Introduction to Crock Pot Cooking
In spite of what many people may think, slow cooking has been around
since ancient times. It began when the cooks of old would use large pots
to prepare root plants for 24 hours or more. The process of slow cooking
made the roots more nutritious and tender to eat. The pots used then
were very large and made from cast iron, stone or pottery. These heavy
pots were hung on large hooks that allowed them to hover over an open
fire in the hearth. Food was slow cooked in this way, as well as kept
warm at all times. Water for bathing and washing clothes was also heated
in these pots, so they were definitely multi purpose.
Farmers utilized the slow cooking process by cooking hens and wild
game that they hunted. This was how they made the meat tender enough to
chew and enjoy at mealtime. Fresh meat is usually quite tough and the
slow cooking method was essential in order to be able to eat meat of
Fast forward to modern days and you will find nearly all families
using a form of the slow cooking process of old in the form of a crock
pot. A company known as West Bend developed the first crock pot in the
1960’s. It was marketed as a pot for slow cooking beans. In 1970, a
company called Rival jumped on board. They refined the original crock
pot and expanded it to be used for cooking many other things than just
beans. Thus, it was during the 1970’s that the Rival Crock Pot became a
“must have” for most homes, especially those homes with large families,
or where both parents worked outside the home.
Over the years, the “craze” over crock pots died down a bit, but you
will still be hard pressed to find a home that does not own at least one
crock pot. As time has passed, more and more recipes specifically for
crock pots have been developed and refined. These have become quite
popular for busy mothers who will pop something in the crock pot before
leaving for the day. When the family returns home after work and school,
the house is filled with a delicious aroma and the main course for
dinner is ready to serve.
While crock pots were not known for their baking capabilities, there
have been many recipes formulated to make desserts using the crock pot.
Holidays bring many recipes for delicious appetizers that are made in
crock pots. These are great for entertaining as they can be cooked in
the crock pot and then served from it, ensuring that the food is kept
nice and warm.
Leftovers have also been incorporated into crock pot cooking. These
ready to eat meals are either created with the leftover ingredients from
yesterday’s dinner, or is simply re-heated all day for a repeat
performance. Either way, this has been found to be not only handy and
time efficient, but saves money as well.
Crock pots are now sold in many different sizes. You can find small
ones for single people or couples, all the way up to sizes that will
serve families from one pot. This makes it quite convenient to cook
portions that are appropriate to all different sized families. By using
crock pots, smaller families aren’t forced into cooking much more food
than they need, and larger families can fill up from a meal cooked in
the larger sizes.
Another thing to consider is that crock pots never go out of style or
outlive their usefulness. They make wonderful wedding gifts. The happy
couple can spend less time cooking and more time enjoying the fact that
they are now married. It is a gift that really does keep on giving.