"Getting rid of everything that doesn’t matter allows you to remember who you are. Simplicity doesn’t change who you are, it brings you back to who you are."

Friday, November 16, 2012

What A Crock

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?


  1. My crockpot is on its last legs too. I saw those with the lock and wondered why the heck you'd need to lock the lid.
    I use mine once a month for a pot roast--that's it. We're not big meat eaters and I'm not real adventurous when it comes to cooking.

  2. I recently got a little crockpot (like the one you want to give away) for cooking oatmeal. I like to put in steel cut oats, milk or water, and some cinnamon, and dried cranberries and cook on low while I am sleeping. Then we wake up to a nice warm breakfast that I didn't actually have to cook! Alton Brown has a great recipe for overnight groats. Delish!

  3. We use our crockpot at least once a week. Everything gets done in it, chili, meats, soups, spaghetti sauce. It's so great to put all the ingredients in it, set it in the fridge overnight, pull it out in the morning, turn it on and come home from work to supper. Tiny Gardner, love the oatmeal idea. I don't have a small one, but may look into it for that reason.

  4. I sold mine when we left town as we won't be able to splurge precious electricity using that. But, I do however have my solar oven, and that cooks everything melt in the mouth tender... :)

    The little dip thingy looks interesting - and cute :)

  5. We also maily only cook meats in ours. But last week, I made monkey butter in our big one (w/lid slightly ajar). Didn't have to stand at the stove, just give it a stir when we walked by.

    I just bought a little dipper from an estate sale ($3 I think). I plan on using it to melt wax when I finally get around to making hard cheese.

  6. I use mine 'A lot" for beef stew, spagetti sauce,roast and just recently ribs.I can't tell you how many crock pots we have gone thru.Plus its safer for someone who forgets like I do lol!

  7. We use our crocks a lot (we have two since we are two families combined in one house) and what we have noticed is that the NEW ones just don't hold us as well as the OLD ones. It's a lucky day of we can get potatoes to get soft after a day in the slow cooker. :( I don't want to have to buy another one! I want my mom's old burnt orange one back. THAT one was a beast and could cook ANYTHING!

  8. Well, my crock hasn't really started fritzing out, but it is missing the knob and I have to use a pair of pliers to turn it on & off. I DO like the idea of a wider, more shallow crock pot though so if ours ever dies, I'll probably get one like your new one.

    I don't use my crock pot as much as I should. I think I've only made stew in it two or three times. I think I've used it to render lard or to keep green bean casserole warm for pot-lucks more than I've actually cooked stuff in it.

  9. I cook with my crock pot all the time. We cook meat with ours too, we make lots of soup with outs and loads of chili since that is favorite here.There are times that I wish I had two. Love crock pot cooking. I like the new one you have. Our trusty old one is still doing a great job and out getting too hot.

    @ 3Beeze Homestead

  10. I usually use it only in the cooler months, but it's great to do a whole chicken in it and then use it overnight to make chicken stock with the carcass.
    I also posted about a recipe for polenta in the slow cooker.