60 thoughts on “Cherry Saturday, January 11, 2020

  1. Mind blown! I’ve just read (thanks Twitter) that many Americans don’t have an electric kettle? I’m not even starting the argument about whether the milk goes in the cup first, I just want to know how do you make tea?! Cultural clash I had no idea about.

    PS have just been to see Knives Out, I liked it a lot.

    1. They use tepid water. It doesn’t work. My mum had a tottering time when we visited. I’d ask the cafe to put the teabag in the cup and pour boiling water on it, but invariably she’d be served with a cup of hot water and a teabag on the side. Luckily for me, I’m not a tea drinker.

      And then there are their primitive washing machines. Land’s End told me the reason so many of their clothes were marked ‘hand wash’ or ‘dry clean’ only was that American machines would destroy them – and that in fact they could be washed in British washing machines.

      1. I’ve always envied my best friend’s (UK import!) electric teakettle, but really, if someone gave one to me as a gift, I’d have a problem because I don’t have enough countertop space to park one in.

        My parents had a small 1950s 2-cup coffee percolator, but used the ubiquitous large stovetop teakettle for tea and other purposes. And I’ve always had a teakettle on the stove for making tea, Melitta drip coffee, ramen noodles or whatever needed heating with a little extra hot water.

        In the US, coffee machines are far more ubiquitous because coffee is more commonly drunk. With cream or the weird flavored milk powder products. When I drink tea, I always prefer plain milk to cream because it seems to affect the flavor too much, which might not be the way British tradition would suggest — or would it?

        But I agree completely with Jane about the stupidity of American washing machines. Big, noisy, bulky, and inefficient, but they’re just about all we can obtain.

        1. Oh dear. I thought after I wrote it that my washing-machine comment must be out-of-date by now – it’s a good fifteen years old.

          Never heard of putting cream in tea. Doesn’t sound a good idea; but I’m no expert.

          If you have an electric kettle (which really doesn’t take up much space), you use it for all sorts – boiling water to cook frozen peas or rice, for example. My induction hob’s meant to boil water faster than an electric kettle, but so far I haven’t managed to rethink my routines. I suppose I should go American and buy a stove-top kettle; but I might let it boil dry; and it’d be no good to me if my boiler went wrong and I needed a kettle upstairs to top up the bath, as I’ve had to do recently.

          1. I don’t drink tea, but I have a kettle on the stove to boil water for coffee (I’ve never had a coffee machine–I’m a drip purist) and I’ve never thought using it for boiling water to cook food that you add to boiling water–like peas or rice–instead of adding the food to the boiling water. Coffee is all I use it for, but it stays on the stove all the time, just as the coffee pot stays right next to the stove all the time.
            I remember restaurants serving a teabag and a little pot of slightly hot water when I was a child. Trust me, Americans who drink tea at home make it with boiling water.
            Most American washing machines are top-loaders and have agitators which I believe are very rough on clothes. The only British washing machine I have met was in Belfast and it was a front-loader. Are most of them? My family has always stubbornly and expensively used front-loaders because they use less water, and most of us were on wells when we started using washing machines. Can this be the reason that I have clothes more than thirty years old that I have worn all the time that are still in perfectly good shape?

          2. I drink way more tea than coffee, and decaf either one. At work, I brew my tea in a 4-cup Mr. Coffee. I put a bag in the pot, add two or three servings of sweetener, pour a liter of bottled water in the reservoir, and let Mr. Coffee do the rest. At home I use a 5-cup Rival the same way.

            I used to own an electric kettle, but like jinx, I had nowhere to put or use it.

            Bakinnagoodoldays, we brewed tea in a six quart pot on the stove using a tea ball full of loose tea. After it cooled some, it went into gallon jugs in the fridge. Papa didn’t care for sugar, so it wasn’t sweet tea right off, and we discovered that Sweet-ten sweetener (saccharin) dissolved in iced tea where sugar almost never did unless you stirred your wrist into carpal tunnel syndrome. I took some of my bottle deposit money and bought some ice trays. I’d freeze tea so that adding ice didn’t result in watered-down tea.

            I lighten* my coffee, but never my tea. Am I drinking the wrong kind?

            * additives for lightening include, but are not limited to milk (whole, 2%, 1%, .5%, skim), cream, 1/2 & 1/2, whipping cream, almond milk, funny flavored coffee creamers that someone else buys/provides, and MCT Oil Powder. Also chocolate milk in various percentages. Atkins Dark Chocolate Royale Milk Shake beverage works very well.

      2. Really? I didn’t know that about American washing machines.

        The teabag beside the hot water, I did know about.

