The Love of my Crock Pot

There are three special kitchen aids I cannot do without. They are my small, medium and large crock pots. I like my stove, I’m quite fond of my microwave, but I absolutely and unequivocally love my crock pots.

The crock pot, or slow cooker, is the most efficient and versatile cooking tool for todays busy lifestyle. All the ingredients can be combined in the pot in the morning, set on low and simmered as you go about your daily business, and the family sits down to a delicious dinner in the evening. No muss, no fuss.

Here are some advantages of crock pot cooking:

* Using a crock pot is cost effective, because cheaper cuts of meat actually do better. The slow cooking produces juicy, tender and flavorful entrees.

* The newer models have removable inserts, so you can prepare the ingredients in the evening, refrigerate, place in the unit and turn on before walking out the door in the morning.

* They are portable and make it easy to transport a hot meal to social events and pot lucks.

* The newer versions are pretty enough to set right on the table as a serving dish.

* You can cook almost anything, from meatloaf and spaghetti sauce to casseroles, and even a whole turkey.

* There is no mess. When you sit down to eat, you are not staring at a sink filled with pots and pans as happens with conventional stove top cooking.

* They come in a variety of sizes, from two quart to eight quart. A four or six quart is usually right for the average family.

Crock pots are perfect for summer cooking because they do not heat up the kitchen. In the winter, there is nothing to compare with the cozy aroma which permeates the house while a homemade soup simmers away in the pot.

I have a collection of cookbooks, but the most tattered and worn from constant use is “Fix it and Forget It, Feasting With Your Slow Cooker” by Dawn J. Ranck and Phyllis Pellman Good. It is my kitchen bible.

If your young adult is moving out into an apartment, the crock pot with a “Fix it and Forget It” cookbook inside is the perfect “apartment warming” gift. Make a crock pot your signature gift for every new bride and groom, and it is also the ideal anniversary gift. The new, updated varieties will be appreciated by everyone, and you can never have too many crock pots.

When I have a large holiday gathering, I generally have several crock pots with hot choices among the buffet offerings. Most of the newer styles come with a “warm” setting. Welcome indeed is the guest who does not walk in the door saying, “Can I put this in your oven to keep it warm?”

What a pleasure when something unexpected comes up, like a late mandatory meeting at work, and you can simply call home and say, “I’m going to be late, but dinner is in the crock pot, help yourself.” Crock pots contribute to guilt free living. Gone are the days when the crock pot sat on the back shelf of the pantry gathering dust.

As I said before, I like my stove, I’m fond of my microwave, but I have a longstanding and fulfilling love affair with my crock pot!

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