It seems some Americans do not believe that there is a surge in demand for power at the end of Eastenders (a popular and long running soap opera here in the UK). Now whilst some of it is from the many, many pumps refilling water tanks after people have flushed the toilet another big chunk of it is from people putting on the kettle.

I was also surprised to find that lots of them only know the word “kettle” in conjunction with “tea” as in “tea kettle”. Seeing the word “kettle” on its own made them think we Brits were talking about some archaic unit of measurement.

As it turns out kettles aren’t popular in the US which confuses me. Even if I didn’t want tea quickly and easily I’d still own one. Whenever I cook pasta, boil vegetables, steam rice, or poach eggs, I use hot water. Am I really going to fill up a little pot with cold water and wait however many minutes it’ll take to heat up?2013-01-08 02.12.36

Hell no! Think of the wasted energy!

Instead I fill up a kettle – a contained vessel with a hotplate/heating element at the bottom – transferring heat directly to the water, not through air, then metal, then water.

Another Redditor asked why y’all like tea so much (no, really, he said “y’all”). Perhaps you’ll like my explanation:

Partly it's a familiar thing no matter where in the country one finds oneself, partly it's ritualistic.

So for example if something is stressful one can take a moment to drink a cup of tea. The mug acts as something comforting to hold and look over, distancing the drinker from the world psychologically. Taking a mental step back and getting some perspective whilst also drinking something that has always been there since childhood. Then there's some caffeine, usually some sugar, so it's got some useful stuff to perk up the person's mood too.

It's also a useful icebreaker, even if one already knows someone - "Fancy a cuppa?" It's not got the associations of offering coffee to someone (often part of courting) but it also has that personal friendly touch if one remembers to make it to the person's preferences without asking specifics. It always cheers me up a little when someone brings me a cup of tea just the way I like it, even if I didn't feel like a cup beforehand.

I’ll pop the kettle on.

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