      3. I think “primitive” is probably not the right word to use — they’re just different. Most American machines are still toploaders with an agitator in the middle, whereas as European machines are frontloaders, which rely on a rolling drum. You can wash hand wash in both — I usually put the more sensitive pieces in lingerie bags, whether using a top loader or a front loader. I have had clothes wrecked by both…so I am not so judgmental.

        Re: electric kettle. Most of us in the States grew up with stovetop kettles. A lot of that is because many folks had gas stoves (hobs) rather than electric and natural gas is a lot cheaper than electricity. (Hence we heat our homes with gas rather than electric.) but mostly, if it ain’t broke, why fix it. My mom drank lots of tea and I grew up with the sound of the stovetop kettle whistle…

        An electric heating element, especially a “speed heating element like in an electric kettle is a HUGE consumer of electricity. It sucks many times more Kw down than heating your water on the stovetop, even if the stove is electric (it’s the speed that gulps down the electricity). If you’re watching electricity costs, go with your induction hob — a tiny fraction of the energy consumption for a result which only takes a couple of minutes longer.

        (NB: My German husband is used to an electric kettle, so we have one, but I will use our induction stove. There is really not that huge of a time difference IMHO.)

        1. Just to poke the stereotype a little further, I’m British and have an American electric kettle. You can adjust how hot you want your water to be – not all teas need 100 degree C water – and it’s also really reliable and well-constructed. I love it!

      4. “Tepid” water only in restaurants (because people expect a fresh teabag and also to be able to self determine how long to steep it). At home it’s always boiling water…just like for you.

      5. My teas are mainly Bigelow Earl Grey (decaf) and Twinings English Breakfast Tea (decaf). I also have Tetley and Lipton and store brands and such. All have instructions on the boxes, typically “Add freshly boiled water. Steep for 4 minutes. Do not microwave.”

        1. Milk is optional, but common, in black teas. There’s significant debate on whether the milk goes in the cup first, or tea first (Alto pretty much everyone agrees, if you’re making tea in a mug with a tea bag, it’s milk last.

    2. For the record, I have an electric kettle.
      I assume other people just microwave a cup of water.

      1. I use my Revere ware kettle on my gas burner and it works just fine, thank you. The only trouble is if you break the whistle. Since I can hear the whistle 2 rooms away, boiling the kettle dry has only been a problem once.
        My mother’s electric kettles, domestic or imported and expensive or cheap all died in under a year. The exception was more than 10 years ago. Since then the expensive ones were as bad as the cheap ones.

    3. Never even heard about electric kettles until I went to work for a Japanese guy who drank a lot of tea. I remember being amused that he had an appliance whose sole function was to make hot water when he already had a perfectly good stove and microwave.
      I use my Keurig to make hot water for any and everything. The water is too hot for me to drink right away, so definitely not tepid.

      1. I use my Keurig that way, too. It’s quick and hot enough. Certainly better than ‘restaurant’ tea. And ususally, it’s coffee for me. And no weird powders/fake flavored creamers.

    4. I turn on my electric kettle. If I’m making a pot of tea, l put the tea leaves in the pot and fill it with boiling water. If I’m making just one cup of tea, I put a tea bag in the cup and pour in boiling water.

      I don’t use milk or sugar in tea.

      If my electric kettle is broken, or being used by someone else, I use my Le Creuset kettle on the gas stove to boil the water.

      Usually I fail to wait long enough for the tea to cool and burn my tongue.

    5. I’m American! Most of the people I know who drink tea drink it cold (iced tea/sweet tea) and prepare it on the stove (unless they just buy it premade). I once flummoxed someone by offering him tea and then showing him teabags/tea leaves–he was expecting it cold and sweet.

      My mom microwaves water and then dunks a teabag in; my husband and I own an electric kettle and use it daily for pour over Chemex coffee, haha. Husband occasionally uses it for tea but I’m allergic.

    6. I have an electric kettle. We have friends that visit from Poland, so we have learned to drink hot tea as well. Not obsessively, especially in the summer, but quite a bit. It works great for hot chocolate as well!

    7. I was very happy to get an electric kettle for the house for Christmas. I can’t really drink coffee much, and this make tea soooo easy to prepare in the morning. I love it.

    8. I have a regular kettle, the kind you put on the stove. Also a water cooler (my well water is disgusting, alas) that has extremely hot water on one side.

      I don’t drink a lot of tea these days, but when I do, I assure you I use boiling water. I’m not a barbarian! (I also put milk in it.)

