It started in kindergarten with pens and ink pots and blotting paper. Since then I've loved writing. Transferring the noise in my head to paper calms the chaos. If a worthwhile thought occasionally emerges, I'll keep it here with memories, stories and other random trivia, of interest mainly to myself and, with a bit of luck, to the odd passerby.
Friday, July 18, 2014
Who Has Problems Cooking Water?
because photos of tea kettles are boring...
Have I ever told you about my adventures boiling water?
A few weeks ago our kettle started leaking, but no matter, I could still make a cup of tea. I reported the problem to the OC who probably wondered what I expected him to do about it but wisely made no comment other than a non committal grunt.
Last week I went to turn it on and nothing happened.
"The kettle has finally kicked the bucket," I reported.The OC, who sees no point in complaining if you're not going to fix the problem, fixed the problem. He went on line and ordered a new kettle.Meanwhile I boiled water for tea in a cooking pot. Later on, unaware that he had ordered a new one, I tried the kettle again. It worked.
Seems it had been unplugged. Ahem..
Years ago my cousin and her husband were visiting us in our new house in Minnesota.
They'd been out seeing the sights all day and were gasping for a cup of tea, so I put on the kettle and we waited for it to boil. The burners on the stove in that house were those flat, easy to clean ones but they took forever to heat up and forever, again, to cool down. So we waited. And waited. And Mairead nearly passed out from the thirst.
“Molly,” said she in her rich Irish brogue, “would ye ever
think about buying an electhric kettle?”
“Why?” says I, “what’s wrong with this one?” (I wasn’t quite
as thirsty as Mairead.)
“A body could die around here waiting for a cuppa tay!”
So off we went to the store and bought a fancy new kettle. Mairead
enjoyed many speedily made, restorative cups of tea on that visit and I
wondered what was wrong with me that I’d never thought of buying an electric kettle
before. I’m a creature of habit is my only excuse. I like to do things the way
I know how to do them.
When the OC came home, decades ago, with a microwave oven, I thought he was mad. I was sure those things were dangerous and it took me a while to accept that it might come in handy sometimes, like when you’ve forgotten your tea and you don’t want to drink it stone cold. Another time, out of the blue, he brought home a food processor. I told him I didn’t need it and hid it in the cupboard for months. I was afraid it would be so complicated I wouldn’t have a clue how to use it….or some such rationale. Finally one day, with mounds of vegetables to chop, I surreptitiously snuck it out of the cupboard to have a go and have been using it ever since.
I buy a box of Barry's tea about every six weeks. A few months back we decided that, in order to make more cupboard space, we should buy no more tea until everything we had was used up. We had run out of Barry's at that stage so we've been drinking herbal, green, and all the accumulated teas that we ignore when there's Barry's around (or if we're really lucky, Yorkshire!) They're all pale and insipid excuses for a decent cup of tea.
One of the purposes of a cup of tea is to restore your balance when you're feeling discombobulated. There aren't many problems that won't seem better if you can think about them over a nice, hot cup of tea. These teas were doing absolutely nothing for discombobulation. Yesterday I could stand it no longer. I stopped at the Irish Shop and bought some Barry's and caught up with Ellen, the owner, who thought I must have died.
Mairead eventually went back to Ireland and I went from
strength to strength in my ability to boil water in the new electric kettle. Then one morning, about a month after she’d left, I came downstairs,only half awake, and groped my way
into the still dark kitchen. Of all the places we've lived, my favorite kitchen
was the one in that house in Minnesota. It had two windows that met at right
angles over the kitchen sink so that, as I washed dishes, I could gaze out into
the trees and daydream. That morning, on auto pilot, I filled the new kettle
and put it on to boil, and, looking forward to that nice cup of tea that would wake me up, I turned to the sink to wash some dishes from the previous
evening. My mind was a thousand miles away as I scrubbed and dreamed until,
suddenly, I noticed a really obnoxious smell ……what on earth…..?
I turned towards the
stove, from whence it came, and saw the kettle floating in a sea of black melted plastic on top of the smooth burners. What a mess! Old habits die hard. I
guess it had not been quite long enough for the newfangled way of boiling
water to gel in my brain. In my half awake state I had turned on the stove and plonked the kettle on top, as I’d been doing for decades, forgetting all
about the little plugged-in black plastic stand it was supposed to sit on.
The new kettle arrived this morning. I bought those Barry's tea bags in the nick of time. I'm much better than I used to be, even a week ago, at cooking water. I've had several cups of good strong tea today and there's no discombobulation anywhere in sight.