Tea Kettle Philosophy — Being Too Advanced

The simplicity of our tea kettle sitting on the stove burner, with the water inside heating up to the perfect temperature for the tea we’re having, sparks a thought in my mind: there is such a thing as being too advanced. By that, I mean having too much gadgetry around so that even the simplest tasks are not made easier but instead more complicated.

The “perfect cuppa” mug. Do you really need it?
The “perfect cuppa” mug. Do you really need it?

Changes in our economic situation have encouraged hubby and I to rethink the complexity in our lives and revert some areas as appropriate to a more simple situation. For example, we have found that we don’t need a VCR (the forerunner of the DVD player which preceded Blu-Ray). In fact, we got rid of our small collection of movies in VHS format. (You can probably buy one of them for pennies at the local Goodwill store where we donated them.) The cup-at-a-time coffee maker ended up in the pile of items deemed too complicated to be necessary. The French press, though, is a keeper. We also took a look at other side interests in our lives and decided which were worth continuing and which were not. I’ve abandoned oil and watercolor paints in favor of dry media (graphite, pastels, color pencils). Less mess. Fewer implements. No stretching canvases and enduring the smell of turpentine. Etcetera.

Don’t get me wrong — I love technology, but the kind that really does make something easier. Clothes washing machines are big on my list. Dishwashing machines are not (it often seems simpler to wash and dry dishes by hand). Vacuum cleaners are great, too, as are stoves, electric lights, refrigerators, air conditioning, central heating, cars, and a host of other useful things.

However, all of these tea-making gadgets often set me off on an anti-advancement rant. Intrepid Tea Guy Bill Lengeman reported recently on a device that supposedly makes tea steeping easier, but involves a machine that is complicated to maintain and repair and you have to buy specialized pods full of tea.

Then there are those mugs that have color-coded stripes inside for those of us who can’t tell when our tea is just right. Gee, how did we ever manage? Hee! Frankly, I think it makes teatime more complicated, since I’d have to be sure to use this mug only and use lighting that is full-spectrum (incandescent bulbs skew warm and CFL/fluorescent skew cool) and then be sure to hold the mug in the light just the right way so there’s no glare… sigh! Definitely too advanced and complicated. And what if I drop the mug and it shatters? Besides, different teas steep up differently, so this mug is only good for certain teas. Am I stuck have those teas only?


Oops, the kettle is whistling… no, wait, that’s my brain going kablooie.

It’s definitely better, at least in our house, to stick with regular teapots and kettles and cups. It keeps teatime from turning into a visit to the science fair.

Now the water’s boiling! So time to get steeping in our uncomplicated kitchen and with our uncomplicated and definitely not too advanced teawares.

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