Polly Put The Kettle On

Tea Kettle reflection

Image by stopthegears via Flickr

I have never considered myself at ease in the kitchen, but apparently everything is relative when you take into account the diverse culinary backgrounds of my previous roommates. Some were whizzes who owned every gadget ever advertised on the Food Network, and whipped up delicious dishes to correspond. While others opted for takeout or restaurant leftovers which more often than not would settle into the back terrain of the refrigerator long past its expiration date.

The one roommate whose culinary adventure stands out most in my mind – the guy who had never heard a tea kettle. Despite my lack of cooking prowess, I always preferred boiling water to nuking it in the microwave for a real cup of tea. For all my lack of finesse in the kitchen, there was something about the old fashioned boiled water on the stove approach which calmed me.

I only owned a simple small pot when my roommate and I moved into the apartment. That winter, I received a gift – my first tea kettle. Elevating my kitchen status several rungs, this kettle empowered me to brew a more civilized cup of tea. As I proudly filled it with water, turned the burner on, and walked into the other room as it warmed, the saga of my roommate and the tea kettle commenced.

Because I had filled the tea kettle to capacity, I knew it would take a few minutes until ready. In the interim, I became engrossed in a project and completely forgot about the tea. Suddenly, I heard shrieking from outside my room, jolting me away from the project. Fearing the worst, I stood up to rescue my new tea kettle.

Instead,  I discovered the source of the noise was actually my roommate yelling in unison with the tea kettle’s sharp whistle. His down comforter wrapped around him like a cloak, he shouted hysterically: “What is happening?! Is there a fire? Do we need to evacuate?”  I reassured him, “that’s just my tea kettle” as I ran into the kitchen to lower the burner. “That is what a tea kettle sounds like?” he asked with the most perplexed expression.

Apparently, along with not knowing how to use a microwave (I taught him), he had never before encountered a tea kettle. He had mistakenly thought the loud screech was a fire engine.   As I showed him the new addition to our kitchen was merely a stainless steel kettle replacement to my pot, I decided to think very carefully about my next culinary addition. Afterall,  I had no idea what his reaction to the sound of a mix master might be…

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