Sunday, November 18, 2007

What a Crock

I have a few New Year's resolutions that just won't that has haunted me for years is the "No dirty dishes in the sink overnight" promise. Why is it that I just cannot manage this simple task? I WANT an empty sink, really I do. But each morning I wake up to a minimum of two or three bottles, a half-full coffee cup, a plate and a couple of spoons. Lately, the pile has been supplemented by the crock from my crock pot...the result of two resolutions at war with eachother.

The "Cook more in the crock pot" resolution is winning, I think. In the past few months, I've made meatballs, white chile, regular chile, pot roast, and beef stew...I'm pretty proud of myself. There is something so satisfying about the whole process, the house smells great, and we are always excited to have meals for the week. I found out this week, though, that my crock pot cooking method says a bit about my personality...and I'm not sure it's good news.

While talking up my culinary successes, more than one friend has pointed out that THE BEST part about the crock pot is that you can leave it (as in leave the house) and come back to a fully cooked meal. Leave the house? With a hot appliance on the kitchen counter, and nobody waiting with a fire extinguisher? I don't think so. I use the crock pot on my day off, or sometimes at night, when I'm sure to smell the difference between well cooked stew meat and burning kitchen countertop. I don't believe I am physically capable of driving away from the house with boiling liquids unattended. The funny thing is that I consider myself a fairly easygoing, spontaneous person. I am not oppressivly responsible...I lose my car keys as often as the next girl. So why this hangup?

I did a web search and I couldn't find ANY verifiable crock pot disasters. No house fires, no weeping, regretful cooks. The closest I came was that someone witnessed some smoke (possibly the food burning from lack of moisture) and a few broken inserts (the result of cooking with a half-cracked-crock). A few of the pages had debates that circled around whether you also leave the dryer on when you leave the house...I don't do that either.

Regardless, I'm sure I'll eventually read (or be the subject of) an email chain letter that goes something like this...

Keep reading, this happened to my neighbor's cousin, and I just want all of you to have the proper information. While cooking chicken soup with the TroyBuilt Model A3 Crock Pot, Jenny couldn't decide what setting to use. She pushed the buttons in this order...Low, Medium, Low, 2 Hours, 4 Hours, High, Low, High. On this, and many other crock pots, this is the code for "self destruct as soon as you hear the car drive away." She returned after a short shopping trip to find her kitchen countertop on fire and noodles on the ceiling. If she had been gone for two minutes longer, she would have lost everything. Send this message on to 17 people you love in the next 5 minutes, and you will receive a secret recipe for crock pot chocolate chip cookies. It works, I've tried it!

I will believe such an email, because it suits my needs. I'll send it on to my risk-taking, spontaneous friends, the ones who know me and love me anyway.


margi said...

I am SOOO with you in the never-leave-things-running-while-away department - be it a crock pot, the dryer, the washer, whatever! I'm also leery of any device that prepares my food for me while I'm not there. I mean, really. If I'm going to do that, I might as well just drive up to the little window where they hand me a bag of food.

I did have a bad experience with a slow cooker once while still living at my Mom's. Tried to make boiled dinner (corned beef, cabbage, potatoes, carrots - you know) and ended up with a hideously scorched lump of unrecognizable food-converted-to-carbon that had fused to the bottom of the slow cooker. Nothing exploded and the house didn't burn down, so that was good.

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