What a Crock! A Crock Pot of CoursePeople tend to use the terms "Crock Pot" and "slow cookers" interchangeably, but they are not. While all Crock Pots are slow cookers, not all slow cookers are Crock Pots. Crock Pot is a brand name.
The Crock Pot has an interesting history. The device was inspired by a dish the inventor's mother told him about. From a humble bowl of bean stew grew a kitchenware empire. Here's the story:
According to CNET Magazine, an inventor by the name of Irving Naxon applied for a patent for a food heating device in 1936. His device consisted of an insert, held up by a case that held a heating device, which facilitated even heating of food inside the insert. The device was also portable.
By 1940, he got a patent for the device he called the Naxon Beanery, and he says his mother inspired him. Naxon's mother had told him stories about a bean-based stew she used to make in her village bakery at home in Lithuania. The stew, a traditional Jewish recipe was supposed to go on the heat before sundown Friday night, when the Sabbath begins, and cook all the way until the end of Saturday services the next day. As the ovens were turned off for the Sabbath, the pot of stew would be put in the oven, and that slow residual heat over the course of the 24 hours would be enough to cook the recipe. In the early 1970s, he sold his design to Rival Manufacturing, who rebranded his Beanery and put it on the market as the Crock Pot. It was marketed toward working women who could put food in the pot before leaving for the work.
Today, however, slow cooking is as popular as ever. Here are a few things to remember about using your Crock Pot.
· Fatty, cheaper cuts of meat work better than lean meats, which tend to toughen up in the slow-cooking process.
· Browning red meats and sautéing vegetables add more flavor. Chicken does not require pre-browning.
· Add herbs toward the end of cooking or these flavors will be lost.
· In a recipe calls for pasta, add cooked pasta near the end of cooking or it will be mushy.
· Beans must be softened by soaking and/or boiling before combining with sugar or acidic ingredients because those ingredients have a hardening effect on beans.
· If making a rice dish, risotto or long-grain rice work best in slow cookers.