Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Mysteries of the Slow Cooker

While grocery shopping after seeing my therapist yesterday I impulse-purchased a 6 quart Hamilton Beach Slow Cooker with Removable Dishwasher Safe Stoneware & Glass Lid, Keep Warm Setting, and Lid Latch (tm) Strap (for easier portability).

Isn't it pretty?


Oooh, aaah!

We used to have a smaller, 3 quart slow cooker, but when we moved away from Berkeley and into my husband's parent's house, we got rid of most of our belongings.  The corner by our apartment was a veritable 2-week smorgasbord of free stuff, neatly bypassing such clunky institutions as thrift stores or Freecycle.  Even though I didn't use my old slow cooker much, I've kind of missed it.  Think about it:  its this incredibly versatile machine that can cook things for you when you aren't even home.  For the lazy home-cook, that's pretty amazing!  I'm pretty sure its also amazing for people who aren't lazy, like parents or people who are employed.

The problem is, I'm a little intimidated by the damn thing.  I can chiffonade, stir-fry or blanch with the best of them, but for some reason, when it comes to slow cookers, I'm paralyzed with indecision and fear.  What if I don't put enough liquid in?  What if I put too much?  What if I make this 8-hour recipe, and it ends up being really gross?  Why can't I find a recipe that doesn't contain at least one item I object to?  WHAT IF I SUCK AT SLOW-COOKERY??

That's a lot of anxiety, which leads to me viewing my fancy piece of kitchen technology as akin to that freaky monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey.


Perhaps familiarity with the beast will lessen my anxiety?  On close inspection, this contraption seems to be pretty sturdy, though it was pretty cheap.  I mean, I only paid $20 for it, and considering how much time I've spent working at a cookware store that regularly hawked slow cookers for $200 or more, I'm pretty stoked.  The stoneware crock (whiteware to be exact) is heavy and sturdy.  The three settings (keep warm, low, and high) seem luxuriously versatile, and the lid is... well, its glass.  And it has a knob!  Yay!  The thing also comes with this elastic band to cinch the lid down onto the crock during travel.  There's even notches in the handles so it will stay snugly in place.  I am so enamored with this feature that I will have to find some excuses for making portable dishes.  Maybe my league-mates would like to have some pot roast right after practice?  Or my neighbors might like a surprise chicken casserole!  Hopefully I don't lose the band before I have a chance to use it.

The underside of the sturdy crock, showing it's whiteware nature, as well as the elastic lid band thing.

Lid Latch (tm) ENGAGED!

The entire thing is a little dusty from being in the box, but I can't wash it right now because the Lazarus Plant is participating in Occupy Sink.

Yes, those are the trimmed leaves of the plant set as mulch.  Think of it as a cozy blanket of lopped-off, gangrenous limbs.
So, while I'm attempting to suppress my mageirocophobia and coax Lazarus out of the sink, I'll also be researching some slow-cooker recipes.  Please feel free to share any that you've had success with!


  1. Bam! Slow cooker recipe I made just for you. Ok it was one of my earlier posts back when I didn't give a rodent's behind how well my pictures were composed. Now that I do I'm sure the difference is minute.

    1. I'm going to have to see what we get in our meat box tomorrow, and hopefully I'll be able to do this recipe this week! Looks delicious! Thank you!