Tales of domestic dullness: The kitchen timer

One of the most useful (and used) things in our kitchen is our timer. Apart from timing during cooking, we also use it to ensure we brush our teeth for a full two minutes in the evening (it’s become a kind of ritual), and for things like ensuring Isaac’s keyboard practice is long enough.

Once upon a time our microwave oven had a timer function on it. Alas when it was upgraded about five years ago, the new unit didn’t have a timer, so I bought a standalone one.

It works well but has one annoyance: like many devices, once it starts beeping, it won’t stop. In fact after about 15 seconds it goes to a more frantic beep which keeps going until you tell it to shut up.

On the amusing side though, the four-beep pattern is identical to the sound effect used for the bomb timer planted in Martha’s flat by the Master’s henchmen in Doctor Who: The Sound of Drums.

The problem is that over the years it’s got dropped a few times. Occasionally the beep doesn’t work, or sounds off (give it a bump and it usually rectifies itself — hardly the idea way to fix electronics) and recently the magnet fell off the back so it wouldn’t stick to the fridge.

Then sometime in the last day or two (after using it for timing a painting project I’ll talk about later) it got lost completely. I’ve looked thoroughly, and can’t find it. Odd.

So given it’s not only lost but was falling apart as well, this week’s lunchtime excursion task is to find another one. Where should I look?

This Salter model looks rather nice. I wonder if it’s actually metal (and therefore perhaps stronger than the old one) or just metal-coloured plastic? Where would I find it? DJs perhaps? Myer had nothing.

(Wow, that’s way more than I thought I could write about a kitchen timer. Riveting stuff.)

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

12 replies on “Tales of domestic dullness: The kitchen timer”

I guess the younger generation do everything on their mobile phones now so stand alone devices are becoming obsolete.
PS You piece today was not dull, it was quite creative and amusing.

It shits me to tears that so, so many devices are less useful than they should be. The microwave oven is a perfect example. They always had timers that could be run without running the oven; why eliminate them? How can it possibly save money? It requires a re-design to get rid of them!

Good luck finding a timer that’s any good. I do have a Chef’s Toolbox one that’s pretty good, but it’s over $30 from a party-plan mob and it’s also provided with a temperature probe that fails after very little use (I’ve had two and they’re both cactus). As a timer it is good.

There’s a House and a similar outlet across the aisle from House in the DFO at Spencer st. Might be worth a sticky bee?

I got mine from a $2 shop at the local shopping centre – it’s treated me well over the last 5 years or so as it essentially doubles as a strong fridge magnet. It is knda bulky though, so after being knocked down a dozen or so times onto our tiled floor (and having to be put back together!) it’s a bit the worse for wear.
The missus got a new one last week – I think it cam free from a Donna Hay magazine or something, but it should be quite the stylish replacement.

You should be able to find a good timer in any cookware store. There are 2 of them on Elizebeth St. not too far from Melb. Central. I forget the names of the stores but they are nearby where all of the motorcycle dealers are. You could also try a store in the mall such as Matchbox. I think there is one in DFO Southbank.

The timer in the photo is most likely grey plastic. Even if the case was metal the innards would be the same as a plastic one.

Timers that beep constantly until they are reset are particularly useful for cooking because they ensure that they will be heard and that food will be removed from the stove before it is burnt. A timer that only beeps once and automatically resets could be missed if you are in another place and don’t hear it.

I like my Braun Oral B electric toothbrush. It has an inbuilt timer that starts and stops the brush a few times to let you know when 2 minutes of brushing time have passed.

@Rae, @Jed, yeah following Rae’s tipoff I went through the ex-DFO and found three varieties of electronic timer at Matchbox. The one I got was $12.95, $20 less than the very nice looking Salter metallic one in DJs.

Did you end up getting a new phone Daniel? Surely which ever one you got has a timer function built in? :)

Funny that your microwave didn’t have a timer in it. I recently bought a new one when I moved house. It was a relatively “cheap” model, but comes with timer. Very useful. Only beeps once as well*, so it seems you’d love it.

(*it does beep continuously if you leave something cooked in there though)

Some microwaves have “hidden timers”. Set the power to zero before running it for a given time.

No-one seems to have drawn the link between the timer being used to ensure keyboard practice is of sufficient duration, and the fact it’s missing…..

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