Some things really are flawless and timeless. Not too many things can meet this standard, but in these modern times with a plethora of everything and nothing all at the same time, I insist that discovering something that retains its value is worth talking about.
For me, this newfound appreciation is wrapped around a crockpot.
Until recently, I had never seen a crockpot or eaten something from one, which may make many of my readers wonder how someone gets to be 45 years old without ever crossing paths with one. But this little wonder truly did escape me, and for reasons I can’t explain.
Believe me, you’re not the only one wondering how I missed this thing. By some weird happenstance of the way the stars were aligned at the time of my birth, it seems many practical, useful and necessary things escaped me.
The crockpot fulfills one of my fantasies: something to do something for me while I’m at work. I have given this little baby a prominent place in my kitchen, because even if I use it only twice a week, I like to look at it every day to remind myself that I finally have some kitchen help.
I feel as thrilled as I did when telephones went push button. Not much has amazed me in quite the same way as the first push-button pink princess phone I used as a child. Not even the computer thrills me the way the crockpot does.
While I don’t have any childhood memories of gathering around the crockpot for dinner, it still brings up a feeling of nostalgia. Crockpots come from a bygone era. Some of the cookbooks are probably collector’s items. The chefs on the covers look they just waltzed off “The Lawrence Welk Show.”
The meals that come out of a crockpot are fabulous. None of my 30-minute meals can boast the level of tenderness or well-blended sauciness. The process of cooking in a crockpot is simple. The whole operation is cut and throw. It takes less than seven minutes to cut and throw any dinner into a crockpot. And yes, the meal is good enough to serve to company, dates and picky children.
There is nothing tricky about this. No utensils with Latin names, no complicated code to cut the onion, no seasonings that you must grow in your backyard. The recipes for crockpots were made for us simple folks who shop in ordinary grocery stores and really feel tired when we get home.
I say run out now to your local thrift store and buy up all those original, sensible crockpot cookbooks. I think the crockpot will be rediscovered, and once it is, a famous old rock star will update all the recipes and make it as annoying as possible to cook with. The new recipes will reflect our modern times and be senseless and useless to all us simple folk.
I don’t really believe you can ruin the crockpot. The thing is truly foolproof and may even be celebrity-proof. It costs less than $50 and will probably outlive me.
Sarri Gilman is a freelance writer living on Whidbey Island. Her column on living with meaning and purpose runs every other Tuesday in The Herald. She is a therapist, a wife and a mother, and has founded two nonprofit organizations to serve homeless children. You can e-mail her at features@ heraldnet.com.