Don’t Try this at Home


One of the things we’ve really come to enjoy here in Scotland is the kettle. Everyone has a kettle and uses it every day. It is a remarkable little device that boils water in seconds instead of minutes, faster than the stove top, even faster than the microwave.

At first we wondered why there were no kettles in America. Then we realized that here in Britain we get 220 volts of power out of our wall sockets instead of the paltry 110 available in the US. You can simply do more with more power.

Kettles are expressly designed for boiling water, but are not so good at anything else. Warnings are printed all over the instructions, but are easily ignored by those who toss them in the bin or file them neatly in a drawer or fail to explain the natural limitations of the device to their children

Last week I came downstairs and filled our trusty friend with the requisite amount of water for my coffee and flicked the switch. Instead of bubbling it fizzled and switched itself off.

I’m told these things do wear out and seem to do so regardless of the money spent on them up front. Ours is less than a year old so I was a bit disappointed to have to replace it so soon.

I pulled the top off to have a look; there was black stuff at the bottom.

“Are those water deposits?” I wondered.

I tried scraping them off to no avail. Our poor kettle just fizzled again and shut down. So, I boiled my water in a saucepan and resigned myself to buying a new kettle.

Later, Lisa was going through the same process: filling the kettle, hearing the fizzle, checking the bottom, scraping the black stuff.

“You know, Jessie (8 yrs.) tried to boil milk in this thing.”

“You’re joking.”

“No, she was trying to make chocolate milk.”

It’s not an unreasonable supposition to expect a kettle to do the same for milk as it does for water. But, it doesn’t work. Milk is just too complicated, it’s too much for a kettle.

After considerable scraping to remove the burnt milk from the bottom of our beloved kettle Lisa was able to get it going again, but it’s just not the same.

“This thing doesn’t work as well as it used to.”

“No Dear, I suppose it doesn’t. At least we don’t have to buy a new one. Have you had a little talk with Jessie?”

“Yes Dear, I have.”

“Good, and the rest of the children?”

“Yes Dear, and don’t you love being a parent?”

“Yes Dear I do, very much.”

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