Is it a Crock-Pot, or a Slow Cooker?
While all Crock Pots are slow cookers, not all slow cookers are Crock Pots. Confused? Well, think of it this way: "Crock Pot" is a brand name. Most like the use of the word Kleenex is to tissues. Though they both perform a similar function, the mechanics and how it applies to cooking are different. A crock pot is a pot that sits inside a surrounding heating element and has high/low-temperature options. The surrounding heat allows food to rise to a safe temperature quicker and for longer. The crock-pot excels at cooking large, challenging pieces of meat, like a pot roast. A slow cooker is usually a metal pot that sits on top of a heating surface and has a range of heating temperatures. The slow cooker is better for soups and stews. The concept started with a Jewish mother's humble bowl of bean stew. Tamara Kaslovski Nachumsohn was the inspiration for the modern-day crock-pot. Tamara would tell stories to her son, Irving Naxon, about a traditional Jewish bean stew cooked in her village in Lithuania. The family would bring a stew, called cholent, to the town bakery and place the pot in the warm baking ovens on Friday before the Sabbath. The Sabbath is a day of rest, and the villagers could not work…which included cooking. As the ovens cooled, the residual heat would cook the stew over the next 24 hours. Inspired by his mother's story, Naxon invented a cooking device called the Naxon Beanery All-Purpose Cooker in 1936. The portable device he created sounds familiar to what we have today. An insert to hold the food, held up by a case that stores the heating device, facilitated long but even cooking inside the insert. Irving later created The Naxon Utilities Corporation of Chicago to manufacture and sell his cooker. The Rival Company bought the design from Naxon in 1970, rebranding the Beanery as the Crock Pot in 1971. The timing was perfect. Mothers were entering the workforce at a record pace g for modern conveniences to continue cooking for their families. The women found that they could start a meal before they left for work and have a warm, finished meal by the time they got home. Brilliant. The Crock-Pot sold millions in the 1970s but had a slow decline as the popularity of the microwave started gaining speed. What is old is new. The slow cooking process is as popular as ever again. 83% of families, as of 2011, own a version of a slow cooker, and websites like Pinterest fill our cookers with delicious, unique, and easy recipes. We are particularly fond of making Thai soups and beef short ribs in our cookers, but you can make desserts, beverages, bread, and dips. The options are only limited to your imagination and palate. Go to your basement, wipe the dust off your cooker, and start cooking.