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.

Email Marketing – The Pros And Cons of Marketing With Email

Many small businesses are considering jumping into the world of email marketing. Email marketing has many different advantages, but it also has a few drawbacks that you need to keep in mind. The truth is that when utilized in the correct fashion it can be an extremely powerful and cost effective way of promoting your business and producing more sales. Once you learn about the pros and cons of email, you will be able to begin your own campaigns and get started down the path towards increased success and profitability.

The Advantages of Email Marketing

There are several key benefits to running an email marketing campaign. One of the most important is how cost efficient is can be. There is no other form of direct marketing that is as cheap as email marketing is. A 2005 study by the Winterberry Group found that for every dollar spent on email marketing, $15.50 was earned in return. There is much relevant data pointing to email marketing having a superior ROI than telemarketing, direct mail campaigns, radio or billboard advertisements and more.

Another advantage that email has is that you can quickly get your message across, and you can reach your customers and prospects in a place where they are comfortable communicating. If you have an idea for a new sale or promotion for the upcoming weekend, you can inform all of your customers about that immediately. With print advertising, traditional direct mail or anything else, the turnaround time could be days or possibly even a week or more.

One of the real strengths to running an email campaign is how effectively you can track the results that it produces. You will be able to see every click that is made to your website as a result of the email, and you will be able to see statistics such as how many people read the message, how many times they read it, if they ended up making a purchase and on down the line.

There is no other form of marketing or advertising that produces such an array of in-depth statistics. It’s an invaluable way to track your marketing efforts, and make the most out of every dollar you put into promotion.

Finally, another important advantage to email marketing that you will want to remember is that it’s the perfect way to convert prospects over a long period of time. No matter how great your products or services may be, not every person will be immediately ready to make a purchase or investment. Email marketing is the perfect tool to continue chipping away at those prospects over the long haul. By developing a relationship with each prospect and providing them with useful information, you will gain their trust and stay at the forefront of their mind.

The Disadvantages of Email Marketing

The largest disadvantage of email marketing is that so many people today are fed up with spam. All of our accounts are flooded with wasted emails everyday, and it’s a worldwide plague of the largest scale. Because of this, many people are wary about opening up emails from businesses, or about trusting anything they see in their inbox.

You can help combat this problem by being as transparent as possible. This means making it easy for people to see who is sending your message and what it’s about. It also means ensuring that all of your email addresses are used with permission, and you never purchase a list or steal addresses from another website.

Another disadvantage with email marketing is that far too many small business owners or managers know how to make a campaign work for them. Perhaps they try using gimmicks or copying an email that somebody else sent out. However, a much more effective strategy is sticking within your own identity, playing to your strengths and providing your prospects and customers with exactly what they are looking for.

Making Email Marketing Work for You

The bottom line is that the benefits of email marketing far outweigh the disadvantages. It’s all about learning how to run your own campaigns in the right way, and for maximum success there will be some trial and error as you traverse that path. By not utilizing email campaigns you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to help your business become more efficient and more profitable.

Happiness Or Housework – Get Organized For Both!

If you are like most women with a family, you are still at work on your “free” time. Time off is not for rest or play, but for trudging up that steep hill of never-ending chores. Housework organization is necessary, but remember as Gretchen Rubin of The Happiness Project says, “The days are long but the years are short!”

How do we master the tricky balance of keeping our sanity while having a reasonably clean and organized home?

Delegate

Many working women, including “stay at home” Moms, still do more than their fair share of work. Think about this: if someone had to pay for that family maintenance work, the estimate runs upwards towards $100,000 yearly!

Want to see your time? Get some paper and divide the page into three columns. In the first column, list all of the weekly household tasks. In the next column, the approximate time it takes per week. In the third column, who’s doing it. Now add up everyone’s time, and get delegating!

Even young children can put clothes away, pick up after themselves and help with simple chores. My six year old granddaughter can run the vacuum through the high traffic areas. Encouraging kids in positive ways from a young age saves countless hours spent arguing later on! My Mother was always stressed over doing housework on her day off. I don’t blame her, but it didn’t help motivate me much!

