Cast Iron Cookware

Popular with chefs and culinary experts across the globe, cast-iron cookware is a very useful tool to cook delicious food. This durable cookware is slow to heat, but once it reaches the required temperature it provides even heat, making it a necessary and valuable tool in every kitchen. Like copper, it is a very old cooking material and used for many cooking activities like browning, frying, stewing, slow cooking and baking.

Seasoning of cast iron cookware is required before using it for cooking. For seasoning your cast iron cookware, wash, dry and then proceed to coat the surface with a thin layer of vegetable oil. Use a paper towel to spread the oil evenly. Leave the pot in the oven at low heat for about two hours. Your cookware is now ready to use. Seasoning protects the vessels from rusting.

Some health experts recommend cooking in cast iron cookware to provide a healthy, iron-rich diet for your family. This type of pan serves as a natural and affordable non-stick option and lasts longer than the expensive ones. Modern methods like enameling have enabled cast-iron cookware to proudly sit on the table as an attractive serving option. A thin coating of glass, when applied to the surface of metal, makes it look smooth and gleaming. If handled roughly, enamel can chip, making your pot unfit for cooking.

Cast-iron cookware rusts very easily. When exposed to air or certain foods your pots will become pitted and stained. Although inexpensive compared to stainless steel or other modern cookware it reacts chemically with high-acid foods. Cast iron is heavy and takes more time to clean. But despite its disadvantages, cast-iron cookware is still as popular as it was ages ago, and no kitchen is complete without some pots and pans made from this basic cooking material.


The Oxford English Dictionary defines a cake as “a mixture of flour, butter, eggs, sugar, etc., baked in the oven”. How grossly understated, for the definition simply fails to capture the essence of a cake. The cake, quite literally ‘takes the cake’ when it comes to the choice of a dessert or a teatime snack. This is because it makes for a hassle-free preparation. The ingredients are readily available, and you just need to mix them well and put it in an oven for baking. A cake is great for a great many occassions, including birthdays, anniversaries, or any time you want.

It is fun to decorate a cake. There are all kinds of decorations that look great. Depending on the occasion and whom the cake is for, you can have edible flowers, tiny figurines, trucks, trains, bottles and rattles and a host of other decorations. No wonder the cake is so popular. It’s fun to make and decorate. It seems that cakes are always around for a special occasion. Cakes help celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, bridal showers and any other occasion you can think of.

For health and weight conscious people, the cake has adaptations that make it virtually fat-free. There are recipes for cakes that are sugar-free, butter-free and contain no eggs. Believe it or not, they taste good too. The basic ingredients for those of us who like to indulge are sugar, eggs, butter, cream (sometimes milk) and flour.

Vanilla is often added as is chocolate and fresh fruits.

Cake Recipes

When deciding on what cake recipe you would like to create you must keep in mind that there are two types of cake x96 butter and foam. Butter cakes are made with butter or shortening and foam cakes are made with eggs or egg whites. These two categories are just the general, umbrella, or catch-all terms. There are actually dozens or even hundreds of variations on cakes that you can learn about and enjoy.

Butter cakes are light and fine textured, while foam cakes are fluffy. Foam cakes can be angel food, chiffon or sponge, depending on your preference. Both form the basis for most cake recipes with variations and special touches adding to the taste and presentation.

There are hundreds and hundreds of cake recipes. All time favorites include white cake with chocolate frosting, chocolate cake with white frosting and carrot cake. A basic cake recipe calls for butter, sugar, vanilla, eggs, flour and baking powder. Frosting should always be created to the right consistency that is smooth and soft enough spread. Glazes should be thinner, but not drippy. Food coloring can be used to tint frosting and garnished with goodies like chocolate or multi-colored sprinkles, animal crackers, nuts, raisins, coconut, jelly beans, fresh or dried fruit, etc.

Wonderful cake recipes can be found in most cookbooks and on the web. Family shared recipes are the best, so ask your favorite grandma or aunt for their ‘special’ cake ingredients. If you’re brave, you can even try your own hand at creating the next big thing in cake recipes.

Cake Decorating

You have sifted the flour, beaten the eggs, softened the butter, mixed the ingredients, put it in the oven to bake – voila you have a beautiful cake. Now it time to decorate.

The first and obvious consideration before decorating is what occasion is the cake celebrating – if any at all. Let’s begin with a simple cake that is planned dessert for supper. A white or chocolate frosting is usually sufficient for a dessert cake. A basic frosting recipe contains butter, sugar, and water or milk. More liquid can be added if you are making a glaze. Different flavored extracts, fruit zest or juice, and chocolate are often added. The most important ingredient is sugar for it provides the sweetness and bulk. Butter comes next (sometimes shortening is substituted) and eggs. Egg whites can be used as well, but should be whipped in a mixing bowl to prevent peaks.

