killclaudio: (Default)
[personal profile] killclaudio
Completely, utterly random question regarding kettles. Yes, you read that right. What? I'm British. I'm obsessed with tea.

I've noticed that stories in dS fandom have Fraser or Ray boiling the kettle by placing it on the stove. In Fraser's case I can understand, because his utensils tend to look as though he's going camping, but I would have expected Ray to have an electric kettle. I don't think I even know anyone who owns the other kind.

I tried shopping for a kettle on the internet and it seems you can buy them in American stores, so why this uniform desire to write Ray with an old-fashioned kettle? I would have thought Ray would be all about convenience, and electic kettles turn themselves off after they've boiled, which is awfully helpful, whereas you have to watch the other kind. Personally, I find that I can put teabags in the pot, turn the kettle on, and then wander off to do something else. Half an hour later I'll remember that I was trying to make tea. But that's another story.

I also came across a non-electic kettle in a Snape/Lupin story recently, which made me wonder if it was an American thing instead of a dS thing. And since one of the prompts from [livejournal.com profile] ds_snippets this week is Tea and Sympathy it seemed pertinent.

I fail at cultural awareness, I know. It was just idle curiosity, but anyone care to enlighten me?

(no subject)

Date: 2007-08-14 12:35 am (UTC)
omphale: (Default)
From: [personal profile] omphale
I can't think of anyone with an electric kettle. I must know such people, but I've never had one (even though I drink tea every day) and everyone I know of thinks of the stove kind when they think kettle.

And you don't have to watch the stove kind. When they're ready, they whistle. And then you turn off the stove and make tea. Usually in a pitcher which then goes into the refrigerator until it's cold.

I do have a coffeemaker that we use once or twice a week. Most people in the States have one of those, if that helps.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-08-14 12:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kill-claudio.livejournal.com
That's hugely helpful, thank you! *takes notes* I knew that the stove kind whistled, but I guess you still have to go and rescue the water before it boils dry?

Everyone I know who drinks coffee has instant, which I swear is the food of the devil. It tastes like freeze-drying chemicals. Bleeeurgh.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-08-14 01:15 am (UTC)
omphale: (Default)
From: [personal profile] omphale
Well, yeah. You have to turn the stove off. But the whistle is really loud and piercing and the only opening on the tea kettle, so it's not going to really risk boiling dry.

Everyone I know who drinks coffee has instant, which I swear is the food of the devil.

That's really sort of sad. I mean, I'll drink instant if I'm out somewhere and all I have is one of the little single-serve packets. But real coffee is miles away from the instant kind.

Americans seriously cringe at the sight of RayK drinking instant coffee out of the tap. It's not a good sign, that a guy who counts his candies out doesn't bother to stick the coffee cup in the microwave to heat up the water.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-08-14 12:36 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lipstickcat.livejournal.com
Personally, I find that I can put teabags in the pot, turn the kettle on, and then wander off to do something else. Half an hour later I'll remember that I was trying to make tea.

It's that moment when you suddenly think, "hhhmmmm, I should have a cuppa knocking around here somew--- Oh. Hang on...."

(no subject)

Date: 2007-08-14 01:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kill-claudio.livejournal.com
I know! I did exactly that this afternoon. And when I went back into the kitchen I found a cup with milk and a teabag sitting there and a lukewarm kettle. I hate to think how much electricity I waste boiling the kettle. *sighs guiltily*

(no subject)

Date: 2007-08-14 01:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greenonme.livejournal.com
I have to second [livejournal.com profile] omphale23, kettle + stove go together like... er, stuff that goes together... I think it calls to the homesteader and cowboy instict in all americans. *g*

electric kettle, pshaw. (although i think i'd like to actually see one of them... /dork)

(no subject)

Date: 2007-08-14 01:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kill-claudio.livejournal.com
Actually I'm beginning to want a stove kettle - novelty value I suppose. They're much prettier. Even if I suspect electic kettles are quicker. And they turn themselves off! *is so incredibly lazy*

(no subject)

Date: 2007-08-14 02:01 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] vsee.livejournal.com
I used to drink coffee sometimes, but now I am only a decaf/herbal tea drinker for health reasons. I drink tea at least once a day all winter, and tea has become a ritual whenever I have company or when I visit any of my family.

I started with a stove kettle with a whistle, but my stove is not the best, so I recently bought an electric kettle. I avoided them for a long time because they seemed so cheap and plasticky, and it seemed silly to buy yet another gadget. My sister is the only other person I know with an electric kettle. We have the same one, a large capacity (2L) one that boils water in just a couple of minutes. It's a lot less ugly than most of the electic kettles I saw, and is black plastic and brushed metal. The big drawback is that it is not inuslated, and the exterior gets really damned hot. Gotta be careful.

