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.

Wedding First Dance – The First Dance at Your Wedding With a Great Wedding Band

Most couples have a song that is special to them and it is traditional for the bride and groom to start the wedding evening’s party by dancing to their chosen song (although this is not set in stone!).  Although this is not compulsory, it is a nice way to start the evening as all the wedding guests (including those who have just arrived for the evening) get to see the embarrassed couple gaze lovingly into each others eyes as they smooch around the dance floor to the flash of cameras.  In actual fact it’s not that embarrassing; a good wedding band will let the couple dance alone and then after a minute or so will invite everyone else up to join the bride and groom.  With the dance floor full of smooching couples it is then easy to go straight into a party or dance song and so the evening’s entertainment begins.   

Whether or not the first song if played live by the band or from the original CD will depend on a number of things; does the band already have the song in their set-list?  If not, are they prepared to learn it (assuming they have time)? If they are willing to learn it will they do it justice (a three-piece band that does pubs every weekend may be able to do a version of your special song, but will you be happy with their interpretation as your first dance)?

Ultimately the answer to this question is to talk to the band.  If you can arrange to see them play live you will get a good idea of their abilities based on how they cover the songs they already do.  Good bands always try to learn a couple’s first song if it is not already in their set-list, especially if it is a song that we can be used again. Good bands will also, however, have no hesitation in recommending that the original CD version be played if they thought that they could not learn it in time or not do it justice!  Beware of copyright issues though; bands will have this covered for live performances but if you want to play a CD, speak to the venue first to see if they are covered. You are unlikely to experience a problem with the publisher, but you never know!

 

I can’t think of a worse way to start someone’s special wedding evening than a band playing a very lame version of a song that should have special meaning to the bride and groom.  If you want to do that crazy killer-dance that is so often seen on YouTube, you’ll need a good quality dance band. Please note; the sooner you let the band know what you want then the more chance you have of getting it – don’t be disappointed if you ask the band 2 days before your wedding to learn a specific song only to be told that it is not going to happen! So plan ahead, think about what song both you and your partner would like that first dance to be, then find a good band and speak to them; they will generally have great advice for you.

 

Most of all? Just relax on the night, stare into your partners eyes and get everyone in the room gushing and weeping at the lovely romantic sight of you both dancing for the first time as husband and wife.

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.

Summer Vacation – Preparing For Your Summer Vacation

We all know that planning and preparation for anything goes a long way to minimizing problems later. There is no better example of this than taking a summer vacation. Are you thinking about this year’s summer vacation? If you are, have you already started planning and preparing for your vacation or trip? Why not?

There is actually no excuse as there are a large number of planning and preparation tips available for summer travelers online, in seasonal magazines, even from some travel agents. Having said that, some advice may put us off because it pertains a specific location or country. When planning and preparing for your summer vacation, however, we are encouraged to keep our destination in mind.

No matter what your vacation destination is, you will need to take the time of year and the climate conditions at that time into consideration. If you are visiting a tropical location, you will need to bring along the appropriate clothing. Bathing suits, shorts, t-shirts, and tank tops are common appeal found at beaches and aboard cruise ships. While you may be expecting warm and sunny weather, it is still advised that you prepare for the worst. Raincoats and an umbrella may be a great addition to your summer clothing.

Need a very good example of this? What if due to a miscalculation or a mistake in planning, you ended up at your tropical destination during their “rainy” season!!!

No matter where you are traveling to, overseas or even in your own country, I would encourage you to always have the proper forms of identification. For example, living here in Spain, we are obliged by law to always carry proof of identification which may be an id card or passport. Although this is not the case in all countries, it really isn’t worth neglecting this.

Part of our planning and preparation for our summer vacation is considering all possible eventualities. So, I would strongly encourage everyone to have the following documentary proof with them while traveling…

  • Passport
  • Driving Licence
  • Health Insurance
  • Car Insurance
  • Car Rental Agreement which may include the car insurance

For many the most popular summer vacation destinations, especially in southern Europe, are the coastal regions and the beaches. Each year millions of individuals and families flock to beaches. If you are spending your summer vacation at the beach, or you know that a great deal of time will be spent there, it is important that you bring along the appropriate clothing and sunscreen.

Believe me, I know from observing painful experiences that many of us still do not realize the dangers of sunbathing or just being out in the sun without sunscreen. The worst is when I have seen young children having a great time in the pool during the hot summer months here in southern Spain. I have then seen them the following day with painful looking blisters and sores because they had not used sunscreen or enough of it.

Always have sunscreen and plenty of it. In addition to sunscreen, you will need to make sure that you have beach towels and plenty of water or liquids on hand.

Cruises are becoming more popular as a summer vacation choice for many individuals and families who are looking for something different. If you are taking a cruise, you are advised to start preparing for your trip as soon as you book your reservation. Unlike many other vacations, a cruise often requires a larger amount of planning and preparation.

When preparing for your cruise, it is important to keep in mind where your ship will be going and what stops are planned as part of the itinerary. When on international waters or traveling to a foreign country, a passport is required.

Please don’t make the mistake of leaving this too late if you do not have a passport. Each country has its own process for receiving and approving applications. Make sure you know what to do in yours.

I have not only seen the disappointment of people who have had to cancel their vacation and lose money, I have also seen all kinds of problems arise mid vacation when passports expire. Don’t take the risk.

We all have our favorite things we take on vacation. This can range from tooth paste and soap to washing detergents. People take all sorts of things with them – just in case.

For the most part, if you forget to bring along certain supplies you can always find and purchase replacements. The only downside to purchasing what you need at your vacation destination may be the price. Popular vacation destinations may have inflated prices. Others will surprise you at how inexpensive your favorite brand is.

With the recent increase in airport security and new travel restrictions, we may all need to accept that we will need to wait until we get to our destination before buying certain products. Part of our planning and preparation is to check what we can and cannot take in our luggage.

There’s a final point I wish to make about summer vacation or any vacation preparation. We all need to make sure that we can make contact and be contacted by others.

Make sure you have the details of all the important contacts you may need at a given time. This may be family or friends. It may be your country’s consulate or your car rental company. The point is, just think how much easier it will be if you have the details at hand.

Equally, develop an itinerary and give copies of your travel plans to those that need to know so that they can contact you should the need arise.

I cannot over emphasize how important the preparation for your summer vacation is. To some, preparing for their vacation may seem a daunting task. To others, it may seem unnecessary or even boring.

How ever you may regard preparing for travel or vacations, please ensure you follow the tips suggested as well as any others you can think of.

Are you bored with the same summer vacation routine? Struggling to find that vacation of a lifetime? Then open your mind to the unique possibilities by visiting qdmarbella.com below. You will be delighted by the choice and the great comments made by clients from North America and other countries.