The Latest Lost in Suburbia Column: Too Many Slow Cooks in the Kitchen

cavemen cookingI was catching up with a friend over a cup of coffee at her house when my eye caught the gleam of something new and shiny in her kitchen.

“What is THAT?” I exclaimed adoringly. She followed my gaze to the new appliance on her countertop.

“Oh, that’s my new slow cooker,” she boasted proudly. “I LOVE it!”

“A slow cooker?” I echoed. “What does it do?”

“Um… it cooks slow,” she smirked.

“Yeah, I figured that.”

“And it does all the cooking for you,” she added.

I found this piece of news very intriguing. As someone who is severely kitchen-challenged, I was definitely up for anything that could do the cooking for me. I had tried to teach both my kids and the dog to cook so I wouldn’t have to, but that never quite worked out, although the dog was somewhat better at it than the kids. This slow cooker thing seemed like the perfect solution.

“Okay, I’m in,” I announced. “How does it work?”

“Well, you go out and get all your ingredients for the meal you want to make, chop them up and pre-cook them if necessary, and then put them in the slow cooker for four to six hours.”

“Wait, you mean I have to go out and get the food?” I replied. “And I have to prep it and cook some of it before the slow cooker does?”

She looked at me dumbly.

“Well that doesn’t seem like a great deal!” I complained.

I was really surprised. From the way she had raved about the thing, I had actually assumed the slow cooker would do the supermarket shopping and maybe even fold the laundry for me, too.

And the fact that I had to chop and pre-cook, too, definitely seemed like a bit of a scam. If I was going to drop a wad of bills on a slow cooker, I not only wanted it to dice, slice and cook the meal for me, I wanted it to eat it, too.

I had been duped by this kind of bait and switch once before. We had an oven with a self-cleaning feature and when I tried to use it, not only didn’t it clean the oven, it smoked up the kitchen so badly the fire department thought I had torched the place. Of course, I had set several fires in the kitchen before so this wasn’t a completely unreasonable expectation on their part.

Smoke aside, however, the oven was such a mess afterwards I had to spend two hours sand-blasting it. I finally realized when they said it was self-cleaning, they actually meant I was going to have to clean it myself.

Not wanting to get caught in this kind of misunderstanding again, I decided I needed to be very clear about my kitchen appliance requirements.

“Are there any slow cookers that completely prepare the meal for you and all you have to do is just serve it on a plate?” I wondered.

“Yes,” she said. “It’s called ‘Take-out.’”

©2014, Beckerman. All rights reserved.

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14 responses to “The Latest Lost in Suburbia Column: Too Many Slow Cooks in the Kitchen

  1. If only. But it can truly be a lifesaver – kinda’ sorta’. 😉

  2. Tell me more about this “take out” you speak of.
    I’m a connoisseur (French for “lazy”) of the slow cooker. I have a new one and an old one. The new one is bigger, but the old one is better.
    Isn’t that always the way?

    • When we moved into our house, there was a yellow oven in the kitchen that I think came with the house when it was originally built in 1950. It was the ugliest appliance on the planet, second only to the matching yellow refrigerator. I HATED this oven for all of it’s ugliness, yet it made the BEST food I have ever cooked. I had to give props to this oven – still doing it’s think after 60 years. NO one makes an appliance like that anymore. It broke my heart a little when we renovated the kitchen and I got all stainless steel appliances, and honestly, our fancy new expensive oven does not cook as well as the ugly old yellow one. A metaphor for life to be sure. Just hoping my husband doesn’t decide to trade me in for a newer, shinier model too.

  3. I want to love my slow cooker but usually only trust it for soups and spaghetti sauce.
    In my house, “slow cooker” usually means I’m multitasking during dinner time and it’s anybody’s guess when it will be ready for consumption.

  4. Frozen chicken, packet of taco seasoning, can of Rotel. BAM. Chicken tacos. Easiest meal EVER.

    Love reading this in your voice after having met you at Erma. 🙂

  5. You can cook in those things??? Currently, mine is holding 1/2 a loaf of bread and some hot dog buns.

  6. I have no time for slow cookers. I need a high speed cooker…something that cooks a meal on it’s own in, let’s say, 15 minutes. Then cleans up after itself. That would be awesome.

  7. Great story, Tracy. I’m an aficionado of take out too. Once I bought a single serving slow-cooker. It only had one setting – fast. My food was always mushy. Yuck!

  8. Great job. Left a comment. sd