You Say “Slow Cooker”, I Say “Pot O’ Crock”

My therapist says that blaming (myself or others) is a character defect, but guess what!– he’s in China for the rest of the month so I’m pointing fingers, reveling in my shortcomings and regressing.  Right now, I’m pointing my big fat index finger at my least favorite appliance in our house.  Yes, it’s capacious.  Yes, it’s allegedly multi-purpose.  Yes, everyone from Rachel Ray to Jillian Michaels swears it’s perfect for the “busy working mother”, but I’m no fan of the slow cooker.  I also refuse to call it a “slow cooker,” because it’s the exact same thing my Grandma used to make pot roast in and she called it a “crock pot.”  If that name is good enough for Virginia Tate, it’s good enough for her granddaughter.

So, the crock pot.


Sent from the underworld to torture me with promises of "easy meals"

Sent from the underworld to torture me with promises of “easy meals”

I’ve given it a fair shot.  I broke her in gently with basic chilis (with and without meat).  The results were edible, but no matter what I put in there, it always tasted exactly the same.  Will someone please get that Neil Degrasse Tyson on the horn so I can ask him how a recipe with a fist full of paprika and chili powder tastes exactly like one with a sprig of parsley and a pinch of salt?  What the hell happens in that six hours of cooking?

Fine, so the chili was pedestrian.  My heart knows how to forgive (see recent example: Jeff killed a mosquito in the car with my Kate Spade purse and I forgave him within three hours).  So, I let bygones be gone, and I moved on.  I tried vegetarian dishes like polenta stew and vegetable strata with pesto sauce.  Funny enough, both of those tasted like each other and the chili.

Weird, right?

We had a pot roast experience that was not totally toxic, but again, not to beat a dead damn horse, but it tasted like the other six things I tried.  And the pot roast was sitting in four cups of dry white wine.  How in the Good Lord’s name does that not somehow alter the taste?

The very last straw was the latest two recipes I tried, which required approximately 45 minutes of chopping and par-boiling before putting everything in the crock pot.  I thought this giant magic pot was supposed to save me time.  My vision of a good crock pot experience is that I hurl my unwashed veggies (maybe still in the plastic bag from the produce department), dump in some Lipton soup mix, include a protein of my choice and then leave the house for half or all of the day.  When I come home, I want my house filled with savory aromas from food that is bursting with flavor and texture and color.

This thing that it does making everything taste like hearty tomato-based campfire gruel is just bullshit.  So, I’m done.  Keep your slow cooker.  Enjoy that baked Alaska recipe that you can supposedly make in there.  I bet you $50.00 I know exactly how it’s going to taste.  I guess it’s perfect if you like chili for dessert.

You will hereinafter find me slaving over my stove/oven/cereal box/take-out menu.  The slow cooker is a crock.




53 thoughts on “You Say “Slow Cooker”, I Say “Pot O’ Crock”

  1. The ceramic dish from my cooker has been in my fridge for a week now, crusted with the remnants of chicken and dumplings and the food aversion part of my mental disorders won’t let me touch it so I can throw it all away. The crock pot is not my friend. That Virginia Tate line had me cracking up, and suck it in China, dumb therapist.

    • Food aversion– I’m hearing you here. I’m so traumatized from some old refried beans I just found in my fridge, that I may just win Biggest Loser this week. I’m blaming the crock pot for that too, even though all I did was use my can open to open the beans and make some nachos. Girl’s gotta eat.

  2. It’s called a crock pot. Always has been; always will be. Mine has been used about three times. I’m moving and it’s not coming with so it went to the curb last Sunday on Amnesty Day where you can put anything out on the street and people come through like a parade and garbage pick. It went to a good family from what I saw from my porch. I’d rather slave over my stove and know something will taste good, or un-crock pot like. This is all just IMO (and yours too)!

    • Rival has a registered trademark on “Crock Pot” so imitators have to use “slow cooker”. Of course such patent legalities have never stopped regular people from using brand names for all kinds of things.

