Things I’ve Learnt From Ravelry . . . No. 4

16 February 2012

Well, I think we settled the “who pays for bridesmaids’ dresses” question.  In the USA and Australia, the cost is generally down to the bridesmaid.  In the UK, it would be considered very rare for the bridesmaid to pay for her own dress.  Wasn’t that interesting?  (I did say these weren’t great philosophical questions – I’m just interested in how countries with a common language and a common heritage have adopted and adapted different customs.)

Now we get onto the question of electric kettles!   It would seem that American households don’t generally own an electric kettle.  Some households don’t appear to own a kettle of any sort.   The American families I’ve stayed with didn’t have kettles. 

I doubt whether I know anyone, either in Australia or the UK, who doesn’t own a kettle – and the vast majority of those would be electric kettles.  It’s fairly rare to see a stove-top version nowadays. 

I can’t find the “kettle-owning” statistics for Australia but in the UK in 2006, just under 8 million electric kettles were sold, to about 26 million households.  (Boy, isn’t this interesting?)

I can’t find any figures for the sale of electric kettles in the US, but there are a number of sites where the question is asked “Why don’t American households use electric kettles?” so it would appear that this is a common query from those of us who live elsewhere.  The answer given most often is that they aren’t great tea-drinkers.  But I don’t drink tea at all.  A lot of my life I’ve lived on my own, but still had a kettle as it’s the fastest and easiest way of boiling water.

Interesting, or what? (OK – probably what)




  1. You might look under the name water cooker for the US as well. Have heard them referred to that way.

    My mum and sis swear by theirs. I use a traditional tea kettle on the stove and am perfectly happy with it. I turn it on in the morning after feeding the cats and have a large Nalgene jar of hot tea to take to work with me. I drink a lot of tea. 🙂

  2. I had to use the coffee maker in the hotel rooms I stayed in in the US to boil water for my tea. (And, despite being upmarket hotels, they didn’t have a fridge – which is standard in hotel rooms here – so I couldn’t use proper milk in my tea!)

    We use an electric kettle mostly, but do have a whistling stove-top one, as being out in the bush power failures are not uncommon.

  3. I have seen this come up before on a a very large international forum. Not Ravelry. Many in USA use saucepans for water, others use what we would call a kettle here.

    The consensus reached , even by people from USA is that we have 240 electricity which is much quicker to boil water than the rate in USA.

  4. funny you should post this on the day one of my employees was running out the door right on 5 to buy a good kettle – not one of those crappy ones from the supermarket that break all the time – because they couldn’t live without a kettle….

  5. Well, I live in the US and I own a kettle for on-top-of-the-stove use. I grew up in a household with a kettle also. There are devices available to heat water quickly, I don’t know why they aren’t more popular here. It’s true that tea-drinking isn’t as popular here as in other English-speaking countries. Tho I drink tea myself. Maybe this is just one of those mysteries of life?

  6. We have a stove top kettle. We used to own electric kettles but we worked out with our Gas cooktop the stovetop kind was fine.

    I bought us a gorgeous shiny red kettle only dh left it on the stove. When he is home he fills it only a little to get it to boil quickly and melted the handles when he let it boil dry. We have reverted to the $10-15 camping style kettles from kmart. I am on to number 2 but they have both lasted longer than the $100+ one we originally bought.

  7. I think here in the US a kettle is thought of as a direct conduit to a cup of tea. I have 1 (actually 3 but that’s a long sordid story)….but I love a cup of tea.

    You also might look them up under “hot pot” – that’s what they were called when I was an university.

  8. We have an electric kettle, and all of the coffee stations around the office also have a kettle. Electricity here in Canada is 120V. Hotel rooms usually have both a coffee maker and a little kettle, at least the ones I’ve stayed in.

    In university, I also had a hot pot, which is effectively a kettle with a lid like a saucepan (as opposed to a small lid like a teapot), which was handy for making soup, semi-instant pasta and the like.

    I wonder if my mother has stopped lecturing waitresses and waiters on the “proper” way to prepare tea…

  9. I don’t own a kettle – don’t think I’ve ever had one, and I’m not a hot tea drinker.

  10. As a child, my parents had a gas stove and a stove-top kettle! My husband put the kettle on the stove top without filling it (a big no-no), someone lit the gas under it and that was the end of the kettle. It was a long time before WM lived that one down!
    My parents only bought an electric kettle in 1986 when they moved to a house with an electric stove – it took so long for the element to heat that they could have finished their cup of tea! When Nanna died they replaced the electric stove with a gas one but they still used their electric jug.

  11. I’m in the US and I grew up with a whistling tea-kettle on the stove, and I have and use one in my home. I’ve considered trying an electric kettle, however, I have a tiny kitchen and not much for counter space, storage or outlets. So…a tea kettle on the stove-top works well for me. And yes, I do like to drink tea.

  12. What do you mean you don’t drink tea? You’re english aren’t you? 😉

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