These five inexpensive items will boost your culinary skills in the art of egg cookery.

For salad nicoise, the cast aluminum egg slicer (shown) divides eggs into six wedges.

Big breakfast eaters can try a three-piece grill-and-egg set that includes two metal rings to make your eggs perfectly round--to fit your English muffin--and a heavy wooden- handled metal press to flatten sausage or bacon.

If the hard-boiled egg is your challenge, try Eggrite, a Lucite egg that you place in the pan with the real ones. Markings on the fake egg indicate the degree of doneness of the real ones.

To boil eggs without cracks, use an egg piercer. The tiny hole it makes allows the steam inside the egg to escape, and helps prevent cracked shells.

And if you use an egg cup for your soft-boiled egg, snip the top off the sphere with an imported egg opener.

Grill & egg set. $5.99. Eggrite egg timer. $5.99. Egg slicer. $3.99. The China Closet, 6807 Wisconsin Ave., Chevy Chase. 656-5400. Egg piercer. 99 cents. World Imports, Tysons Corner Center, McLean. 893-7888. Egg opener. $2.99. Georgetown Coffee, Tea & Spice, 1328 Wisconsin Ave. NW. 338-3801.