For starters, they are slow! Instead of having food read in 20 minutes to an hour, you get to wait all day for it!
There are a few foods, such as chili, where it makes sense to cook it all day so that the flavors can blend. But it still will not taste very good if you just dump the ingredients in the crock-pot and leave it. Either you do so and have a bland meal, or you sauté the onions etc. separately and then end up with yet more dirty dishes.
Which brings me to the fact that crock-pots are a pain to clean. You typically have to wipe down the outside as well as wash the inside. And, unless it is too small to be of much use, it probably does not fit in the dish washer. So now you have two extra pieces to wash, and both must be cleaned by hand.
And yet crock-pots make people unreasonably excited at the prospect of less food preparation work. So excited that they do not stop to think about whether it really makes any sense to use a slow cooker for any given recipe (which, of course, it never does). So then, instead of making soup, stew, or a pot roast, they use the crock-pot to make apple not-crisp or pumpkin bread! Because it is such a pain to grease a bread pan and cook the bread for 1 hour and 15 minutes, let’s grease a jar instead and wait 3 hours for the bread! So much easier! Or not.
Given my very good reasons for not liking crock-pots, you might wonder why exactly I bought one last week.
I would like to simply say that it was a really, really good price. But that is not a very good explanation since you know that my parents taught me that “it does not matter how cheap it is. If you don’t need it, it is not a good deal!”
The thing is… my otherwise brilliant husband likes slow cookers. He thinks that they are wonderful. You toss in a few ingredients, ignore it all day, and supper is miraculously ready without any effort!
Now, I know that the real reason for his unreasonably rosy view of crock-pots is that his family always uses one for “noel nibblers” aka delicious sausage mess that is always kept warm during the holidays so that hungry folk do not need to complain about dinner being 3 hours late. Clearly Josh subconsciously associates crock-pots with meat, or at least happy holidays and thus likes them for emotional rather than rational reasons.
Whenever Josh brought up the idea of getting a slow cooker I would point out all the reasons they are not-so-great. And then I would suggest some other very useful kitchen gadget that I would prefer. Like a waffle maker. Who wants a crock-pot when you could spend the money on a waffle-maker instead? Even Josh would not suggest making waffles in a crock-pot!
But then I started a new job. Now being gone from home for “half the day” means 12 hours rather than 6. So Josh, who works from home, started taking over most of the cooking.
So when I saw the crock-pot on sale I picked-it up quickly as if it were something of value that someone else might want. Because who cares if it is inefficient and makes gross food? My husband is the one doing the cooking, and he likes it!
If you think that I am all wrong and just never encountered the perfect crock-pot foods, please share recipes!
- I am thankful 9/29/2010
- I am thankful 10/3/2010