Growing up, I always assumed kettles were just for making tea and instant coffee. (That's all my parents ever used it for.) But the appliance has multiple, very helpful, non-tea uses.l
Boiling water is a fundamental kitchen skill that anyone is capable of mastering; all you need is a pan, some water and stove. It is not necessarily a process that needs to be hacked, but it is a process that can be faster. That's where your kettle comes in.
If you precision cook
Most of the time, bringing a small water bath to 60 degrees or so is a task my precision cooker is more than capable of executing, but larger projects—like heating enough water to submerge an entire pork shoulder in a 85-degree water bath—can take too long for my liking. Adding a kettle or two of boiling water to the bath can quickly raise it to its target temperature in mere minutes.
If you need pasta now
Bringing a big pot of pasta water to boil always takes longer than I think it’s going to, and I find that very annoying. If your stove is simply taking too long for your pasta consuming needs, grab your kettle to speed up the process by adding boiling water to almost-but-not-quite-boiling water, effectively double teaming the task. (Obviously you can use the kettle to bring any large amount of water to boil, even if it’s not meant for pasta.)
If you’re a coffee snob
It may be called a tea kettle, but coffee people can have one too, as a treat. Most snooty coffee methods—such as French press or pour over—require water that is just below boiling, and an electric kettle will get there quicker than the stove, which is important in the morning times, when every moment counts. (Plus, it’s much easier to pour from a kettle than it is to slosh from a saucepan.)
Simply bring the water to a boil, let it calm down for a moment or two, then make your fancy coffee beverage as usual. (Bonus: Most kettles are small enough to sit on your desk at work, eliminating the need to consume stale cafeteria coffee.)
If you really like instant ramen
There are times (when you are drunk) when you need a ramen fix, and you need it now. I have been known to heat my ramen water in the microwave, but not everyone has the counter space for one of those. A small electric kettle can obviously help here.
What are your favourite uses for an electric kettle (besides tea)? My local bar uses one exclusively for hot toddies, which may be the highest calling for such an appliance.