At the back of the 1944 ‘Cookery for To-day and To-morrow’ by Nell Heaton, there is a section with Useful Information which includes all sorts of things as varied as ‘to de-fur a kettle’, to prevent sausages from burning’, ‘to double the juice of lemons’, ‘to improve tinned fish‘, and because it was war-time, ‘to stretch the butter ration’ – and my favourite, ‘to make a bread poultice‘. Of course these days we would just Google any problems we had, especially small ones like this; when this book was written if you had helpful neighbours, or family living nearby you could ask their advice for hints to solve these little difficulties, however this was a time when some families had to move, evacuated, or bombed out of their homes. It was also common for cookery books to include household hints and tips, Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management, was not just full of recipes for every occasion, but instruction on how to manage and run a house, and every aspect of the tasks involved.
Just in case you need to know how to defur a kettle – put a little water into the kettle and let it boil. Drain the kettle and place it on a low heat for a minute to dry out, then knock the outside of the kettle with a wooden spoon, fill it with warm water and add 1 teaspoonful of vinegar. Leave it to stand for 2 hours then empty the kettle and fill it again with water. Bring it to the boil, drain dry, and shake off the loose fur. If necessary, repeat the whole process until the kettle is cleared. If an electric kettle is furred, use this vinegar and water treatment but do not turn on the switch to heat the kettle while it is empty. Should I try defurring our kettle tomorrow? I may do.