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Pimp My Pan: Cooking with the Midas touch

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With the right equipment, any amateur cook can become a gold-star chef. But be warned - these particular pans will take a hefty toll on your bank balance...

For many young Italians, leaving the nest and living on your own means learning how to cook (though usually not by choice). Instead of simply heating up mamma's home-made sauce which she sends by the jar in her magical care packages (this is mostly a southern Italian habit, mind you) or opening a tin of tuna and emptying the contents into a hot frying pan with some oil and some onion, you find yourself developing a whole new range of culinary habits. Some even become quite skilled in the kitchen, at least in comparison to their peers who are still holding onto their parents' apron strings.

Their newfound confidence pushes them to kit themselves out with equipment worthy of their talents - from the now compulsory wok (used to add crackle and colour whilst sautéeing vegetables) to cermamic knives (20cm in length and perfect for chopping onions for a rich, warm ragu). Such supplies can usually be found at the nearest IKEA (funds are limited, after all) but the bolder and more tech-savvy chefs-to-be log on to the evergrowing number of online shops - chief among them Amazon.  

On Amazon you can pretty much find everything to turn almost anyone into a potential chef - or at least to make them look like one. It doesn't matter if you always burn the fish fingers or pass off a jar of Dolmio's bolognese sauce as your own, when you've actually bought it at the shop round the corner and heated it up. When the oven's on, the apron makes the cook. Anything you want at any price - that's the winning formula in the American online market.

Well, at Amazon somebody must have thought that literally anyone and everyone with every kind of budget may be interested in shopping online in order to stock up on pots and pans for their own kitchens, including fallen nobility, celebrities with their heavily laden pockets and parlimentarians with their traditional yet quick to prepare meals. It's probably from here that the debatable decision to sell gold-plated saucepans came from, available in a variety of sizes (20, 24 and 28cm in diameter). The price? A mere £3,381.36 for the largest, with the others (clearly for plebs) costing proportionally less.  

One pan, a thousand uses

At first sight you might think that such an elitist price such as this could have discouraged many potential buyers, otherwise fascinated by the brilliant shine of the metal and just how such a sophisticated product is made. Maybe so. So far a tiny number of people have purchased the artefact in question (a work of culinary engineering or jewelery mastercraft - no one really knows which), inspiring them to leave their own review on the quality and use of the pans, suggesting features and the potential of the very pans themselves.

A gold saucepan has long been the the dream of almost every alchemist. For what is now a dwindling profession lost in the depths of time, it's however never too late to bring back a wave of the old trades and professions. What is absolutely essential in the culinary legacy of every practitioner of the advanced black arts is the careful attention to preparing various potions. The pans are not perfect though. For one, they're missing an ivory handle, which is almost as bad as simply making them out of copper or some other lesser metal. However, as one user noted, such kitchenware is an important investment for those who want to turn their passion into a full-time profession.

A saucepan made of gold is also useful in other ways such as when you find yourself cooking without electricity such as when you're camping - one user swears that the pans even emit their own light. The same user unfortunately recalls that, due to financial restraints from having bought the item, he was also unable to pay his gas bill as well. Nevertheless it seems that these pans are so efficient and cost-effective that you can cook a whole lunch for one family by simply puttig the pan on your balcony or patio outside on a sunny day. Such efficiency has not gone unnoticed by certain building managers, who have even thought about replacing the solar panels on their roofs with these "solar pans" in the future.

The pans have even proved surprisingly political, with leprechauns complaining about the lack of acknowledgment they receive for their work positioning the pans at the ends of rainbows: "They don't get there on their own!" one of them commented. He also advises his fellow leprechauns buy two pans, in case they gets their positioning wrong and put the saucepan at the start and not the end of the rainbow. Another user, meanwhile, points out that the pans are practically perfect for cooking tinned unicorn meat (also purchased on Amazon, obviously) to perfection.

In other words: a bargain buy which allows you to be a top cook and alchemist and all with efficiency and cost-effectiveness. Everything seems to indicate that this frying pan is worth every single penny of the thousands of pounds it costs to buy it. But as a former starving student, one question still springs to mind: will it be good for cooking pasta?

Translated from L'inossidabile leggerezza della pentola d'oro