Sunday, August 24, 2008

The drum on kettles

I decided that I wanted to clear some kitchen bench space by getting rid of my rather ancient and grubby electric jug, so I set out to buy a kettle for my gas stovetop*. This turned out to be a much more difficult search than anticipated.
Firstly, most of our local homewares stores only sell electric jugs. Then, I found a gorgeous kettle on ebay, but when I checked the manufacturer's website, the starting price on ebay was already above the recommended retail price. So, I wrote down the nearest stockists listed on the website but the first three I went to were a) boarded up, b) a hole in the ground, and c) claiming never to have heard of the brand.
Lastly, when we did find a store with a kettle, the offerings were either ugly but practical or beautiful but impractical. I think the most frustrating moment in my search was when I found a lovely, stainless steel, satin-finish kettle with a curvaceous shape and a stylish stainless steel handle. However, the sales assistant couldn't guarantee that the handle would not heat up when the kettle was boiled. She suggested I buy it and try it out. "If the handle does get hot," I asked, "can I bring the kettle back for a refund?" "You can't bring it back if you have used it," she replied. I did not buy it.
By this stage I was feeling very much like poor Alice at the Mad Hatter's tea party:

“Take some more tea,” the March Hare said to Alice, very earnestly.
“I’ve had nothing yet,” Alice replied in an offended tone: “so I ca’n’t take more.”
“You mean you ca’n’t take less,” said the Hatter: “it’s very easy to take more than nothing.”

I did eventually find a kettle, with a sweet little whistle that sounds just like Gran's used to. It ain't Alessi, but it was a tenth of the price. And it works. I put it on the stove and made a cup of tea, and now I feel much better.

* I thought it might also be more energy efficient, although it appears that the savings in greenhouse emissions from using gas are largely erased by the fact that it takes twice as long as an electric jug to heat the water. (A gas stovetop kettle is twice as efficient as an electric stovetop kettle, however.)

1 comment:

Alli said...

Oh Melody. I could have got you one like mine! It's the exact opposite here - electric kettles are hard to find but stove tops are everywhere....