  2. I’m in the US and I have an electric kettle–Son and DIL got it for me when I discovered Harney & Sons teas. I love it, although I haven’t learned to put milk in my tea—just a little sugar. My grandmother always drank milk in her tea though… maybe I should try it… Tea is my afternoon go-to, but I’m a dyed-in-the-wool coffee drinker in the morning. Today we tried a new medium-roast Ethiopian bean that was quite good. Oh, and I’m one of those rare adults who loves a glass of milk (skim because that’s what I was raised on) with a meal.

    1. My kettle is a Cosori brand. I like it because it has minimal, muted beeping just when it’s finished. And it doesn’t beep every time I push a button. Plus it’s small and matte black.

  3. Love milk and proper tea… black tea, I won’t drink it without milk and sugar.

    Haven’t thought about milk deserts for a while though, used to love caramelle desert and African milk tart. Read Phryne Fisher recently so might make an Impossible Pie tonight

  4. I am not a big milk drinker but I swear Paul is part calf the milk he goes through.

    I think the washing machine thing was because of the agitators. Most now don’t have them. I have a giant top-load high efficiency machine and it’s very delicate on fabric. I, on the other hand, am not.

    I also have an electric kettle but I’m Canadian and my dad was a tea drinker. Over the years my mom switched him to coffee. I drink a lot of herbal teas and tisanes but no black teas.

    We are going away this weekend and we were going to just go tomorrow morning but it’s so flipping cold that we decided it would be idiocy of the highest order to leave a warm safe house in the dark (we would have had to leave at 7:30, sun isn’t awake until 9 ish) when we could leave a warm safe house this afternoon and get a hotel room. It’s -22 C/-8F but with the windchill it feels more like -29/-20 with the nights getting down to roughly -40 which is where C and F meet. It’s not impossible travel but it does mean that we take all our good winter gear with us. My hand-knit dinosaur toque is cute as hell and good for -10C but not for this weather.

  5. We bought an electric kettle while traveling in Canada many years ago. And use it periodically now. On the stove we have a whistling kettle. One blast of that and you know it’s ready. Once was enough of that noise, so now I just give it a few minutes until I see steam coming from the spout. Or steam on the window. If I’m making a pot of tea I’ll put a splash of boiling water in the bottom of the teapot, give it a swirl and dump it out and then add tea and the hot water from the kettle. And let it steep. I remember when my mother first got a microwave she tried heating water in it for tea but the taste just wasn’t there. For me if I’m making a cup of regular tea for myself I’ll add half a teaspoon of sugar and milk. Decaffeinated tea I’ll add honey, because it is so bland. When ordering in a restaurant I’ve lowered my expectations because I feel they would much rather serve coffee as opposed to making a cup of tea. But I ask anyway. And hope for the best.

    1. Yesterday I had hot chocolate to wash down the fluffernutter I had for lunch. Sometimes you just have to have kid food.

  6. I’m doing Whole 30 this month out of solidarity, because my husband’s doing it to see if eliminating things (including dairy) will help his eczema. But today I made smoothies for myself and the boys with a “probiotic dairy free fermented almond beverage” (so like…almond milk kefir?) that I picked up from the clearance access at the grocery out of curiosity. It was delicious!

    Sadly, toddler drank too far, coughed, choked, and puked it up all over the kitchen counter.

    Perhaps that’s a sign I should’ve stuck to milk….

  7. Late to the tea kettle/washing machine party. My mother and grandmother both kept a full teakettle on the back area of their stoves (coal and wood respectively) which were kept stoked all the time so hot water was always available. None of us drank tea except occasionally. I am on my zillionth or so electric tea kettle. When the boiling water sensor stops working my husband makes me replace it because it’s a safety hazard. Since many Americans make their coffee in French presses (cafeteria) or Melita, a hot water kettle is essential. I have never had any difficulty buying one. The first Russell Hobbs water kettle was great but after about 5 years the handle came apart and eventually the duct-tape repair became too disgusting even for me so I bought another Russell Hobbs which turned out to be a piece of junk. I now just get what Costco has cheap on offer.

    I originally had a top loader GE washing machine for 30 years which washed my clothes just fine and did not damage them. Next I had an Asko front loader washer and dryer and many of my clothes developed wear spots. It also was not terribly reliable after about 4 or 5 years and took over 2 hours to wash a load of clothes – a small load of clothes. The next front loader I bought from Costco, a Westinghouse, which has been with me for almost 10 years with no service calls. It’s great. It does not wear out my clothes. Except: I have had 3 different sheets that have developed a small tear (??) which I hypothesized was probably caused by a piece of fabric being caught my something in the dryer. I have no proof of this but these are not wear spots.

