SM bought me my first crock pot, oh twenty some-odd years ago.
I didn't really know all that much about crock pot cooking (still don't for that matter) but SM sure did. He would regale me with stories of coming home after a long hard day at school and smelling his dinner as soon as he opened his front door. His eyes still light up over the thoughts of a slow cooked chicken, meat falling off the bone.
So I followed his lead and am more than happy to toss in a bird or a chunk of beef in the morning and let the crock pot do it's thing. Nothing tenderizes meat better than slow cooking. If I'm home, I'll often use my cast iron dutch oven to get a faster result, but if we're both going to be away from the house all day, I do feel comfortable using the crock pot.
That is until recently.
My old crock pot stoneware base and glass top are still in excellent condition. Short of dropping and breaking it, you really can't kill them. But the electric outer shell (container) is on it's last legs. One of the handles had broken off and every time I used I felt that too much heat was coming off the unit itself. The counter top was terribly hot where the crock pot sat. Lately, I've had concerns that the electrical wiring might just "fry" the whole unit while we're gone someday and burn the house down.
So SM and I have been on the lookout for a new crock. As we shopped I noticed that they're available in all shapes and sizes. I didn't want a tall one, I wanted a big oval one. I also noticed that the lids are plastic now. What's up with that? Why not glass? And what's with the lid lock thingy-ma-bobs?
I delayed and delayed. And then I used my old crock one more time while I was home to monitor things. After that chicken was done I told SM "That's it. We're done. It's time to retire the old crock."
So I sucked it up and bought a new one from Sams Club.
After unpacking it and reading the instruction manual (which says that the lid locks are NOT used during cooking) I felt a little better about it. Although I can't figure out what I'd use the "Little Dipper" thingy for. What a waste unless you're a party person and you use a lot of hot dips. (I think I'll see if any of my co-workers who throw parties can use it.)
This week, I bought us a beef chuck roast (splurge, but we were craving beef) and used the new crock pot for first time. It did a GREAT job as I expected it would.
All I really cook in my crocks are meats. What are some of your favorite things to crock?