The One Gadget I Had to Have in My Kitchen After Living in London for a Year

published Nov 9, 2021
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Someone dipping tea bag into tea mug.
Credit: Sarah Crowley

When I moved to London a few years ago for graduate school, I experienced the obvious culture shocks: keeping to the left instead of the right, buying rocket, courgette, and aubergine at the grocery store, and changing the way I spelled (ahem, spelt) several words as part of my writing-intensive program. Of all the modifications I made during the year I lived abroad, there is one that has stuck and truly transformed my everyday life: using an electric kettle.

Now, you might be thinking to yourself, why would I buy an electric kettle when I already have a perfectly fine kettle on my stove? I had the exact same thought until I started using one all day long, unlike the kettle I was used to. Purchasing this small appliance has hands-down been the best decision I’ve made for my kitchen, well beyond using it for tea!

My British roommates taught me how to use an electric kettle the right way — which is to say, all the time. While I would turn it on for tea and instant coffee, they would also use it whenever they had to boil water for cooking. For instance, if they were making pasta, they’d boil water in the kettle first, then pour that water into the saucepan for even speedier meal prep. Now that I use this method myself, I can confidently say it is much better (and faster!) than waiting for a pot of water to boil.

These days, especially while working from home, I use my kettle constantly. In the morning, I turn it on to make coffee in my French press. Then, I make a cup of tea in the afternoon and another one before bed. Not only does the water boil so much faster than on the stove, but it’s also easier to maneuver. Instead of dealing with steam and a hot handle and lid, all I need to do is pick up the kettle and pour.

Credit: Erin Cavoto

Plus, without the earsplitting noise of a stovetop kettle whistling, you can use it no matter what time of day it is without disturbing anyone. I also love that I can turn it on and forget about it because it has an auto shut-off feature (and no stove burner to worry about). Then when I get back to the kettle, I just flick the switch back on and let the water take a few seconds to boil again before filling my cup.

Perhaps the best part about electric kettles is that they don’t have to be fancy. While there are splurge-worthy kettles out there that have gooseneck spouts and temperature control settings, like the stylish option from Great Jones or this editor-approved Amazon find, a budget-friendly electric kettle will do exactly what you need it to: boil water quickly. Before buying this Amazon kettle, I used a Hamilton Beach kettle that was equally efficient (there’s also a glass version that one of our contributors loves!). I only bought a new one because I left it with my mom, who’s now an electric kettle convert!

No matter which style kettle you go for, I can guarantee that once you switch to an electric model, you won’t know how you lived so long without it!

This post originally appeared on Kitchn. See it here: The One Item I Had to Have in My Kitchen After Living in London for a Year