Sure, he's gotten a smirk or two when he mentions the crock pot among food snobs. And yeah, there's been a lot of surprise when his guests are eating something delicious and find out how it was prepared.
But, anymore, not all that often.
"I think it's gaining respect," he says.
Quick tips on slow cooking
Beth Hensperger, author of a number of the "Not Your Mother's" slow cooker books, has a few suggestions for people considering cooking with a slow cooker:
1. Don't put cold food into the cooker. It takes too long to start the heating.
2. Never fill the pot more than two-thirds to three-quarters of the way. Food expands. (Hensperger says she learned that lesson the hard, messy way.)
3. Resist the urge: Don't open the lid. If you do, you let the cooking heat out and will probably have to add another half-hour to an hour to your cooking time.
4. If you're making something for a pot luck, plug it in on the serving table. Especially with a 7-quart machine, they can get heavy, and with the outside of the machine hot, moving it can be difficult, dangerous and awkward.
5. If you own one of the avocado or gold machines from the 1970s, get rid of it. The new models run hotter and safer.
6. When shopping for a slow cooker, Hensperger says, "real gourmands" should go to Williams-Sonoma and spring for a Cuisinart with all the bells and whistles. But a novice who just wants to experiment with slow cooking would do fine, she says, with something along the lines of a Hamilton Beach