If the occasion is more elaborate like a wedding, anniversary, birthday or shower, you need to decide whether you want to use icing or frosting. There is a difference. Icing sounds more professional when talking about frosting. But the fact is, there is a difference. Frosting is stiffer and pipes well. It is considered creamier and softer than icing. Whatever you decide do not use inferior ingredients. Buy quality ingredients to guarantee your cake and topping is fresh, tender and delicious. You can make decorations like flowers ahead of time and put them in the freezer. Don’t look for shortcuts. You won’t be happy with the results. There are hundreds of books and online sites that can give you wonderful recipes for cake decorating. Treat your cake as a canvas and bake and decorate a piece of art.

Bottled Water

Bottled water is now one of the largest industries in the world. Studies indicated that over half of all Americans drink bottled water, spending a lot more on the bottled water than for the tap water due to the misconception that bottled water is safer or healthier than tap water.

Bottled water is now the most profitable business, the fastest growing multi billion dollar segment of the entire beverage industry. However, studies show that most of these bottled water also comes from municipal sources and is treated before it is bottled.

Bottled water may undergo several forms of treatment. The most popular of these treatments is the distillation, where the water is turned into a vapor so that minerals too heavy to vaporize are left behind before the vapors are condensed into water again. Reverse osmosis, where the water is forced through membranes to remove minerals and absolute 1 micron filtration, where the water is sent through filters to remove particles that are sized more than a micron are also popularly used treatments. The treatment that almost all the bottled companies use is ozonization, wherein the ozone gas is sent through the water for disinfestations.

Bottled water, even though as much as 240 to 10,000 times more expensive than the tap water, is still very popular because it is perceived to be comparatively safer and of higher quality than tap water. Expensive imported water sold in smaller bottles is even more expensive. However, scares about contaminated municipal water have even many low-income families opting for bottled water. Also, many people drink bottled water as a healthy alternative beverage to soft drinks and alcohol.

The bottled water industry boosts sales by frequent advertising the fact that bottled water is pure or entirely free of contaminants. Also, bottled water does not contain chlorine or other harmful chemicals. However, this is only in the case when the bottled water has been really taken from a well or a spring and not just advertised that it is.

More and more people are choosing bottled water as it is marketed and viewed as a light, clear, caffeine-free, salt-free, and sweetener-free healthy alternative to soft drinks. Others prefer it mostly out of concern about the quality of the tap water. Either way, the main reason for the explosion in bottled water sales is public perception, fueled by heavy industry advertising.

Bottled Water Delivery

Bottled water can easily be delivered either to a work place or a home where people who have water coolers or the water dispensers. Still or sparkling water can be delivered to the office or home as and when required. The success of commercial water cooler services along with the booming sales of bottled water has prompted manufacturers to look at water delivery as an excellent business.

Studies show that the water delivery services are split roughly 50-50 between commercial and home use in the United States and Canada, but residential customers in the UK amount to only 1%.

The water used in the water delivery services usually undergoes reverse osmosis treatment to separate water molecules from impurities. This leaves behind only hydrogen and oxygen in free flowing spring or municipal water. This water is then filtered, sanitized, ozonated, and is finally bottled. Distilled water is one of the purest forms of water that is used for delivery services. The water is run through a vapor compression process during distillation. This allows the water to be first micron and carbon filtered, then softened, then boiled to vapor and then again re-condensed. This results in water so pure that it is even recommended for clinical and medical use. Distilled water usually contains absolutely no minerals.

Water delivery services are provided by a number of companies. The consumer just needs to log in to the website and place an order for the service. However, these companies usually provide service only with a particular brand of water. One such website, which deals with a number of well-known brands such as Crystal, Sierra, Belmont, and many more, is They provide water delivery for home or office and all the customer has to do is place the order through their website. It is suggested to buy brands with a known protected source and companies that have readily available testing and treatment information to show the high water quality.

Bottled Water Brands

Statistics reveal that more than 50% of Americans prefer to drink bottled water and that from 1988 to 1998, the sales of bottled water tripled to about 4 billion annually.

Almost all the states require all bottlers and distributors of bottled water to obtain a permit from the concerned department of health and human resources in the office of environmental health services. This is to ensure that the bottled water is from an approved source, which is properly protected, is properly labeled about the source, tested for potential contaminants and inspected to verify that it is bottled in a sanitary manner.

Bottling plants can be in-state bottling plants or out-of state bottling plants. In-state bottling plants are permitted to use any laboratory from the facilities provided by the department of health and human resourced. Alternatively, they can use an out of state laboratory not provided in the list only if the laboratory has been certified with the Safe Drinking Water Act Regulations for testing of water. However, the plant must submit the state or country certification number as well as the name and address of the laboratory while submitting the application.

The leading brands in the market are the PepsiCo and Coca cola. Pepsi and Coke each produce a single bottled water brand in the retail premium PET segment in the industry. PepsiCo’s Aquafina, which is exhaustively filtered with no added minerals, is considered to be in the number one position with an increasing number of sales. Coke’s Dasani, which has a mineral mix, is a close second in the market. Nestlé’s Perrier and Danone’s Evian follow close to these two leading brands.

