The joy of sex is negligible next to the joy of Crock-Pots

October 11, 1998|By Susan Reimer

I HAVE rediscovered the joys of Crock-Pot cooking. Or should I say "discovered." My Crock-Pot has been sitting on a basement shelf since I received it as a gift sometime in the 1970s. Didn't we all get Crock-Pots back then? And Belgian waffle irons and crepe pans and woks?

Anyway, a Crock-Pot wasn't much use in my carefree, childless, young professional days. What do you need a Crock-Pot for when you can dine out with friends or throw together a salad at home?

But I have a couple of teen-agers now, and I order my life around their busy schedules. Suddenly I think Crock-Pots are the greatest kitchen appliance since the corkscrew.

When you are fetching a growing boy from high school sports practice at the end of a 12-hour day and he is so hungry that he is near tears, he is not going to let you thumb through a recipe book for something appetizing. You can't get dinner on the table fast enough for him.

And when his sister has to leave for a lesson or a practice in less than 30 minutes, there is no time to stop at the grocery store for a slab of meat to build a meal around.

No. Food had better be waiting when you walk in the door. It had better be hot, and there had better be plenty of it.

But you have to be organized and you have to be awake to be a Crock-Pot cook. It is usually 6 a.m. when you are tossing all the ingredients in the Crock-Pot, and that's the wrong time to find that you are out of lemon pepper or that you can't use a measuring spoon before you have had coffee and a hot shower.

You will still be limited by your children's picky palates. They aren't going to like turnips or ground cumin any more just because it has been simmering on low for six hours.

I would like to recommend Mabel Hoffman's "Crockery Cooking" ($14, HPBooks), an updated edition of the book that outperformed "The Joy of Sex" on the New York Times best seller list in - you guessed it - 1975. I haven't struck out with any of her recipes yet, and my kids are the kind who don't like their various foods to touch on the plate.

Apparently, I am among the last to rediscover, or discover, Crock-Pot magic. Almost 80 percent of the households in America report owning one (though they might be gathering dust in those homes, too), and Rival sells a steady 4 million of them a year - it is one of the most frequently requested wedding gifts.

The bottom line is that Crock-Pot cooking has made mealtime manageable for me, and I am so puffed-up with success that I figure I might as well use the Crock-Pot to bring order to other areas of my chaotic existence.

This morning, I plan to place my bills and some checks into the Crock-Pot, sprinkle them with a handful of stamps, and leave for church. I am certain I will come home to find the bills ready to mail and my checkbook balanced.

Tomorrow I plan to stuff the family's dirty laundry into the Crock-Pot and come home at 5 p.m. to find it stacked and folded on the kitchen counter - for the first time in my married life, I might add.

And this weekend, I plan to lure my husband into the Crock-Pot, join him there, and, in a just a few hours, I am sure our relationship will be as loving and as smoothly running as it was before we had busy kids and the need of a Crock-Pot.

I thought this last idea to be a highly original use for a Crock-Pot, until I realized an appliance already has been invented for this purpose.

I think they call it a hot tub.

Pub Date: 10/11/98

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