Behold! The mighty crockpot. Saver of time, provider of yummy foods and hogger of counter space!
I love my crockpot. It's a little battered by now but it still works just fine. It was a wedding present. In one week Tim and I will be celebrating our 27th anniversary and that means so will our crockpot. It occurs to me that not many things are built with that sort of longevity anymore. I speak of the crockpot but also our marriage :)
Back to just speaking of the crockpot now. When we first got it I didn't use it. I never had before and didn't really understand how awesome it was. But then too, when we first got married we lived in an itty bitty apartment that had almost no counter space at all. Just a wee bit of room between the sink and the stove. It was just enough space to make a sandwich, as long as you only needed to set one ingredient at a time out. So if the crockpot was on the "counter', and I use the term loosely, there was no sandwich making for the duration.
But shortly after the wedding (thank goodness) we moved into an actual house that had actual real countertops. Once we got settled in, I re-opened the box that held the crockpot and was relieved to see that it had an instruction manual AND a few sample recipes. Thank Goodness! I read them through several times and commenced crock potting with a bit of trepidation. I think the first time I do anything I am always dubious. Is the food I make in this thing going to be any good? Is it really a time saver? Is a Crockpot really all that it's cracked up to be?
Then answers, in no particular order, were yes, yes and YES!
I loved how I could throw a bunch of ingredients in the pot before work and come home to a yummy hot meal ready to go. I will confess however to being a little nervous about having an appliance on in the house all day long with no one around but the cats. And I was pretty sure that the kitties could not only not dial 911 in an emergency, I was equally doubtful of there ability to use a fire extinguisher.
But there was never an issue and it always worked and I was delighted with my new toy.
I didn't really use it as much as a lot of people do though. Pretty much it's beef stew, chilli, short ribs and gumbo. Anything that benefits from a long slow cook. And those are the sorts of things that I only make now and again. It's not an everyday appliance. And that's probably unfortunate. I am well aware that I am under-utilizing a really terrific tool.
I keep saying to myself that, 'one of these days, I'm going to do some research and find more crockpot recipes'. And then I don't. Shame on me. At one time my sister generously gave me several of her recipes. I even made a few of them a several times. But in the move to Colorado from Connecticut (one move ago) one of my recipe boxes got lost. Naturally it was in that particular recipe box. Dang.
But that's ok. While I didn't use it every day, when the occasion or the menu called for it, I was so very happy to have my trust crockpot ready to go. But then Colorado is a place with Snow, and cold and icey winter days. So was Connecticut. Brrrrr. Brisk weather, frigid temperatures and long winters require hearty, hot meals. Things at which a crockpot excels.
Here in Florida, long-slow cooking things are mostly heavier than we want to eat most of the time. I do not use the crock pot at all from July to October. But now, in December with night temps dipping into the 40's and 50's, with the windows wide open all over the house and a little chill in the air, on a day when I'm wearing a cardigan sweater and drinking hot water to keep shivers at bay, yeah, today I'm using the crockpot.
There is a lovely beef stew simmering away on the countertop today. And it will go about it's work with no interference from me, getting more and more tender and savory and the flavours will become deeper and richer as the hours pass by. Meanwhile I will go about all of the other things that I need to do without giving it even a passing thought. Then just before dinner is served, I'll knock out a batch of biscuits so go with and it will be a good meal. The leftovers tomorrow will be even better.
Tim has offered to buy me a new crockpot multiple times. Newer, schmancier, bigger but I am perfectly content with the one I have. What's that old saying, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it'. Well, this ain't broke.
I do need to come up with more recipes though so if anyone has a favourite, please share!
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.