so it's like a hot pad?

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Crock-Pot.

It's an iconic kitchen tool, yet it's oh so trendy right now - there's the crock pot girls and whole boards on Pinterest dedicated to the crock pot setting and forgetting it.

Miss Manning tells me that all the cool kids call it "slow cooking" aka "the slow cooker, not your grandmother's crock pot!" - um, if it walks like a duck....

But see here's the issue with me and crock-pots, my Yiayias didn't have them - my understanding was that only "white people" had crock-pots and they made bland mushy food in them, Greeks did NOT use crock-pots.

That's what the oven/dutch over and stove top was for.

I didn't grow up with them, no one in my family had them (still don't to this day) but these slow-cookers are popping up everywhere and for the first time in my life I'm actually thinking about buying one - this Cuisinart one in fact.

But what will happen if I do?

Will I lose all my cooking cred? Will I suddenly use processed cheese, canned cream of mushroom soup and make things with dumplings and canned peas in them?

[Sidenote: the above items are ingredients I can't help but recall on when I think of "white people" - aka non-Mediterranean style cooking - don't be offended, I can't help it!]

So, should I put all my stereotypes aside and take the slow cooker plunge?

I really do love me some chili spiced braised beef...


  1. Do it! I learned to cook so many yummy things that both my grandmas slaved over for hours. I took a lot of my families Italian and Polish recipes and made them work in the crock pot so I could have some amazing dinners during the week.

  2. In my defense, I also own a beautiful dutch oven that I love very much.

    I just really enjoy the flexibility that my "slow cooker" gives me. Hello-Set it and Forget it :)

    Now excuse me, I have some nesting to do!

  3. This is totally the working-mother side of me, but I adore my crock pot and want to upgrade to a fancier model like the one you linked to (mine’s 10+ years old).

    Almost anything you do in a Dutch oven you can do in a crock pot. I have both and they get almost equal use. But I won't leave my oven/stove on when I'm not home (duh) so the crock-pot steps in.

    The key to non-bland food is that you need to brown meats on the stove first (gotta have that Maillard reaction for flavor). In fact, I make PW's braised short ribs in my crock pot all the time I do all the prep the night before – everything prior to “Put on the lid and place into the oven. Cook at 350 for 2 hours…” then throw it all in the removable crock and stick in the fridge. Next morning you pot it in the heating part, turn it on low and go to work. Weeknight braised short ribs with barely any effort after you get home from work.

    Another thing – you can roast a whole chicken in your crock. Seriously. It works. I didn’t believe it either. You don’t get the crispy skin you’d get in the oven, but come on – roast chicken ready to eat when you get home from work? Even a Greek can’t complain about that. (And if you want to get really Martha Stewart – leave the crock on, throw in all the chicken bones, some veg and fill water. Cook on low overnight …super easy chicken stock! Boil some egg noodles and add in left over chicken and you’ve got homemade chicken soup the next day!)

  4. Confession: I am that girl who calls them slow cookers and cringes when I hear them called crock pots. Guilty of snobbery!

    I have both a slow cooker and a dutch oven. I'm going to be honest - every meal I've cooked in the slow cooker is mush, bland in colors, bland in taste - not good. Every meal I've cooked in the dutch oven has been 100x better.

    Maybe it's because I didn't grow up with slow cookers, either. Maybe it's because to get a really good meal out of them, you really need a fatty meat (not a fan). Maybe it's because I have bad slow cooker karma for refusing to acknowledge its crock pot roots. I dunno, but I say anything that can be done in a slow cooker can be done better in a dutch oven.

  5. AHHHH!! I always talk about 'white people' this, that, and the other. My boyfriend is always like- you *are* white. To which I say- I'm not white, I'm Italian!! I have also never used a slow cooker/crock pot. Rock on though- I have been seeing some great recipes and also want to get on the bandwagon. Good luck!

  6. get with the times girl! you can make anything in the slow cooker!
    Betty crocker, Paula Deen, and Martha Stewart all have awesome recipes!

    I recently did a paula deen mac and cheese in the slow cooker, and everyone loved it! give it a whirl! There is nothing like tossing some stuff in the pot in the morning and coming home to dinner! Soups, entrees, sides, dips, everything! The best chicken comes out of them, its all about seasoning! just learn when to cook high and when to cook low!

    you can even make cake!

  7. I think it just depends on what you cook in them. I found a great recipe for crock pot lasagne. Very easy, all fresh ingredients, and totally yummy. Give it a try!

  8. This is so funny. Crockpots are, like, a Jew's best friend. Orthodox Jews don't cook on the Sabbath, so they often make cholent, which is just a bunch of shit thrown into a crockpot & left on throughout Shabbat!

  9. I love my crock pot. You do not lose any cooking cred by using one. You get delicious meals that are easy and SO TASTY. Go for it

  10. I love my crock pot/slow cooker! Mine has the timer, so I can set it when I leave in the AM, it turns to "warm" after it's done cooking, etc. And I think, depending on the recipe, it can be just as flavorful as "regular" cooking.

  11. Take the plunge, lady! As someone who has kind of used a crock pot/slow cooker for a lot of her life, I've learned some good tricks, and if you get the right recipe, your food won't be bland or mushy. Since I married a Louisianan (and regularly host friends who are from Louisiana), I've been perfecting some of my go-to faves to make them spicier to appease their taste buds...

  12. I was like you - Italians don't use crock pots - until I got one. And I still don't use it ALL the time, but we made some pretty bomb ass chili in it last week, and I do love how it makes your house smell all homey and warm. I don't swear by them, but they are pretty awesome sometimes!

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