I have affectionately been dubbed the Crock-Pot Queen from family and friends. I must admit I love my crock pot especially when I am working or have obligations. Pop the items in the crock in the morning and come home to a nice bubbling meal!
The Crock-pot... almost everyone has one, but do they use them? Often they just stay in the cupboard, completely unloved and underused. Slow cooking has been used for hundreds of years to get the most out of food, but it used to be a lot more work and time intensive than it is today.
Origins of Slow Cooking
Slow cooking has been around ever since people figured out how to make an iron pot. An iron pot could be hung over a fire for many hours while food simmered in it, or a smaller one could be filled with ingredients and buried in the coals to cook. The obvious detriment to these methods was the attention it took tending the fire all day and stirring the contents of the pots.
Cooking on a low heat for many hours tenderizes tough meats and also melts, creating a tender, delicious meal that is full of nutrition. Long cooking times may also be beneficial to tough root crops, making them more digestible. Dried beans and lentils also benefit from a long cooking on low heat.
You Grandmother’s Crock Pot
In the 1950s, Naxon Utilities Corporation of Chicago created the first slow cooker. It was called the Beanery All Purpose Cooker, and it was created to assist people in cooking baked beans A ceramic pot that fit inside a metal pan with heating elements around the inside. Rival in 1970 bought Naxon. The Beanery was redesigned as the Crock Pot. During the 1970s, women were joining the workforce in rapidly increasing numbers. The Crock Pot peaked at this time because it helped working mothers feed their families as well. It was easy to fill it before they left for work /Better yet, it was great to come to home to a hot meal.
The Crock Pot Evovled
Since the 1970’s, crock-pots have evolved. They now have ceramic pots that are removable, making cleaning much easier than the older models. With older pots, one had to be careful during cleaning that the electrical cord or outside of crock did not get wet. . The newer ceramic inserts are dishwasher safe, as well, making clean up e easier than ever. Some newer crock-pots have an additional setting and timers and a few are even computerized and will change automatically to warm when the food is done cooking.
Toady’s crock-pot is more versatile. Beans, stews, casseroles, roasts and even deserts and warm beverages can be made in the crock pot. Foods like lasagna, barbecued pork, and hearty soups can be made with creativity and your crock.