Crock Pot – The Original Slow Cooker
By Emily Hirschmann
From the weather you’d never know it, but the calendar tells me that we are slowly heading into summer, so it’s not really the time to be talking about the cooking and eating of big hearty stews and casseroles, but, well, I have a new kitchen toy to play with, so I’m going to tell you all about it anyway... Besides, if there’s ever a time when you don’t want to be sweating away in a hot kitchen it’s when it’s sunny outside (chance would be a fine thing!) and that’s where a slow cooker comes into its own.
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I remember my Mum’s first slow cooker and the rapidly diminishing excitement it elicited when the simplicity selling-point became out-weighed by the production of dried out stews peppered with tough over-done meat, soon relegating the machine to the back of a cupboard and in time to a waste skip. I’m happy to say that things have changed somewhat since then and those one-time bulky, ugly appliances have been replaced by sleekly attractive models that would adorn any kitchen, and Crock Pot’s latest release (catchily named SCCPBPP605) is a perfect example of this. In shiny stainless steel and black with voluptuous curves, it is not something that you will want to hide away. That’s not to say that it’s not still a little on the cumbersome and heavy side, but with a 5.7litre capacity and a high quality removable stoneware crock pot, you have to be prepared for a little compromise.
So, superficial stuff aside, does it cut the culinary mustard? Short answer; yes. Firstly, it’s convenient – the removable crock is both attractive for table-top presentation and dishwasher-safe for a happy after-dinner cleaning experience, while the controls are simple and intuitive – the instruction manual is still in the box! There are two pre-set (but adjustable) cooking functions, a twenty hour countdown timer and a handy ‘keep warm’ setting for those times when a family sit-down meal is merely wishful thinking. The 5.7 litre volume is said to be large enough to feed up to seven people, if filled to capacity, but is not so vast as to make using it for a two-adult dinner foolhardy and is ideal for creating the busy mum’s saviour – the freezer-meal.
I love my little Crock Pot. I work from home a lot of the time, so setting meals cooking shouldn’t be a major problem, but the other distractions are and once I get into the kitchen it’s often a long time before I get out again and my pesky editors do insist on me writing the occasional line or two, so it’s great to know that my reliable friend is slowly preparing to feed the family while I’m typing away in order to buy its next lot of ingredients.
The Crock Pot Original Slow Cooker SCCPBPP605 is £64.99 and available in all good cook shops and online at www.Amazon.com.