Thursday, 15 July 2010

Unimportant but interesting cultural lessons

It feels so good to be posting regularly again and getting all the nonsense in my head out onto the screen. *grin*

After all my "did you know" facts yesterday, I discovered something I didn't know, courtesy of our current guest, Ana.

Most Americans don't have electric kettles.

I had no idea! I don't know how I would survive without my kettle, especially during winter. For those of you who don't know what an electric kettle is... a pic or two:

Most South African households have an electric kettle in the kitchen. As we generally have electric stoves as opposed to gas ones, kettles heat up our water for tea or coffee more economically and much faster than boiling water on the stove. They are super useful things - aside from making tea, coffee, hot chocolate and Milo, I use mine to heat the water for pasta to boiling before I pour it into the pot on the stove, which makes it much quicker, or I boil the water for my hot water bottle, which I carry around the house with me in winter, seeing almost no South African home has central heating.

Anyway, I was just gobsmacked when Ana came to me and said, "I really like these tea water warmer things you have in South Africa. I'm thinking of taking one home with me."

Most Americans seem to have coffee percolators, and many of our guests have never seen a plunger / bodem before, which we use to make coffee. Pic:

I've learnt lots about our little cultural differences this World Cup. It's been good fun. For exmaple, I learnt that in Malaysia, it's common to add "La" at the end of a sentence as a space-filler. So you might stay, "Don't be like that, la."I think that's nearly as weird as the fact that we South Africans call traffic lights "robots" ;-)


Shayne said...

I bought a Le Crueset Stove Top kettle some time back - and it sits on top of my Aga boiling away - i love it and i'm sure my tea tastes better in it!

Amazing the differences - you would think USA & SA would be kinda on par?

Momcat said...

I have got into the habit of using boiling water from the kettle in all my cooking. I top up stews and rice while cooking from the kettle and also start off veggies with boiling water. I'm usually in a hurry and this really speeds it up plus lessens power usage. I must boil the kettle full at least five times during a typical cooking session. Plus my son at home boils the kettle constantly for coffee and my kitties use it as a heater, snuggling five at a time around it for warmth. In fact my best kettle was broken not long ago by the kitties pushing it off the counter while snuggling around it. Its a hardworking appliance in my home!

Shania said...

I've just recently been introduced to the french press, which is what you call a plunger, but we call a plunger what you use to unclog the toilet, so we can't call it that...aaaand, I love it.

Anonymous said...

Good to have you back on a regular basis!

I assume more Americans would have a coffee machine though. Tea doesn't seem to be as popular there as it is in other ex-British colonies.

I also use my kettle when heating water for cooking; but then again; I have a gas stove so I am not sure whether I am actually saving power!

Anonymous said...

Wow, that really is something. We accept an electric kettle as so standard it would never occur to me that someone wouldn't have one.

Helen said...

Wow, life without a kettle woould be horrible! That said, kettles do use a lot of power - that's why I switched from hot water bottle to electric blanket - using the blanket for 7 hours uses the same amount of electricity as boiing the kettle once!

You can't make tea with it though :p