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||About thirty years ago when I lived in Germany I was puzzled to discover that THEY DID NOT HAVE KETTLES. This may have been a result of continuing postwar austerity, for what they did have were electric kettle elements of varying lengths (called Tauchsieder - diving boilers) which you plunged into specially shaped tall narrow metal pots. Someone must have realised the intense danger, as well as the energy-wastefulness, of this as they have now been largely superseded by real kettles - indeed many kettles are now made in Germany or by German firms, another example of a fine British idea that we failed to develop properly. However you can still buy Tauchsieder in Switerland. I was shown a selection in the electrical store in Altdorf only a fortnight ago, although I did not purchase one. There was a British equivalent, known as the Travel Boiler, made (probably abroad) by Pifco. Ours (actually my wife's) has travelled faithfully to many continents, but died in Italy, which perhaps explains why I was prowling around the electrical store in a small but very clean Swiss village.|
Since I mentioned Switzerland, Lake Lucerne still has a fleet of early twentieth century paddle steamers (www.lakelucerne.ch). My gradually failing memory insists that these are powered by magnificent Sulzer compound engines, the workings of which can be viewed from a special platform at the centre of the ship, and which were designed with an integral tea boiler. It would be my contention that these can lay claim to be the world's most impressive kettles, although the tea-boilers are no longer used for this (or any other) purpose. I last travelled on one of these steamers over ten years ago - maybe one of your Swiss readers could offer an update on this?
Nice book - recommend for Christmas presents.
|Nicey replies: I had a Czech friend who had one of those travel boilers, which he would reheat tea with. This always made my head spin as I tried to figure out exactly which aspect of this was the most life threatening, death by electrocution, fire, exploding shards of mug, or just really awful putrid tea.
Terrific to hear about the fleet of giant floating kettles, I wonder if they have some kind of toaster facility built in as well. You could steam around Switzerland drinking tea and eating crumpets. I want to go every like that from now on, perhaps we can modify our diesel Peugeot 306 to do this.