    This is too much information obviously. Some of our products are great and some not so great. However, based on my travels, one thing Americans do really well is plumbing.

    1. My mom had Westinghouse front loaders for decades with no troubles and no full hour cycles like the French models my SIL used to have in France. I am stuck with whatever the laundromat chooses and dislike top loaders intensely. I also seem to lose more socks with them than I did with the old front loaders, too.

      1. Part of the reason why the European models take a long time to run a cycle is because they are not hooked up to a hot water source (like our US models are) but rather just a cold water spigot. When the load starts, the water is run into the machine and then heated up to the specified temperature (which is why you don’t just get “hot”, “warm” or “cold” but very specific temps (mine has 30, 40, 60 or 90 degrees in Celsius, the 30 being unheated, 40 is warm, and the 90 being just short of boiling).

        So, the water runs in, and has to be heated to the desired temp. The hotter it is set, the longer the load takes. (Btw, same with dishwashers here.) I have no central water heater. We have a small (5 l) water heater unit under the kitchen sink for washing up, and on demand heater which is used for our baths upstairs as well as our radiant heating (no furnace — and the on demand thermo is in the attic because we are in the Rhine flood plain and we are not allowed to have a furnace in the basement for environmental reasons).

        1. Thanks for the explanation. I wonder if their present house (different part of the country) will be different. I guess I’ll find out in 3 months.

        2. Surely 30C can’t be unheated? My cold water is much colder than that, especially in the winter. (I remember in Australia, though, a cold-fed washing machine was pretty warm, especially in summer.)

          And I’d assumed Americans would have specific temperature choices, just in Fahrenheit. It’s interesting what manufacturers sell us; and how they form a silent pact about what they can get away with/what it’s worth persuading us is essential.

          1. Americans don’t have specific temps on their washing machines because the machines are hooked up to the regular “cold” (unheated) water and to the water heater which supplies warm water for baths and kitchens. Nobody has their hot water heater set much above 45-50 degrees centigrade — the danger of accidental scalding is way too high. The algorithm for the washing machine temps are pretty much as follows: “cold” means “only water from the cold spigot”, “warm” = “50-50 mix of water from cold and heated spigots” and “hot” means “only take water from the water heater”. So the temps are dependent on how cold your cold water supply is and what temp your central hot water heater is set at. The washing machine itself had no heating element and no thermostat.

            The 30 degree marking is only a “fuzzy” value because 0 degrees is frozen (32 degrees F), so they can’t use that and the actual value is dependent on how cold your water supply is. So they picked a value that would feel cool to cold if you stuck your finger into it, and someone just decided 30 was a good value. But we all know it just means “the water won’t be heated up.”

          2. In the U.S., the typical ground temperature more than two feet deep is 55F or 13C. Most pipes run that deep to avoid freezing in the winter, so cold water entering the house is usually that cool. Your mileage may vary.

          3. We’re in NZ but we’ve got a German frontloader. It has temperature settings of C (for cold), 30, 40, etc.

      2. I bought a small lingerie bag with a zipper, and all my socks go in it (them – I have three). I haven’t lost a sock in over ten years.

  8. An electric kettle is always on my counter. I use a small cone filter and grind the beans. My niece used to make fun of how I made coffee in the long ago days (what, no coffee pot); she was stunned 20+ years later to see that the coffee shop made it the same way I did. They called it a pour-over.
    A nephew gave me a Keurig one year. I tried to use it but no amount of convenience makes up for that warm-ish colored water they call “coffee.” After a suitable time, I fessed up that I was dusting it more than using it and gave it back to him; his wife and children love it.

  9. Alaskan here, and I grew up with a stovetop kettle (complete with whistle). I use an electric kettle both at home and at work. I can’t stand tea made with water that isn’t just off the boil. And tea water heated in the microwave? It just tastes odd. And the tea doesn’t steep well.

    Black tea with milk for me, please.

  10. And then there’s the electric kettle/thermoses from Japan that keep the water at the set temperature all day long. And you can reboil if you’re wanting plasma water. 😉 Perfect if you like green teas that need 160-170F water or they taste awful. (Look for Zojirushi)

    Milk day shall be celebrated here with hot chocolate!

  11. When my office remodeled last year, they put in a coffee maker that had a direct tap to the water, and kept a supply of water that was always heated or in the process of heating. This allows me to get boiling water for my tea by using a spigot. It’s been a very nice feature.

  12. Milk Day? I baked quiches for dinner. Delish!

    Yesterday the neighbors’ two sheep showed up in my yard. They were archetypes of indecision. They stood still for minutes until the white one jumped up and ran in circles. Then she stopped just where she’d started and they both stood still again. The black one seemed to think it was good to stare in the direction of their home. Eventually, they headed that way after the white sheep headbutted the black sheep really hard.

