I catered a graduation party recently, and one of the 20-somethings said to me, “I wish I could cook.” I smiled at him and said, “Do you own a crockpot?” He looked off into space and said, “Um…maybe?” That response always cracks me up, because if you have a crockpot in your kitchen, you know it.
Slow cookers are space hogs of the first degree. They’re oversized round or oval, incredibly heavy (if they have a ceramic or stoneware insert), with a giant glass lid. If you have one in a cabinet, you’ve had to work around it…probably muttering like Fred Flintstone.
But man, are they worth the storage hassle!
The slow cooker is the workhorse of cookery. (My apologies to the air fryer, the kitchen appliance du jour. I have two of them, so shhhhhh.) The main idea behind the slow cooker is the ease of “setting and forgetting”—i.e., You fill it, start it, and leave it alone ALL DAY. There’s no rushing around after work to throw together dinner. No staring into the fridge or pantry, wondering what could fill your gurgling stomach. Your food is just ready.
That idea alone is revolutionary.
But add to the set-it-and-forget-it concept the simplicity of crockpot recipes. I own seven slow-cooker recipe books. SEVEN. My favorite by far is Stephanie O’Dea’s 5 Ingredients or Less Slow Cooker Cookbook. I’ve hosted dinner parties with Stephanie’s “King’s Chicken” recipe and one attendee said, “I want to put my whole face in this dinner.” I mean, is there a better compliment than that?? And it was five ingredients, people!
I’ve come to the conclusion that I should just carry around a box of crockpot cookbooks to hand to “I-wish-I-could-cook” bemoaners. You can cook…you really can! All you need is a slow cooker, a few recipes, and a grocery list with less than 10 items. So believe it! Then let your crockpot cook it.