Even the best tea kettles sooner or later outlive their ability to perform their intended function of heating your water for tea. Just part of the natural order of things. There’s an idea in someone’s mind (“I need something in which to heat my water”). A designer comes up with a solution. A prototype is made and tested. A manufacturer sets up the machinery to make it, thus keeping it affordable. Then, some Marketing guru gets people to wonder how they ever lived without it. You buy it, use it, love it. It eventually wears out and is replaced.
When I saw the Asta tea kettle at the market, I was a-flutter. It had all the features I wanted in a tea kettle: non-electric, sturdy construction, a delicately shaped pouring spout that wouldn’t drip, a large opening to make cleaning inside it easy, a handle that was heat-resistant (the wooden part), a decorative appearance, and most importantly NO WHISTLE!
The kettle served me well for almost 20 years. Fill. Heat. Pour into teapot. Repeat as needed. Recently, though, our wonderful and sturdy Asta tea kettle began to show a crack or two in the enamel coating on the metal of the lid rim and both outside and inside the body of the kettle. Hubby noticed it first and showed me. Then, one of the tiny washers on the little bolts holding the handle on fell off in dry pieces, making the handle fall over unless we balanced it upright. Sigh!
Still, I couldn’t bring myself to put that lovely, faithful kettle “out to pasture.” So we kept on using it for awhile longer. Then, I started thinking about this being an item made in the original Asta factory. It wasn’t one of the Asta designs now being made by another firm that bought them when that factory closed. That convinced me to preserve it now before it got totally decrepit.
Time to shop for a replacement. Argh! Would I be able to find something suitable?
So many choices are out there. Both stovetop and electric ones. Enamel on steel. Stainless steel in satin and shiny finishes. Ones with lots of settings and water level windows. And so on. In this plethora of practicality would I be able to find another tea kettle like my beloved Asta?
Actually, it wasn’t as hard as I’d feared. Hubby and I set off to the local kitchen/bath wares store with our criteria firmly in mind. Easy to pour. Heat resistant handle. Large enough opening for us to reach in to clean it. Stovetop kind. NO WHISTLE! It turned out that only the last item was impossible to avoid. However, the prices were a bit much. So, on to the next store. We finally ended up at Wal-Mart, looked around quickly and were on our way out when we spied it. White enamel on steel. Heat resistant handle, etc. And best of all, the price was very right! It was love at first sight!
We bought it, brought it home, explained the situation to our Asta tea kettle, settled it into its place of honor, and then put our new tea kettle through the initiation process. It passed with flying colors.
Woo hoo! We’re back in business steeping tea.