Slow Cooker Debate

Growing up, a crock pot or slow cooker was always a highly used kitchen appliance.  Mostly on Sundays when my mom would put a bunch of stuff in it in the morning and by supper time whatever was in there had cooked and turned into dinner.

It made things really easy and provided time for other chores or football watching to be done in peace.

It was one of the first things I asked for when I moved out on my own.  And I got one!  Then I wanted a bigger one and my lovely husband obliged and bought me a huge crock pot.  Sometimes I secretly wish for a bigger one.

I adore my crock pot and use it a great deal.  You may be surprised to learn that it also gets a lot of use in the summer as well.  Things can be cooking away without heating up the entire house or sweating over a stove.  In the humid Ohio summers, you’ll do just about anything to avoid heating up the kitchen.

In my naive cooking mind, I assumed everyone used crock pots at some point.  I also assumed everyone loved them.

Now that I’m cultured (ahem) I’m finding out that there are two camps regarding the slow cooker, those that love it and those that hate it.

Apparently those that hate it suggest that it makes food bland, turns herbs and seasonings bitter, and makes things into a gloppy mess.

I have to admit this surprised me because I’ve never experienced any of that with slow cooker foods.  Everything has been totally amazing and meats always come out succulent and tender.

My two favorite kinds of foods to make are roasts and chili in the slow cooker.  Apparently it was first designed and marketed as a tool to cook beans.  I’ve made beans in it before but don’t really like the way they turn out.  It might take practice on my part though as I’m still trying to perfect making beans at home.  So far I’ve only been mildly successful.

Finding out that there are two camps to the crock pot/slow cooker issue has me curious and wanting to hear opinions on the matter.  As I said, I love my slow cooker and I just used it last night to make some chili!

Do you like using a crock pot or do you dislike it?  Do you have one and do you use it often or just on occasion?

15 thoughts on “Slow Cooker Debate

  1. I’m a HUGE fan of crock pots. I would say about twice a month (mainly in the winter)I get up a extra early on Monday morning to put together some type of creation to put in the crock pot. Here’s why I love crock pots:

    1) I can make enough food to last me for like 3-4 days.

    2) Since I typically get home late in the evening, I hate spending the hour or so of my free time preparing, cooking and cleaning.

    2) It makes my apartment smell really good.

    3) It stores easily in the refrigerator and can easily scoop a bowl of whatever out of it

    4) The food is more flavorful and tender (meat)

    • Tyler, you make some excellent points! Coming home to a house that smells like wonderful dinner is a really comforting feeling.
      Marie, this is true, not all recipes work well with crockpots. Thankfully those are few and far between!
      John, crock-pot challenged, I love it! Please keep trying, like most things it just takes some practice.
      Stephanie, pasta sauce is a great idea!
      Lauren, whoo!
      Heidi G, that’s an excellent reason to use a crock-pot! They definitely do come in handy!
      Monica, Ha! I’ll work on it. ;)
      Amanda, making pulled anything in the crockpot is totally the way to go! It makes the best meats that way.
      Heidi, I like the way you think! That’s an excellent point and one that should be discussed more!
      Ginny, Chicken tacos, yum!
      Clarice, teriyaki beef stew?! That sounds awesome!

  2. For some reason, I’m crock-pot-challenged. Everything I’ve tried to make (most of them ridiculously simple) hasn’t turned out well. I want to like the crock-pot, so will keep on trying!

  3. I love my crockpot. I don’t use it as often as I’d like – mainly for whole chickens and pasta sauce (it’s too large for smaller meals, though I think i have an older, smaller one lurking somewhere)

    John – I had a similar problem, and it turns out the $10 crock pot I had purchased has a reputation of overcooking (it’s apparently common in Rivals). Since getting my Hamilton Beach, everything’s been fantastic!

  4. Heidi says:

    I love my crock pot, especially when the family schedule gets crazy. I love coming home to a cooked dinner on nights when we’re only home an hour or so in between activities. I also use it a lot when family comes over. That way I can spend my time visiting instead of cooking.

  5. I love my crock pot though I don’t use it enough. I made chili last week and Chip said it was the best ever – since the spices slow cooked all day!!
    Need more new ideas for it. Hint hint.

  6. I’ve only made beans in the crockpot (when I buy dried beans from our CSA) and I really like how they turn out for mashed or “refried” beans but don’t really dig how whole beans turn out. I need to try it the old-fashioned way.

    I’m a huge fan of the crockpot with my busy schedule. I usually use it only for soups or shredded meat though.

  7. I love the crock pot. I don’t use it as often as I could, but when I do, we always have a fabulous meal. I’ve never understood the attitude that it’s beneath foodies…good food made from fresh ingredients is good food. Period.

  8. I love my crock pot. I love that it can be set for a specific time and than switches itself to warm. Later this week, I will be making teriyaki beef stew for dinner with the help of the crock pot.

  9. I love mine. It’s great for stews and slow braises such as pulled pork and the like. On the other hand, I have to think “really?” when I see some recipes. A co-worker of mine makes fajitas in his cooker, which just sounds gross.

  10. I really, really, really wanted one, was finally gifted a huge one (I live alone) and aside from its hugeness (I don’t mind eating leftovers, so that isn’t a big deal, much)… I just can’t figure out how to work it. It seems like recipes need to be followed very, very specifically, and I’m not that type… or I’m doing something wrong. I’m definitely a taste-and-season-as-you-go kind of person, which I can’t do with a slow cooker, and I’m still learning how to balance… but I still have it, and still have hope for it. More recipes would be nice ;)

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