Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Bright Copper Kettles

I'm not sure it counts as a Christmas song, or rather, why it counts as a Christmas song, but nonetheless it seems I hear "My Favorite Things" every Yuletide season. Generally I find the song overtly sentimental and sappy, especially when sung from the seminal musical it derives from (it's not one of those songs that was redeemed in later versions, like "Over the Rainbow" which takes on new poignancy when sung by... by... by that guy who sings it whose name I wrote down and now can't find). However, while I was waiting for the water to boil for some tea the other day it occurred to me I do have a mild attachment to a bright copper kettle.

I'm presuming they meant tea kettle, though of course you can buy copper cooking implements of all kind. I have heard that while they look nice, they are not ideal for serious cooking, so I don't own any. I think simply to boil water in, however, they would do just fine. Plus, they're decorative, so it's a bonus. I don't have one, though I do have a tea kettle, and perhaps it's because mine seems to be falling apart and I am in need of a new one that my thoughts turned to the shiny versions.

I own a microwave, so I am aware I could boil water in about a minute, maybe two. (It's an old microwave and the display is long since burned out.) Yet, in defiance of the rest of the patterns in my life in which I almost always embrace the more modern option, when I need water for tea I still prefer to boil it. Or if I need water for a single cup of coffee. I can't say for certain that it really tastes better – or even different – if I boil it the old fashioned way, just that I think it does. I also think the water out of the bathroom tap tastes different than the water from the kitchen. Yes, I am aware of my issues.

It certainly takes longer to boil water using the kettle, and when I didn't have a stove (back in college) I used the microwave. So it's not as if I have a complete aversion to it. As long as I have the option, though, I prefer the non-tech version. I think it adds something to the kitchen as well, and a kitchen without a tea kettle seems somehow incomplete to me. If I visit someone else's home I confess I am always a little skeptical if they don't have one. If you can't take the time involved to prepare a decent cup of tea, what else have you skimped on, culinary-wise?

I could draw a few cultural and historical allusions to the Japanese Tea Ceremony... but that would be stretching things far out of proportion. I don't have any ritual to the process, just boil, pour, and steep. I even use tea bags. (Because they're cheap, mostly.)

So while I could - and have - gone without a microwave, I think I'd be much more out of sorts without a tea kettle. Even if mine is stainless steel with a black plastic handle.


Singer416 said...

Somewhere Over the Rainbow sung by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole.

Great version. :)

bettielee said...

I do not have a kettle. :( I tend to drink my tea iced, and coffee replaced hot tea a long time ago. I don't know why. One of those things, I guess...