The truth is, had Anjali not already taken the immersion blender and Emma the kitchen scale, I would been writing about one of those beloved and well-used appliances right now. But the more I think about it, the appliance I next turned to actually gets more use than anything else in my kitchen. It's the first thing I touch in the morning and, since I work from home, it gets regular use throughout the day. Praise be for my Chef's Choice Electric Kettle!
For the uninitiated, an electric kettle is an electric alternative to a water kettle that normally heats up on the stove. It is not the same as that dorm room fixture, the Hot Pot, which can also heat up soup, as an electric kettle is for heating up water only. This might sound somewhat uni-tasking, but I also use it for when I need some hot water fast while cooking. People in the UK and other countries will understand, as the electric kettle is a regular kitchen fixture around the world.
Most electric kettles these days have a saucer shape base that plugs into the wall socket. The actual kettle fits on the base, the advantage being that you can take it anywhere without being limited by the electric cord. This is what manufacturers mean when they call an electric kettle 'cordless.'
There are two primary advantages to an electric kettle: it heats water faster and more efficiently than a kettle on the stove and it has an automatic shut-off valve when the water has come to a boil. Anyone who has accidentally forgotten a kettle on the stove will appreciate this benefit. Another plus is there is no warning whistle because there is no danger of the kettle boiling dry. And while there is something kind of romantic and cozy about the sound of a gently whistling kettle, I enjoy the freedom of being able to leave the kettle completely alone and not have to come running when the whistle reaches its deafening crescendo.
I've had my Chef's Choice kettle for about six years now and I am very happy with this model which I don't remember choosing with much fuss or research. Since I'm not a fan of drinking something that has been heated in plastic, I wanted a metal kettle and there weren't nearly as many metal models to choose from back then.
Chef's Choice heats up water quickly and reliably. I use it at least 3 or 4 times in an average day and it has never failed me. There's a see-though gauge on the side to let you know how much water you're putting in but these days I can pretty much tell by weight when filling it at the sink. The top pops open easily and the on/off switch lights up when in use. All-in-all this is the one of the hardest working appliances in my kitchen and one I would miss dearly if marooned on a desert island.
• Find It: Chef's Choice Electric Kettle, $49.57 from Amazon