Get Organized With The 4 B’s

Life Coach and author Martha Beck created a prioritizing tool called The 4 B’s: Bag It, Barter It, Better It and Batch It.

Bag It means ditching it!. If you’re dusting once a week, can you Bag It and do it twice monthly? Let go of what you can. People that truly love you don’t care about a little dust on your end-table.

Barter It means trading, including with money, to have someone else do it. Women often say they can’t afford a cleaning person, but regularly spend it on a casual dinner out. Feel guilty paying someone to do “your” work? Think of it as a priceless investment, giving precious time back to you and your family!

Better It means adding something pleasurable to something dreadful. Hate doing dishes? Better It by making a playlist that rocks your energy! Make it a game and count the songs it takes to empty the sink. “Better it” for your kids and Google “games to get your kids to do chores!”

Batch It means doing similar tasks all at once. Pick one hour for family “just do it” time. Shut down the electronics and don’t do anything else during that time. Make it fun, and set up rewards for everyone, including yourself. Rewards are powerful motivators and don’t have to be complex or expensive.

Organize In Baby Steps

Break big jobs into small steps and start with the smallest one. Give yourself permission to stop after completing the first step. Telling ourselves we only have to take one baby step relieves motivation-sapping mental stress, and we may end up inspired to keep going!

Little things add up. Stash natural cleaning wipes in the bathroom and wipe surfaces a few times a week after your bathroom routine. You’re already in there and it takes 60 seconds to wipe out a sink. When you walk through a room, pick up a few things. (See next.)

Get in the habit of putting things in one place, even if it’s just in piles. Assign specific areas for papers, mail, dirty clothes, coats and shoes. Even a little bit of organization saves huge amounts of time looking for lost items, reduces clutter, and makes cleaning more efficient; sorting one pile is easier than finding it all over the place on cleaning day.

Well begun is half done. (Mary Poppins had it right!) Pick one thing, and just get started! It’s never as painful a task as we think and it’s usually done before we know it. Find a balance, make it fun, get it done and go on to live your life!

Is it Possible to Control Blood Sugar Levels Without Medicine?

Scientists have advanced knowledge about the proteins that help control blood sugar, or glucose, during and after exercise, and this knowledge could lead to new drug therapies or exercises more effective for the prevention of Type 2 diabetes and other health problems associated with high levels of blood sugar.

Insulin resistance occurs when the body is not produced by properly stimulating the transport of glucose, a type of sugar inside the cells as an energy source. Too much glucose in the bloodstream can cause a variety of medical problems including Type 2 diabetes, said Gregory Cartee, a professor in the School of Kinesiology and principal investigator of the study. Katsuhiko Funai is the co-author, graduate student and researcher in the School of Kinesiology.

Insulin and muscle contractions are the most important stimuli that increase glucose transport into the interior of muscle cells. The cells can then use glucose for energy, said Cartee. But scientists do not know exactly how this works.

The group reacted Cartee watched two different proteins that were considered important in stimulating the transport of glucose by two different enzymes, linked also with the transport of glucose. The goal of this study was to understand the contribution of the two proteins, called AS160 and TBC1D1 in skeletal muscle stimulated by insulin.

“Trying to rule out or determine what proteins are important in the exercise,” said Cartee.

The results indicate that the protein TBC1D1 was the most important for the transport of glucose stimulated by exercise and suggested that the second protein, AS160, may be less important for this effect of exercise. Give attention to the protein works best, in this case the TBC1D1, scientists can develop methods for making proteins that work best for people with insulin resistance, Cartee said.

Insulin resistance is a major health problem affecting millions of people, he said.

“Almost all people with diabetes have Type 2 muscle resistance to insulin,” said Cartee. “This does not cause diabetes by itself, but it is an essential component that contributes to type 2 diabetes. This affects millions of people. Even people who are not diabetic insulin resistance is linked to numerous health problems. “

In the longer term people who have insulin resistance or whose muscles do not respond normally to insulin are more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes, said Cartee.

“Apparently the muscles have the machinery to respond to exercise even if they do not respond normally to insulin. If we knew how the exercise could develop more effective protocols for exercise, “he said. “In other cases of people who can not exercise, we could design a drug therapy or something else to control insulin.