Tag Archives: Kettles

Doesn’t Bode Well For The Future…

27 Feb

I have signed up to Twitter. There has been a lot of publicity this week about British MPs signing up and I thought well, if they can use it, so can I, as technept as I am. It doesn’t bode well, however, that a lot of the publicity has been about Twitter identities being hijacked. Nor does it bode well for me that I told my family I had signed up to ‘Tweeter’. They thought I had become a birdwatcher. Or is that ‘twitcher’? Tweeters are usually paired up with woofers in a Not The Nine O’Clock News sketch, aren’t they? This online stuff is complicated.

My Twitter name is laughwife because I couldn’t fit the whole of ‘thelaughinghousewife’ in. I am a little concerned that my new name makes me sound like a crazy fishwife. My first tweet probably didn’t help: Is there anyone in America who owns an electric kettle? I haven’t had any replies yet so if you are reading this; live in the States; have important information pertaining to kitchen appliances; and nothing better to do, please tell me.

This question is still bugging me. I think the answer is ‘no’ because a look at blogs discussing similar topics turned up a raft of Americans now living abroad who rave about the wonders of their newly-discovered electric kettles. There are even posts dedicated to instructions on how to use them properly. I wouldn’t have thought you could say much beyond, ‘Fill with water. Switch on. Wait,’ but you’d be surprised at the detail these kettle converts go into. I’m not going to mock because I remember my Mother’s wonder at her first automatic washing machine after years of slaving over a twin tub; and my own astonishment, when we first went out to South Africa, at the miracle that is the sandwich toaster.

Do you think John Hawkins, Sir Francis Drake and Sir Walter Raleigh felt the same way about the potato? Bet they never foresaw the invention of the chip pan or the deep fat fryer. I wonder if they have those in America? Probably not: tea and chips are very English habits; though, of course, we didn’t invent either of them – Belgium invented chips, according to my Asterix the Gaul books.

Here’s an interesting fact about kettles that I came across when I was researching the potato:

1891
Electric Kettle Crompton and Company developed the electric kettle in England. The earliest examples of electric kettles all had the element in a separate chamber underneath similar to traditional vessels which boiled water and had the fire underneath the pot.

From: http://www.open2.net/historyandthearts/history/food_timeline_html.html

It has just occurred to me that my non-Brit readers might not know the term ‘fishwife’. It is a derogatory term for a woman, meaning one who swears loud and long in public. It originally referred only to women who sold fish but was made notorious by the women of Billingsgate fish market in the Nineteenth Century. Now, of course, it seems like every female in Britain, from two to ninety-two, swears like a fishwife and gives the first fishwives a bad name.

I’m starting to feel hungry for some reason; I am suddenly in the mood for fish and chips and a mug of tea. Must be the hard work of writing trivia that only I could possibly be interested in.  It makes me feel a bit of a twit, which doesn’t bode well for the future of this blog….

PS Did you know (from the same source; or ibid, for my Latin friends) that ‘by the early 1900s there [were] more than 30,000 chippies in Britain’?  Me neither.

America, Please Enlighten Me

26 Feb

This is something that has puzzled me for years: are there no electric kettles in the USA?

Watch American movies and tv carefully: whenever a cup of tea or coffee is made, the character fills a kettle and puts it on the stove. No-one ever plugs a kettle into the wall. Why is this? I mention it because I was reading WendyUsuallyWanders this morning and she had an interesting virtual tour of her kitchen, and I noticed there was no kettle. I asked her the same question and she was a little helpful: she doesn’t drink tea or coffee herself but she has seen electric kettles in other homes. But that doesn’t tell me why they never appear on tv. Is there a ban on their use in the media, like there is for cigarettes? Does the American Government know and is not telling us that electric kettles cause lung cancer?

There is also the question of tea: why do Americans drink tea with the bag still in the cup? I know this is so because the string and label always hang over the side. The tea must be stewed by the time they get to the bottom of it. No wonder there are so many hairy people in the States. And don’t get me started on how they drink it the minute the boiling water is poured in – do they all have asbestos lips? My own theory is that America has traditionally been a nation of coffee drinkers and directors want to show their characters’ individuality by making it obvious that they are tea drinkers: maverick detective with hirsute trout pout clears name by killing seventy-three queuing assailants with six bullets, and rounds off the day with a nice cup of Earl Grey. Or it could just be a matter of product placement. But that still doesn’t explain the weird absence of electric kettles.

‘Queuing’ came from last night’s writing class, where we discussed the fact that there are no new stories, then segued into movie clichés: the baddies always take turns fighting the hero instead of rushing him en masse. It’s usually a him. He might have – in fact, he will have – a gorgeous female sidekick and she will have a fabulous name and these days can kick butt as well as him, but she will inevitably be captured and be reduced to ‘the girl’: ‘Let the girl go/just give me the girl/blow up the Isle of Man or the girl gets it.’ If I am ever captured and the Hub rescues me and I hear him say, ‘Let the girl go,’ the first thing I will do after my grateful smooch will be to kick his butt and leave him for a dentist. It annoys me.

Then there is the matter of coffee drinkers: we see them in their homes, loading their stove-top kettles or their coffee machines. Next scene: a cardboard cup of coffee in their hands, bought from Starbucks on the way to fight crime. What’s that about? Are the stove-top kettles decoys? Or a subliminal message…if it ain’t from a street vendor you’re killing the planet?

One final question: do I spend too much time watching tv and worrying about inanities?

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