Sunday, February 24, 2008

A Watched Pot

The other day I was getting ready to boil some water for dinner and I decided to prove the old axiom wrong. It’s said that a watched pot never boils and I am happy to report that all the old wives spinning that particular tale are decidedly wrong, and I have the spaghetti to prove it.

I started out with a couple quarts of cold water in our big stainless steel pot. I set it on the burner and turned it on, ready to walk away. As it turned out though, I was all ready to go with the rest of the preparations, and just then the old saying popped into my head. I decided to give it a go.

The first two minutes were all right. There’s nothing at all happening, but the thrill of the challenge was still fresh. Shortly after the two-minute mark I had to apply more concentration to keep my eyes on the pot. By minute seven I had exhausted nearly every possibility. I had been over all I know about the metallurgy involved in making a kitchen pot, examined all the interactions of light and water within its burnished confines, and wound up staring doggedly at the chrome knob in the center of the glass lid and making faces like a kid in front of a fun house mirror. Then… ever so slowly… the faint tickling sound started to grow and tiny bubbles formed on the bottom. From there it was a surprisingly long time until the water reached a full, rolling boil. Staring at that forest of bubbles on the bottom and willing one to break free was, in fact, much worse than staring at a still volume of cold water.

But at last the lid was jiggling happily over a full head of steam and it was time to put the pasta in. More importantly, I had single-handedly dispelled one of the longest standing myths of our time (Top that Myth Busters!) Wasted time you say? A foolish pursuit perhaps? Well, it’s something I proudly add to my list of esoteric accomplishments. Have you ever done it?


  1. Sadly, i have never done this. and i really don't know why. i have the time. i think i shall make it a goal for this week, maybe today since Mondays are usually spaghetti night with the grandpa and family. and it will give me a reason to stay off the internet for about 10 minutes or so.

    i wonder what Pam thought about this. haha

  2. What did I think about this? Just wondered what else was going on in the house while Mr. MythBusterPants was staring at the pot.

    Try saying "Mr. MythBuster" about fourteen times in a row. Do you get "Mith-ter MissBuster", too? Or is it just me.

    My other thought: somehow I am not surprised that Larry has decided to watch a pot of water come to boil.


Keep it clean...