A crock of a column

Posted on May 7, 1999

Most people probably think Crock-Pots, stoneware slow cookers, are about as interesting as clothes hangers. They take up space, are decorated with small vegetable pictures and stand out like a drunk at a frat party.

But the real question concerning the cookware is — how come everything you put in a Crock-Pot always tastes like ... a Crock-Pot?

Throw in pork chops and vegetables, turn the pot on, go to Brazil (walk, preferably, to get the most out of the trip) and by the time you return, dinner should be ready. The aroma can oftentimes be potent, especially when waiting days to taste what's cooking. But once you take the first bite of whatever you put in there, it still tastes like Crock-Pot.

When I was growing up (and for a while, growing out), my mom fixed roast in her Crock-Pot. Actually, hers was a third cousin to everyone's favorite astromech droid, R2D2. Roast, carrots onions and potatoes weren't my favorite foods, but for some reason, we kept eating, out of habit or religion.

If you can open a refrigerator door, you can use a Crock-Pot. That's the simplicity of one. Electricity is the only thing holding the Amish back. You can pretty much put anything into one, as long as you add enough liquid. Maybe socks or other clothing articles could be a stretch, unless it's laundry time.

Then there are those big Crock-Pots that have a door on the side. They like to hang out at bowling alleys. People usually throw bowling balls into them, and when they come out, they taste like Crock-Pot.

The cookware lining appears to be made of metal, but it's not that simple. Companies that develop Crock-Pots, like Rival, spend hours finding the perfect lining recipe. Employees baste something on the metal to give it that Crock-Pot taste.

Cleaning is fairly easy. Just remove the earthenware and clean like anything else. Make sure the Crock-Pot shell is away from the water. There's no need to get shock treatment after cooking for a decade.

I have a Rival Crock-Pot. You have to like an item that comes with English and French directions in the same book. And how can you not be thrilled with the slogan "Cooks all day while the cook's away."

People should be more appreciative of their Crock-Pots. Most like to play tennis. At least let it watch a cooking show or two. After all, being a Crock-Pot is not easy. Some people can knit 54 sweaters before their meals are ready. Somehow, modern cauldrons have withstood the test of time. In an age where time is a factor, being slower actually saves time. It's kind of like a babysitter for your food.

Unfortunately, the Crock-Pot probably spends most days beneath really cool cookware, like woks or blenders or pencil sharpeners. Try giving it some life once in awhile. The Crock-Pot will thank you. It will treat you to a Crock-Pot delight, no matter what you add. And it will still taste the same.