The Crock-Pot came along just in time for the growing number of working, modern 70’s women that were trying to have it all…or at least juggle it all.
While wearing enormous glasses.
Rival (makers of the official Crock-Pot) introduced their electronic slow cooker in 1971. “Crock-Pot” quickly became a term for all the brands of slow cookers that followed soon after. The slow cooker is essentially a lidded countertop kitchen appliance…consisting of a glazed ceramic or porcelain pot insert, surrounded by a layer of electronically heated coils that slowly cook the contents over a duration of several hours. The liquid in the recipe carries the heat from the walls of the pot to the interior, and the lid creates an airtight seal, trapping in steam to keep the temperature hot. Within 10 years Crock-Pot sales were topping $30 million, and the majority of bridal registries became one item longer.
This summer has been exceptionally hot and humid, but today was overcast and drizzly. That, coupled with an unwelcome and annoying summer cold, was all the inspiration I needed to drag out the Crock-Pot and start chopping. As a veggie, I am unable to enjoy the slow cooker’s alleged shining masterpieces…the beef stews, pot roasts, kielbasas, swedish meatballs, etc…but I can enjoy a spicy veggie chili.
With most slow cooker recipes uncooked ingredients are tossed in, a switch is flipped, and the chef walks away…perhaps to sit on the sofa with a box of tissues and a Criminal Minds marathon on A&E. My chili ingredients were red and green bell peppers, sweet onion, garlic, diced tomatoes, diced green chiles, kidney beans, black beans, frozen fake chicken strips, and a shortcut packet of chili seasoning. This is helpful when you can’t remember what you’ve got in your spice rack while you’re at the store. These kinds of recipes are all “season to taste”, and you can use as much or as little of whatever you’ve got on hand. You’ll just need to have a good liquid-to-solid ratio. I basically just add water at the end until most of my ingredients are submerged. Slow cookers don’t reduce down like pots simmering on a stove would.
I love onions.
Beautiful bell peppers.
Slow cooker liners are ugly – but they are gifts from heaven. Cleaning up is as easy as emptying the trash. If the trash can was little like a Crock-Pot.
This was about 4 hours later. It will taste even better when it’s been in the fridge overnight and the flavors have had a chance to really mingle.
Despite the fact that the slow cooker is designed to be plugged in and left on all day (“Fix it and forget it!”), I have some serious anxiety about leaving anything plugged in while I am not at home. This worry has kept me from truly enjoying slow cooker ownership, but since my model is secondhand and I have learned that many new models are programmable and switch to an auto “warming” feature once the meal has cooked the amount of time you set ahead, I may have to make the investment, grit my teeth, and trust that the house won’t burn down.
I am thinking that my clenched jaw will soften to an “ahhh” when I walk into my apartment and I am greeted by the aroma of a completed and ready-to-eat supper. Stay tuned.