  3. You are so right, almost everything I’ve ever cooked in a crock pot tastes like every other thing I’ve cooked in a crock pot. The only thing I ever use mine for is lazy teriyaki chicken. Throw in a couple of packages of chicken legs and half a bottle of Trader Joe’s teriyaki sauce, and cook that shit until the chicken is falling off of the bone. For some reason, it actually tastes like teriyaki chicken (not pot roast or chili), and it only takes three minutes to prep.

    • Wait, what? I have chicken legs AND teriyaki sauce. Or soy sauce or rice wine or somesuch. I may have to go wash out those chicken and dumplings now.

  4. When I’m actually organized enough to prep a meal the night before (almost never) making use of the timer on my oven gets much nicer results. Every single meat cooked in a crock pot comes out looking like it was simmered in a pot of water and grease for ten hours.

    When I do use the crock pot it sits on the stove for a week waiting for me to tackle scrubbing the monster. Then it sits on the counter for a week because other stuff always migrates into it’s place in the cupboard while it’s away.

  5. I enjoy my crock pot and don’t feel like everything tastes the same. However, I will admit that I did use it once to make “baked” pumpkin oatmeal. That turned out great, but the next three times I used it, you could smell and taste cinnamon. My husband was not impressed.

      • I defend the crock pot! If food tastes like the last thing you prepared in it, put a few drops of bleach in the soak water. If nothing else, use it for stock! The next time you roast a chicken, pick it clean of meat and throw the carcass in the crock pot with an onion, carrot, celery stalk and a bay leaf. In the morning the kitchen will smell like your grandmothers house. You will me proud of yourself and you can lord it over your friends!

  6. Totally agree with the Crock thing. Real cooking is much better, and requires much less patience.
    THe blame thing, though. That’s just shirking responsibility. Nothing wrong with mom deciding to order out. At least the disappointment is expected.

  7. Definitely, yes. I think this is why I have exactly one single crock-pot recipe that I occasionally make in the winter, and only one. Mostly, I use the crock pot to keep chili (that I made in a regular pot on the regular stove) hot if I have a party and it’s going to be out for awhile. Not exactly what the crock pot was made for, but it works for me. And anyway, who wants chili that tastes like baked Alaska that tastes like polenta stew?

  8. Ok I have four recipes that totally work in the crock pot and doesn’t taste like tv dinner sludge. lol One is chili and one is pulled chicken. I actually cooked a ham in the thing for easter this year too. Total win. And meatballs. The kind you have for cocktail parties. But that’s all i have. I don’t even know what else to try! So I’m on the Fence. I love what I have made but I wonder how limited I am. I’m afraid to try new stuff in it.

  9. Vegetarian + crock pot = soup. But guess what I can put in a regular pot on the stove for an house and have taste the same? Soup. I’ve tried crock pot oatmeal and crock pot beans and crock pot white bean stew and…several crock pot cookbooks later: they’re all just soup. The End.

  10. AH! I, too, defend the crock pot! I’ve made oatmeal, chili, pineapple chicken, stew, stuffed peppers…it really is a huge time saver for me!

    Cleaning it, though. Oh, cleaning it. I usually make my roommates clean it for me because “I made dinner for you so you have to do my dishes!”

  11. Strange, I love mine for certain things. They always work great in mine, don’t taste like things I would feed to my dog if I were mad at him. I don’t cook everything in mine though and pretty much what I do cook in there all come from the same ‘flavor’ family so I suppose I wouldn’t know if they were adopting flavoring from the last meal.

  12. Nailed it. As usual. Thank you for the laughs.
    On the flip, I’m sorry your crock pot isn’t everything you hoped and dreamed. Fortunately it’s grilling season! Although, if you are as skilled as me at it, everything tastes like charcoal briquettes.

  13. I love that everything tastes like chili! I mean, I don’t love it that your food wasn’t good, just that it’s funny that happened. OK, I make two things that are really good in the crock pot and really are the kind you just turn on and leave for hours. That’s about all I use the crock pot for these days (I can tell you what they are if you care, but I won’t bore you if you don’t). BUT I do find that so many CP recipes have cream cheese in them and I do not for the life of me know why. Soup? Put in cream cheese! Chicken? Cream cheese! I hate cream cheese.

