Wow! I’m always staggered how time seems to fly by, and the older I get, the faster it disappears. Well today is a pretty significant day at our end – it’s 2 years since we boarded the flight from Manchester and touched down here in Edmonton. Doesn’t feel like 2 years, that’s for sure. Just goes to show how quickly time flies when you’re having fun …..
As if to mark the event, some of my Canadian appliances are starting to play up. I always remember my Gran saying that modern appliances never seem to last half as long as they used to – I think she never did replace the original oven that had been put in her house in 1954, and as for the vacuum – it was probably one of the original models of ‘Hoover’ ever manufactured and even outlived her. It would have been of archeological significance had she still been alive today – she sadly left us in 2000. And now I find myself sounding just like her. Let’s hope her penchant for ‘Baileys’ (other irish liqueurs are also readily available), and the copious quantities she actually consumed, aren’t as contagious. Mind you, I am noticing a tendency to stock up on toilet rolls (just in case we ever run out), which was another thing she was renowned for. At this rate, I’ll be able to support the whole of south-west Edmonton for at least 72 hours should there be a national shortage ….Anyhow. It’s the kettle. It’s not been well for a few weeks and has suddenly given up the ghost, despite no end of coaxing and cajoling into operation. It’s probably taken umbrage from excessive use, and now refuses to even turn on. Now I know for a fact, that I had to buy it after we arrived on Canadian soil – so less than 2 years usage doesn’t sound that much to me. Mind you, I’m a Brit, and I take my tea-making very seriously – and the poor appliance has probably given up from overwork. My husband would no doubt empathise ……
So I thought I’d treat myself and upgrade to a newer model (the kettle, not my husband). My list of requirements isn’t long. It’s a kettle. I just want it to reach boiling point as quickly as possible – so I can focus on the really important aspect of steeping the tea leaves for the required duration to produce the perfect brew. It’s an art form. Nothing more. Nothing less.Off I trotted to the local Canadian Tire emporium, trying to stifle the excitement of obtaining an appliance which can rapid-boil in the least amount of time. Life in the fast lane when you’re in your 40’s, eh!
Imagine then my horror and utter confusion upon entering the store and facing a shelf-full of kettles, to find none of them ‘advertising’ the rapid-boil facility. In fact, I struggled to find anything remotely referencing this key attribute. Top of the list as the feature of choice was a ‘variable temperature’ option – some of which declared you could programme up to 6 different settings into the kettle. I must admit I was bemused. It’s a kettle. The last time I was in school doing science, the boiling point of water was 100C and to the best of my knowledge, this hasn’t changed since.My tea drinking has largely centred around black teas – moving over the years from Typhoo (you only get an ‘OO’) to Tetley, then Yorkshire Tea, and now mostly Earl Grey (for the more discerning palate). All of which the perfect brewing temperature is 100C – it’s the ‘steeping’ time which is the more variable element. So completely flummoxed as to the need for variable temperatures in a kettle – and programmable ones at that – I grabbed the boxes from the shelves hoping for some enlightenment. Now I know it’s probably not news to you, but it was certainly news to me, to discover that correctly brewing more delicate types of tea – especially green tea – requires lower water temperatures. Who knew? I didn’t. Not only that, but brewing delicate teas in too-hot water can create a bitter taste. If you frequently brew green and white teas, investing in an electric kettle with variable temperature control saves you the bothersome process of first boiling water, then waiting for it to cool to the correct temperature. My (flippant) answer would be, to drink black teas and then you’d never have to wait …..Needs must when the devil drives – and a replacement had to be procured quickly for me to maintain my ‘black’ tea drinking frequency. I went for the simplest version with no additional features other than the ability to boil water. It’s marginally faster than my previous one – but who’ve guessed that procuring a kettle would provide a cultural insight into the boiling requirements of Canadian consumers. We may be two years in, but I’m still learning new things every day.