Bottled water provides a safe alternative to tap water. All different bottled water brands offer unique flavors for consumers.

Black Tea

Black tea is one of three varieties of commonly known teas that are black, green and oolong tea. Black tea is a ‘true’ tea and the most common form of the tea. Black tea is also referred to as a cup of a tea without milk. Black tea made from leaves more heavily oxidized than other varieties of tea. Black tea is stronger in taste and contains more caffeine as compared to other oxidized teas.

Black teas are distinctive in flavors and can be sweet, spicy or with a hint of chocolate. Black tea is known for retaining its flavor for several years. As a result, it has also been used as compressed bricks. Black teas are available in bricks and tea bags.

Black tea contains the compounds theaflavins and thearubigens. Both contribute to its distinctive flavor and dark color. Researches have shown that black tea is very beneficial for health. Regular consumption of black tea reduces the risk of strokes. Black tea is rich in antioxidants that prevent cancer, decrease the risk of heart attacks and reduces the cholesterol. Black tea is full of various nutrients such as amino acid theanine, the minerals calcium, magnesium, manganese and potassium, and the vitamins C and K. Black tea is also used in promoting the body’s ability to natural heal itself.

Black tea is famous in all parts of the world and has names in different regions. In America it is known as ‘Black tea,’ but in China it often referred as ‘Red Tea.’ Unblended Black teas are usually named by the country where they are produced. Different regions are known for producing teas with characteristic flavors.

Black teas are taste delicious and have lived up to the potential of being a healthy beverage. Millions of people enjoy black tea as a dietary supplement. Consumers can find several choices of Black tea at most teashops or restaurants. The varieties of black teas are also imported to markets with the help of many dedicated tea websites. Tea lovers can also get their favorite Black tea from all part of the worlds using these websites.

Black Chef Hats

The most popularly used chef’s hats are white in color. However, the latest market shows some trendy designer hats that come in different shades such as black, gray, checkered, red, blue and others. The black and the checkered ones are catching up on sales in the market compared to the traditional white ones.

Other models would include the black with checkered borders or the white ones with black or checkered borders. Red chef hats are also in vogue in the present market. Colored hats are mostly available in the cloth variety as compared to the disposable paper kind. The colored cloth chef hats are made of cotton or cotton blend material that can be starched and stiff while being comfortable to wear at the same time.

Colored chef hats are available with adjustable elastic or Velcro headbands, and have a comfortable sweatband built into them. Polyester chef hats are being made currently to give a crisper look than the cotton ones. Also, polyester or polyester blend chef hats are easier to maintain than the traditional cotton chef hats.

Although more and more chefs are using black chef hats, the head chef is still seen to be in a white hat. All the other chefs, cooks and the others working in the kitchen are in a revolutionary change with regards to colored chef hats. Black colored chef hats are also available in different styles like the base ball variety, short hats and such, changing the trend of the chefs wearing only long pleated hats.

Most chefs prefer black colored chef hats these days as the color tends to hide all the sweat and other splattered stains on the hat. Also, since it is a polyester blend it tends to soak up sweat a lot more than the disposable ones. Since they are available in a wide range of model, a deviation from the original plated style, more and more restaurants prefer that their chefs shift to the colored hats than the traditional white.

Although a complete black hat might look way different than a traditional chef’s white hat, white hats bordered or checkered with black tend to make a distinct change in the tradition. They would also not be that different in the styles and only the color could be changed for that unique touch of difference.

Birthday Cake

It’s nice that people remember the day you were born. After all, it is a very special day. For most of us, there is always someone ready to throw a birthday party. Whether it be Mom and Dad, or darling husband or wife, or anyone else, one of the best treats on anyone’s birthday is a birthday cake with candles. Because what would a birthday be without a cake and candles for making a birthday wish?

Birthday cakes come in all shapes and sizes x96 round, square, layered, tiered, upside-down, and many, many more. They also come in some very unique shapes like trucks, babies, guitars, shoes, and so on. Birthday cakes can be just fun and simple or quite elegant and complex. They can be chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, mocha, a mix of all of the above, or other flavors.

Theme cakes are very popular for children’s birthdays. Harry Potter’s, Hogwarts Castle, Barbie’s, Pegasus, and Sponge Bob and Patrick are in high demand at most parties these days. Chocolate cake seems to be the favorite, followed by the classic chiffon cake. Of course, any good host will top off the birthday cake with a heaping spoon of ice cream and sprinkles and lots of love and best wishes.

Even with all the streamers, the balloons, the presents, and so on, birthday cakes remain the centerpiece. More than anything else, the birthday cake with delightfully burning candles all round it and your name in icing on the top, remains the most enduring symbol of a birthday celebration.