Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Slow-Cooker

For my college graduation 30 years ago, my Grandma Anne gave me this Rival Crockpot, avocado green. She passed away more than 10 years ago, but I thought of her every time I cooked in this wonder. Thanks, Grandma.

Thirty years, rusted out at the bottom, but still cooking up a storm! This appliance has cooked up faux bouef bourguignon, all manners of stews, hunter chicken galore, and beans: pinto, garbanzo, black-eyed peas, Anasazi, navy, lentils, frijoles negros, 15-bean soup. Thirty years of coming home to a house with an enticing smell and a yummy dinner.

When I first opened the box all those years ago, I studied with interest the small recipe booklet that came with it, especially the part about baking in the Crockpot! I ordered by mail the gold-colored aluminum baking insert and tried all types of brown quickbreads a one-pound coffee can. The cylindrical breads baked up wonderfully moist.

This Crockpot also cooked up two batches of award-winning chili: first at a company competition in Sierra Vista, Arizona. The second batch crowned me Chili Champion of the Texas Agriculture Program! Imagine: me, a Brooklyn (New York!)-born girl becoming chili champ of those most Texan of Aggies: the Agricultural Program at Texas A&M University!
Great slow-cooker websites

Now though, meat is not on my menu, so I acquired two vegetarian slow-cooker cookbooks, which open up all types of possibilities.

(In case you are wondering, the "table" under the crockpot was the door to my bathroom. Now, supported by two sawhorses, it is my outdoor table while my house is in makeover mode.)

Soon after I drafted this post, twice the Crockpot gave me a big shock when I touched its metal skin. Although it still heats wonderfully, I'm afraid the "stew is cooked" for this wonderful appliance.


Chile said...

How sad your cooker has reached the end of its life, but you have many happy memories together. When my mother-in-law retired, she gave me her crockpot. The only thing she used it for was keeping stews hot when working long nights during elections.

I have to admit that I use my solar ovens far more than the slow cooker these days, and I quickly gave up the bread insert after realizing that cooking with aluminum might not be doing my brain any favors.

May you find a new slow cooker to fill the hole left in your life.

Waitress from Mensa said...

Not one, but two new slow cookers! One is the 5-quart grandchild of my old Rival (apparently this company no longer exists) and the other, a 1.5-quart job. The box "propaganda"said that CrockPots were invented 35 years ago, making mine one of the vanguard of slow cookers. Already the small pot cooked up some wonderful applesauce and the 5-quart, an egg/vegetable/bread dish (in a water bath, another slow cooker variation that works great).

Waitress from Mensa said...

BTW, Chile, inspired by your blog, I'm looking into solar ovens.