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Cinderella’s Hearth: A Tale of Two Kettles, by Lissa Sloan

“So, are you taking a Luddite pleasure in this tea kettle?” my husband asked me as I lit the gas under my new kettle.


You see, my beloved electric tea kettle had died recently. It was a bright, cheery red color, with an adorable, retro shape. It came complete with a temperature dial that made the whole thing look right out of Fallout 4. Now, video games are not my thing, but the rest of my family loves this post-apocalyptic game about a survivor of a nuclear holocaust in a 50s-inspired future emerging from a fallout shelter 300 years later and exploring the wasteland. I don’t play, but I have fun watching the family play it, as it’s so atmospheric, and I mostly enjoyed the Amazon Prime series as well.

My family pointed out that putting my sweet Fallout kettle through its paces multiple times a day for several years, I really shouldn’t be surprised at it giving up the ghost at last. It did it dramatically too. As I tried to figure out why it was leaking, the little temperature gauge completely popped out, and water flooded all over the counter. My favorite kettle had betrayed me.


And I just couldn’t get my mind around getting a new one. Not immediately, anyway. So as a stopgap, I took my husband’s suggestion and bought myself and old school kettle from the Target. You know, the non-electric kind that just goes right on the stove and whistles to let you know when the water’s boiled? We figured that next time the power goes out, we’d be happy to still be able to make tea out of an actual kettle.


And my stopgap kettle did its job well. So well, in fact, that I spent weeks not looking for a replacement electric kettle. Maybe I just wouldn’t get one. After all, how could I replace my adorable Fallout kettle? There were other vintage style kettles out there, but none of them was quite as wonderful. And besides, I did take pleasure in putting my plain old kettle on the stove and lighting the flame under it. There was a sense of comfort, even romanticism, to doing it the old-fashioned way. It was charming. I kind of loved it.  


Except for one thing. Every time it whistled, the sound was so alarming, so loud and horrible that I jumped and ran from wherever I was to soothe its terrible shrieking. It was the absolute opposite of all of the cozy, sweet escapism I took from lighting the gas and waiting for it to boil.

So in the end, I’d had enough. I got online and found the exact same silly, kitschy red kettle (a Haden Dorset, in case you’re interested) with the cute temperature gauge that will surely be its weak point and lead to an early demise. But I guess I’m a creature of habit. I’ll take my comfort where I can get it. And anyway, the next time the power goes out, if the screaming of my old-fashioned kettle jangles my nerves, you know what’s so soothing?

A nice, hot cup of tea. 

 

 

Lissa Sloan is the author of Glass and Feathers, a dark continuation of the traditional Cinderella tale. Her fairy tale poems and short stories have appeared in The Fairy Tale Magazine, Niteblade Magazine, Corvid Queen, Three Ravens Podcast, and anthologies from World Weaver Press. Visit Lissa online at lissasloan.com, or connect on Facebook, Instagram, @lissa_sloan, or Twitter, @LissaSloan.

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