    Sheep milk anyone?

  13. I am not a fan of drinking milk (I swear it tastes like something goes bad in the bottom of it after you start drinking it), but I do consume milk products.

    I now kinda think differently about it since the crush is allergic to it. Like if that ever goes down, how I’d have to drastically adjust my life around it to some degree. Food allergies seem to have become a thing in 2019 in my life since several of the theater group guys have them and a coworker buddy of mine is vegan (not just for animal reasons). It makes me think I’m lucky because I don’t have those issues, and well, I wonder how well I would/could work around this stuff since I stink at cooking. He’s been warned about this, mind you, but still.

    In other news regarding that, I made him a doll of his favorite singer for a ridiculously late Christmas gift and well, dropped it off with his mom this afternoon. We shall see. I was hoping to pass it off to one of his coworkers rather than his *mom,* but what can you do.

  14. I’m American and I’ve never liked coffee. When I started to give up soda pop, I switched to tea. My tastes have greatly expanded from Lipton to loose-leaf teas. (I’m still mad at Starbucks for killing off the Teavana stores.) Anyway, I used to always heat my water on the stove in a kettle. It was cute, designed like a cat with a whistle I could stick into it that was shaped like a bird. A 7 or so years ago, I splurged on an unjustifiable purchase of a Breville tea maker. I LOVE that tea maker. It’s an electric kettle so you can simply heat hot water, but you can also make tea in it. You can set it to a variety of temperatures. You can set the steep time. It will keep it warm for you for up to an hour. It’s great!

    As to washers, I have a front loader and have had one for ages. I grew up using a top loader. It never occurred to me they would be different elsewhere.

    As to milk, I’ve switched to flax milk for my smoothies, but I’ll happily eat some cheese.

  15. I’ve always had top-loading washing machines, and laundered my nylons in them in mesh bags for decades. Never had as much as a run in them from the machine. [Mesh bags are also useful when packing suitcases] I think some of the “I am delicate and must be treated with care” instructions are aimed at one part of the garment — possibly it has shoulder pads, or trimming. I’ve certainly machine washed and tumble dried plenty of garments contrary to the manufacturer’s instructions, without problems. The only actual exceptions are certain dinner dresses which always go to the dry cleaners.

  16. I have German made front load washer and dryer is soft heat, goes one way for a minute and then reverses, over 20years old. Delicates stay delicate,etc. Nothing to do with milk, of course.

    Have many kinds of milk in the fridge for the vegans and the regulars. Youngest granddaughter loves coffee cream especially with her cereal. The other granddaughter is very diligent about vegan foods only. Youngest says she doesn’t care.

    Good cold glass of milk with warm cookies is so delicious.

  17. Reading this at work, I took out an Earl Grey (decaf) teabag and Mr. Coffeed a pot with a half liter of bottled water. (I mistakenly said “liter” in my earlier post. ) When my relief came in around 11:30 PM, the first thing he did was microwave some tap water in a cute little 5 oz. cup, and stick an Earl Grey bag in it and cover it with a paper towel for ten minutes.

    Trivia: The markings on your tea or coffee pot, for example on a 12 cup coffee maker, are based on the 5 oz cup that comes with fancy china. That “12 cup” coffee maker brews 60 ounces of coffee, not 96 ounces. You can use a measuring cup to verify.

  18. Lingerie/mesh bags are also useful for camis and bras if you have a top loader. It keeps the straps from wrapping around the center pole of the machine and being pulled out of shape if they are caught. Much to my sorrow it has happened. Argh

  19. I drink hot chocolate every morning. Mocha, actually, since I put a cup of coffee into the hot chocolate maker along with the milk and really good fair trade hot chocolate (very little sugar, serious chocolate).

    I might also be slightly addicted to cheese.

  20. I have a tea kettle I use on top of my gas stove. It heats quickly and uses less power than an electric one would. The other benefit is that if there is a power outage, I can still heat water!

    I also have a top load washer and dryer which I bought after the latest flood destroyed my previous ones. It doesn’t have an agitator and I have no trouble with my delicates (bras etc) being ruined. I do wish that I had taken thought beforehand though. I had the pedestal that the washer and dryer stood on raised higher and now need a stool to properly access them. A front loading set would have been a better choice. But, I am not going to get rid of these to do so; washers and dryers are not cheap, even on sale!

  21. I don’t know why, but these conversations delight me. Learning the small details of all of our lives and what we like and why. It cheered me up immensely today.

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