A Traditional English Teakettle

This may be a non-sequitur to our time in Hobart, but you're probably sick of hearing about how wonderful this city is and I thought a change of pace was in order. I've been asked recently (and many times in the past) what items I considered essential in my galley. Before we even bought Nine of Cups, our son, Brennan, gave us a whistling tea kettle for Christmas one year. It's chrome over copper, sturdy, well made, a proper British kettle made by Simplex. When we moved aboard Nine of Cups, it came with us. It was hard to know at the time what to bring and what to leave behind. We sold or gave away most everything in the way of furniture, fine china and artwork. Kitchen utensils and pots and pans seemed reasonable to move aboard. Over the years, some have been discarded for non-use and others have been replaced. The kettle, however, has maintained it place.

The kettle moved aboard with us almost as part of the crew and it sits comfortably on the stovetop. David installed a potguard on the stove to keep the kettle (and other pots or pans) in place when we're underway. Of all the pots, pans and implements in the galley, this is the one item that I use and admire the most. It has my affection...as much as you can effectively love a kettle. It gives the galley a warm, homey look. When I clean the galley, the last item to be wiped and polished till its shine reflects the world around it, is the kettle. When the kettle shines and whistles, I'm content.

Here's how the company describes its teapots:

“Combining the virtues and traditions of Victorian design and elegance, with the innovations of modern technology, Simplex Kettles are considered by many as the only true Old English Tea Kettle. Recently a copper kettle was provided as a gift for the wedding of William and Kate which describes the stature of these products. You do not just purchase a kettle, but an heirloom of your life that will serve you well for many years and become a partner to you in your kitchen.” Pretty impressive, wouldn't you say?

Despite the flowery language, they only provide a year's guarantee now. Wonder what that means?

Actually, I had a problem with the kettle about two years ago. The wooden handle was getting gnarly and the chrome handle supports were all rusted out. Perhaps from all the salt air? Nevertheless, figuring that England is a chilly, damp island and they must know how to deal with the salt air issues, I contacted Simplex. I sent an e-mail with pictures of the gnarly handle and chrome supports. I didn't expect an answer quickly, so I was quite surprised when a few days later I received a nice reply from their Customer Service asking for the address to which the replacement parts could be sent...at their expense. What? They were standing by their product and making it good again? Sure enough, the new parts arrived in about a week and my old kettle looked good as new.

Some things go the way of spaghetti servers and lime zesters on this boat. No time for silly gadgets or single-purpose items ... and other things remain “my partner in the kitchen”.