Red Kettle, White Kitchen


Do you know why people with white kitchens buy red kettles to leave on their stove top?

People buy red kettles because the color pops.  Yes, POPS.  That means that the eye is drawn to the kettle as it stands out among, well, white stove, white cabinets, white back splash, white tile.

That’s why I originally purchased my little kettle.  Well, I mean besides the fact that the fancy water heater attached to my kitchen sink, white kitchen sink, stopped working and I refuse to buy what would be my third one. So instead, I bought a red kettle to heat my water for tea, etc.

Last night I realized that now my red kettle serves another function.  It sits proudly on my stove to remind me that people with white kitchens should not pull the immersion blender out of the tomato soup while its still spinning.  Tomato soup, or in my case, bisque is reddish orange….like my kettle.

This morning as I sat procrastinating paying my bills I cleared last nights clean dishes and returned them to their designated spots. As I worked, I thought about last nights dinner and really, how funny it all turned out.  Well OK, its funny now; it wasn’t funny then.

I’ve been growing four different varieties of tomatoes in a small container out back. If you know tomatoes, you know that one minute you have none, and the next minute you have too many.  Running around in the rain yesterday reminded me that perhaps if I made a soup with the tomatoes I would be able enjoy the ripe ones in a manner that wouldn’t necessarily involve fresh mozzarella and loads of bread.  So I decided to make a tomato, basil bisque.

I followed the recipe and was feeling pretty proud of myself when I decided that any good Mexican would add some spice to the mixture.  Yeah, I’m a rebel that way.

So I thought about it for a minute and grabbed one of about 60 chiles de arbol recently harvested from a second container out back. Now, I know what you’re thinking.  Well step back, it didn’t happen.

I carefully chose a single, small but dark red pepper and carefully diced it into tiny tiny pieces. How bad could it be?

As I incorporated the tiny bit of heat into the pot using the immersion blender, it happened.  I took my eye off my right hand for just a split second as I sought to adjust the burner temperature. That’s all it took.

Red tomato soup bits all over the wall, the back splash, the stove, the RED KETTLE, and worse of all, under the range hood and under the cabinets. And you know you can’t clean that stuff while your cooking because you guessed it, the stove is hot, the kitchen is hot and if you want a hot meal, you better wait until you’ve eaten.  By then of course, you’ve, OK, I’ve, had too much wine and well, I just won’t feel like cleaning up all the little speckles.

I gave a taste…mmmm, perfect.

I gave my son a taste. “It’s good mom, but I don’t really like tomato soup,” he said as he ran upstairs to finish homework.

Dinner was finally served and as we ate my husband asked, “Did you put something spicy in this?”

“Yes, just one chile though. Why?” I replied.

“No, it tastes really good, it’s just that I am starting to itch,” he said calmly as he continued to eat the soup.


“I don’t feel anything bad,” he said as I scanned his face and he pushed away the bowl.

Yet, there they were, the tell-tale hives.  Over the years they have been the sirens of allergies to things as varied as spices, plants, and even exercise. His doctor once claimed he is allergic to ‘air’.

He was OK, but all I could think about is how much soup I would have to eat…alone.

And now, as I scrubbed the stove, stretched to reach the back splash with any sense of force, and craned my neck to see what hit underneath the cabinets I thought about how excited I had been about my garden fresh soup.

All that excitement was wearing off.  It felt a little like a morning after hangover without the headache.

Thank goodness I have the red kettle to remind me of my lessons learned. I finished cleaning, smiled, and replaced the red kettle onto the heavy, black grill in the white kitchen.

Thanks for being my friends.


About Caro

I am a social worker by training and a peace officer by profession having worked with California’s delinquent youth and young adults for 28 years. I firmly believe that our development as humans depends on our environment and that sometimes we get stuck. As such, I write about those things we sometimes ignore or fail to see until we are forced to pay attention.
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