I think the American electric kettle gap has to do with the prejudice against tea. Heavy duty coffee drinkers all have drip coffee makers, and if they happened to want a cup of boiled water, they'd probably microwave it.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-08-14 02:09 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] vsee.livejournal.com
Oh my, I am absentminded tonight. My whole point was to mention Ray K, of course! In Eclipse, the whole point is his lack of care/bachelor ways, which is probably obvious. But what I was going to say is that he would be unlikely to own an electric kettle for sure, but quite likely to own a drip coffeemaker. I always read that scene in Eclipse to mean that he is new to housekeeping on his own, or stressed out or even too depressed to get it together to make coffee just for himself, even though he'd really like some. But it would never mean (to me) that he doesn't even own a coffeemaker, especially since his kitchen seems otherwise pretty well equipped, if you squint at the background in that scene.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-08-14 12:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kill-claudio.livejournal.com
Wow, that's brilliant, thanks! I'd assumed that Ray was in a hurry (and perhaps not ver organised), hence the instant-and-tap-water, which is utterly disgusting. So it's nice to have that confirmed, that he would have a coffee maker. I suppose the most likely option, if he's making tea for Fraser, is to microwave the water.

We do have a coffee maker, so it's not unheard of, but that's mainly because I refuse to drink instant coffee. It gets used about once a month. I'd be curious to know how you think the electric kettle and the stove compare.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-08-14 12:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] vsee.livejournal.com
I adore the electric kettle, and will always have one as long as I can find one that isn't so ugly, to replace my pretty one if it ever breaks. I don't like to microwave water...it's hard to get it to a real boil without it seeming like it's going to do that blowing up over the edge thing. Ray might do what I used to do before I even had a stove kettle...he might just heat water up in a saucepan. And given the state of his kitchen, he might just happen to have a stove kettle. It's not that unusual.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-08-14 04:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] the_antichris.livejournal.com
I've never met anyone with a stove kettle! *shakes head* Americans are weird. I think [livejournal.com profile] vsee's got it right with the anti-tea prejudice, because all the Australian and Canadian kitchens I've seen had proper electric kettles.

Kettle story: We used to have an old electric one that didn't have an automatic switch - until my mum put it on for tea one day, wandered off to play solitaire on the computer, and forgot about it until she smelled smoke. Fun times!

(no subject)

Date: 2007-08-14 12:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kill-claudio.livejournal.com
I'm glad other people share my love of tea, then! *clings* When my housemates and I started moving in together last month, we realised that we all own a kettle. Except, er, I inadvertently own two, having thought I'd lost one. So now our house has seven kettles.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-08-14 06:03 am (UTC)
ext_12745: (Default)
From: [identity profile] lamentables.livejournal.com
Back when I was a child we had a stove kettle - my perception is that they were much more common in the UK then. My family absent-mindedly burned the bottoms out of more than one kettle.

I was a bit boggled on my only trip to the US that the hotel room provided a coffee maker and not a kettle. I do drink coffee (only the real thing for me) but I mostly live on peppermint tea.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-08-14 06:04 am (UTC)
ext_12745: (Default)
From: [identity profile] lamentables.livejournal.com
Mr Lamentables confirms his family also used a stove kettle when he was a child.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-08-14 12:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kill-claudio.livejournal.com
I do remember my grandmother having a stove kettle on her Aga at home, a massive thing that probably made tea for about twenty people. It was much prettier than my electic kettle, but unfortunately that had the bottom burned out of it to.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-08-16 06:43 am (UTC)
ext_12745: (Default)
From: [identity profile] lamentables.livejournal.com
I'm old, but probably not as old as your grandmother, you know ;)

(no subject)

Date: 2007-08-16 11:34 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kill-claudio.livejournal.com
I didn't mean that! *toes dirt* *looks sheepish*

(no subject)

Date: 2007-08-14 05:02 pm (UTC)
ext_3554: dream wolf (Default)
From: [identity profile] keerawa.livejournal.com
I confirm that Americans mostly have stove-top kettles and drip coffee-makers. The only exception is college students and others in housing with NO STOVE. And we don't call them electric kettles. We call them hot pots. Also, I think they don't usually have timers.

Yes, I have lived off Top Ramen noodles prepared in a hot pot.

But now I'm all upscale, and heat my water in a kettle before making my coffee in a French press.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-08-14 06:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kill-claudio.livejournal.com
No stove? No stove? How do you eat? I thought I was put-upon at university because I had to share my kitchen with twenty-four other people, but no cooker at all? *gapes*

Although I too have lived off noodles. I guess laziness and student poverty crosses cultural boundaries.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-08-14 11:43 pm (UTC)
ext_3554: dream wolf (Default)
From: [identity profile] keerawa.livejournal.com
No stove? How do you eat?

American university students generally eat 2 or 3 meals a day at the school's cafeteria. Other folks with no stove eat prepared foods, use a hot pot, and haunt garage sales looking for a cheap microwave. You have NO IDEA what an upgrade a microwave is. It's like the invention of fire all over again.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-08-16 06:46 am (UTC)
ext_12745: (Default)
From: [identity profile] lamentables.livejournal.com
*boggles*

There's no wonder that I'm always bumping up against the idea that Americans don't/can't cook.