  14. I’m a cereal for dinner girl myself. Or lentil soup out of can. Can’t beat that two minutes in the micro with one a bowl to clean. Cleaning the crock pot (yes, I call it a crock pot too) is a pain in the ASS!

  15. I loved your funny post, but I gotta say, I love my crock pot. Have you tried pulled pork? Oh, baby. You just throw a pork shoulder in there with some veggies and spices, and you will die from how good it smells when you get home from work. I make a quick bbq sauce and some cole slaw, and it is better than any pulled pork sandwich I’ve ever had in a restaurant. Well, not any one, but really good.

  16. Oh, Christie. You’re missing the point. Despite its marketing, this appliance is more about simmering or keeping foods warm without heating up the entire house, than it is about saving time. If you want to save time, then I’d say a pressure cooker is a better bet (especially for hard boiling eggs, which slow cookers can’t do).

    Rival has a registered trademark on the name “Crock Pot”. That’s the only reason why “slow cooker” ever came about. You know many are happy enough saying “Kleenex” instead of “tissue”, “Google it” instead of “web search it”, and so on.

  17. I understand your points, but I love my crockpot largely because I am a miserable cook. I hate doing it, and I’m bad at it. It is safer and saner for both of us if I dump some stuff in the crockpot and create a mediocre meal vs. if I attempt to cook it via other means and make something truly awful. (of course I have also made some disgusting things in the crockpot. Who wants to come over for dinner?)

  18. I can only make chicken noodle soup and pot roast in my crock pot. I have yet to find anything healthy to cook in it, and since I read this, I have decided to use my limited storage space for better things and it is going to be relegated to the basement. Thanks for freeing me from the peer pressure I had to like the beastly appliance. I have a 14 year old son that will be happy about this because it is his job to clean it. Now that I think about it, he might be the reason that everything tastes the same.

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  20. Ha! I rarely use ours, but the hubs makes Sunday dinner every week and uses it to throw in a protein of his choice, (washed and chopped) veggies, a full box of stock and . . . that’s it. Everything tastes moist and delicious when it’s done. I don’t know his secret, and frankly, I don’t care. For one night a week, he can throw whatever he wants in that magic pot and my kids will eat it and all I have to do is put away the leftovers and clean up. So, that’s a win for me and keeps that Pot deeply in my heart.

  21. I love my crock pot (sorry, I do!). I just can’t get my ass up early enough in the morning to use it consistently. So we’re eating out for dinner tonight before the preschool music program. And don’t get me started on the washing it thing. The rage builds just thinking about it.

    • I agree about getting up early. I usually start thinking about the crock pot at 4PM, and every recipe that looks feasible takes 8 hours, so dinner at midnight? not so much.

      On Thu, May 15, 2014 at 11:23 AM, Outlaw Mama wrote:


      • No doubt. On my days off I’ll think about it, but yeah, not until at least 2pm, add in an 8-hour cook time? THAT’s gonna work!

        If you’re ever cooking a turkey breast because it’s just you, your husband, and the kids for Thanksgiving because your in-laws can’t get it together…uh, hmm, anyway…putting the turkey breast in the crock pot with just some chicken stock is awesome! The meat just fell apart when we tried to pull it out to cut it. And my oven was freed up for everything else.

      • Nope. Works for me. In fact, I usually try to buy more than one turkey breast around Thanksgiving so we’ll have one to cook later.

  22. I looooooooooooooooooooove my crock pot! (Slow cooker my butt!) I’ve never had an issue with everything tasting the same. Then again, I soak the sh*t out of it with hot water and dish soap for a few hours before I scrub it. Maybe I’m soaking the old tastes away? Who knows? Who cares! As long as my family eats it and I can be lazy, it’s a win! (Recently moved in with the Taller Half. SO now he, my daughter and myself make a family. YAY!!!)

  23. I actually like my crock pot, but mostly for the convenience. It’s very hard for me to stand for any length of time, so if I can put a bunch of veggies & a protein in a pot & cook them all day without any other assistance from me, so my hubby has a meal when he gets home from work, then crock pot it is!

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