is tricky at first. From the corner of Genova walk down Hamburgo about a quarter of a block. Enter the building through an arcade doorway and go up to the second floor. The entrance will be there but you'll have to look closely for the signs. The only visible signs from the street are above your head at the second story level with no clue for finding the entrance. You may have a short wait to get onto a computer but this place is worth the trouble.

Coffee Net – Zona Rosa

Address: Florencia No. 35 Local E (between Hamburgo and Londres)

Phone: 533 – 0844, 533 – 1760

An Internet café – cafeteria featuring a variety of gourmet sandwiches, salads, gourmet coffes and cappuccinos. The hourly rate is 25 pesos. Services are acceptable quality but a bit costly. Centrally located with good quality but pricey food.

Coffee Mail

Address: Amberes No. 61

A 24 pesos hourly rate internet café with standard fare. Similar in structure and price to Coffee Net but with less selection of sandwiches, coffees and foods. Regular customers typically come in to check or send e-mails. Other services are available but not heavily used.

Café Internet Red 2000

Address: in the Insurgentes metro station plaza

Phone: no phone

After exiting the metro at the Insurgentes station, this Internet café is in the outside plaza surrounding the station entrances. Long distance phone services are available through the internet. Rates are: 15 minutes 8 pesos, 30 minutes 16 pesos, 45 minutes 24 pesos, one hour 30 pesos. Only sodas and packed snacks are available.

Conecte Cafe

Address: Liverpool No. 140 (near Amberes)

Phone: 587 – 6179, 587 – 7737

A very well run internet café with full computer services including scanner, photoshop, translations, printing, Microsoft office and MP3 software available, all at reasonable rates. The internet use rate is 20 pesos per hour but there are only a few computers. Located across from Harmon Hall and Quick Learning building. There is also another Zona Rosa location at Genova No. 1. 71 on the first floor near Londres.

NOTE: There are other Internet cafés around the Zona Rosa area with varyingly higher prices for similar services.

In the Historic District:

LAFOEL Internet Service

Address: Doncelles No. 80 first floor (two blocks from the cathedral)

Phone: 512-3584, 521-2978

Open Monday to Friday from 9 am – 8 pm and Saturdays from 10 am – 5 pm. Rates for services are: 10 pesos for 15 minutes, 20 pesos for 30 minutes and 30 pesos for one hour. Conveniently located near the Zocalo but a bit on the high side for service costs. Okay just to check mail or send a quick message though. They also rent computer equipment. Just be sure to confirm the rates before signing anything or leaving the promises with equipment.

Finally, be sure to check out my other articles in the two continuing series: Teaching English in Mexico and Traveling in Mexico. If you would like more information, have questions or comments, the author can be e-mailed, see below.