This year, for Christmas, my wife asked for a Crock-Pot. Before you get all riled up and scold me for not getting her something meaningful or sparkly or expensive, remember this one fact: She asked for the thing.
It’s not like I went out to the mall, walked around jewelry stores and such and decided the most thoughtful gift I could give my wife was a Crock-Pot. She doesn’t care for jewelry, doesn’t want flowers or goofy stuffed animals. I can’t blame her. She wants something she can actually use. A friend of ours winds up in the doghouse if he doesn’t max out the Mastercard at Christmas. Last year, I got my wife a nice frying pan. One year, I got new (matching) glassware for the house. I did not wind up anywhere in the vicinity of the doghouse.
She’s been talking about the Crock-Pot for a while. I don’t know what the big deal is. When I cook something, I want it done pretty quickly and not take all day. The idea of a “slow cooker” seems kinda goofy to me. If there was something that cooked food at an interval sometime between a Crock-Pot and a microwave, you might have something. Well, of course there is something. A couple of things, actually, and they are a stove and an oven. Six hours to cook something that wasn’t a full-sized turkey sounds silly.
My daughter told my wife she needed to get the one with the touch pad and the digital timer. I didn’t think there was anything wrong with a single dial. The dial was just fine and we didn’t need a space-age device that cooked things really slow. I asked my wife to decide on a size. There was a four-quart and a six-quart and one that was the size of a swimming pool. We did not get the pool-sized one and opted for the one that would feed a few people.
Crock-Pot owners came out of the woodwork. Suddenly, our social media was inundated with recipes from friends and family for Crock-Pot meals. There were stews and soups, meats and seafoods, and more than one dessert. The likelihood of us going hungry is slim. We have received normal recipes like pulled pork to one that claims you can bake a birthday cake in a Crock-Pot. I don’t know if half of these recipes are genuine or someone is pulling my leg. My mother had a Crock-Pot and her recipes weren’t nearly as interesting.
I didn’t realize my social circle contained so many Crock-Pot People. Something out of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” the Crock-Pot People look like everyday normal people. They go to the mall. They take their kids to soccer games and cheerleading. They could be your co-workers. They could be your neighbors. Your pastor and his wife might be Crock-Pot People. You just don’t know when they will appear and try to get you to assimilate to their way of doing things. I didn’t realize quite how easy it was to summon the Crock-Pot People. You don’t even have to have the big Crock-Pot with the digital display. You can have the little four-quart pot and you can summon the Crock-Pot People from their lair.
“I’m thinking of getting a Crock-Pot,” someone says.
Suddenly, you see eyes begin to glow. A warm, welcoming glow beckoning you to come closer. You have awakened the beast. You have said the magic words to open a world you never imagined could exist. You stand there, dumbfounded, with your arms at your sides and your eyes widening.
“Come to us, neophyte. Allow us to help choose your vessel. Allow us to fill your inbox with recipes from Pinterest and Facebook. You will be one of us. You will bring others into the fold.”
Apparently, once you get a Crock-Pot, the rest of the junk in your kitchen doesn’t really matter. I imagine the other appliances and such see the arrival of the Crock-Pot the way coachmakers saw the automobile. I don’t want to hate the Crock-Pot. Our older daughter has given us some delicious sounding recipes. My wife’s friends have given us some recipes. My wife has clipped some from magazines and gotten some online.
While writing this column, I asked my wife if dinner was going to be ready soon. I smelled some delicious barbecue cooking.
“This is not going to be ready until tomorrow,” she said, “You can have a cheese sandwich.”
It’s not like I don’t like cheese sandwiches. I do like them. I had been smelling barbecue for hours and was kinda looking forward to it. Knowing I’d get it, but in about eight hours? Well, folks, that’s a bit of a crock.
Baltimore native Joe Weaver is a husband, father, pawnbroker and gun collector. From his home in New Bern, he writes on the lighter side of family life.