Good afternoon and welcome to another edition of Food Holidays as the Guide celebrates all things to do with food. From Whipped Cream to Apples to Nachos and Hot Dogs, we enjoy bringing to you the history behind your favorite foods as well as some of the more inventive recipes or locations where some of the best of that food are found. In addition, this month the Guide has been partnering with Brandi Kennedy of Brandi Kennedy: Love Stories and Lifestyle for the Undaunted Woman. So as we did earlier this month, the Guide will focus on the amazing fake food history behind the foods, and Brandi will be covering some delicious delectables to go along with it. This month the Guide celebrates National Slow-Cooker month.
Slow cookers began to gain popularity in the 70s, the decade of my birth. And I remember my mother bringing getting a crockpot from my father for the first time one year. At first, she didn’t have much use for it. But later on, as she went back to work. Gone long hours during the day, she wouldn’t have the kind of time to prepare meals for us. And while she may have relented to do one of those microwave meals, her preference was to not eat any of those concoctions, as frequently they would make her feel ill. The crockpot was the perfect antidote to my mother’s time constraints and nutritional constrictions.
And aside from that, the crockpot worked well when it came to making the stews my mother liked to make. She would throw a little bit of everything into her stews, set the timer and let it cook for eight to ten hours so it would be ready for dinner when we got home. Of course, I didn’t appreciate it very much as I was an extremely picky eater. There would be so many different flavors in the stew my mouth would be screaming, or maybe my stomach. I would add copious amounts of cottage cheese to my meals to make it through. Nevertheless, I did appreciate the warm food ready for us for dinner all those years.
Eventually, I would become a parent myself, with my own set of busy. And I also ended up being the primary cook for my family. My first experiment with crock pot cooking actually took place at the baby shower for my daughter. We had a Mardi Gras themed party and I looked for recipes for the day. From interesting vegetable salads to Jambalaya and delicious desserts, they had it all. But I wanted to try different things, and I came upon a recipe for Gumbo. It was slow-cooker Gumbo. Having the ability to put something in the slow-cooker while I worked on the rest of the different dishes was a Godsend. And when it came out delicious, I could definitely appreciate all of the amazing things one could do.
I would then go on to do many different dishes in the slow cooker. From something as simple as baked beans to a homemade chili, I wanted to try out what I could do. Not every dish turned out like. would have liked. But I found how truly useful it could be. Unfortunately, divorce changed a few things, and I haven’t been able to use the slow cooker nearly as much as I would have liked. And while I haven’t made nearly as much with it, I am forever grateful for its ability to make meals and meal preparation easier.
The Fake Food History Of The Slow-Cooker
For those of you have been following the Guide, you are aware the Guide wants to provide you with the finest of food history when we do our food holidays, fake food history that is. We are not content to just express to you our experience with the food. We want to give you so much more . . . or less . . . or something. The Guide spares no expense to find the most amazing food facts and history behind the delicious food. And while the slow-cooker isn’t strictly a food, it does affect our food in unique and marvelous ways. So we made sure to scour the reaches of the deep web to bring to you the most amazing food history of this unique and wonderful device. So without further ado, the Guide brings to you the fake food history of the slow-cooker.
Going back in time to the crazy radical days of the 1950s and those wild and nutty “stay at home” moms, a crazy genius by the name of Irving Naxon, or “half-baked” to his buddies, was sitting in his house lamenting the cooking of his wife. As she had gone back to work to try to do something for herself, the meals were never ready when Irving got home anymore. He took to helping his wife with meal preparation. And while he did not hate it, he struggled to get stuff done.
But on this one Friday, on the ides of March, Irving has a secret which was about to change his entire future. It was a secret so deadly it might destroy his family, his relationship with his wife, and his entire future. For on this particular Friday, Irving’s grandmother planned to make a visit.
Irving’s wife could tell he exhibited signs of extreme stress this particular Friday morning as he went about doing his daily chores and trying to run through the shopping list of things he needed to pick up before his wife came home from work so they could cook the meal. He had worked himself up into an extreme frenzy before he collapsed on the couch and started muttering to himself. One could easily mistake the sweat from underneath his chin as drool as he seemed to go catatonic.
“Irving,” Naxon’s wife inquired. “Irving!! I know things have been rough since I went back to school and got a degree. And I know you have had to take on a lot of extra work around the house with our children and all. But I can tell you aren’t telling me something Irving. Irving!!!”
Irving snapped out of it just enough to look back at his wife. And then he looked back at the ground. Then back at his wife.
“Grandmother is coming,” he muttered almost to himself.
“Repeat that one more time,” Irving’s wife said as she put her hand on his shoulder.
Irving looked up directly at his wife and repeated, “Grandmother is coming . . . this evening.”
“Why didn’t you tell me sooner?” Irving’s wife inquired.
“I didn’t know until last night, and by then I wasn’t sure what you would be able to do about it,” Irving answered.
Irving’s wife looked dumbfounded and didn’t know what to say. She had a big deal at work today and couldn’t miss it. Being an executive assistant to the president of a large corporation took up much of her time.
“And all we have is beans. Beans!!” Irving shouted. “Beans,” Irving whispered, as he realized the kids had started to look back at the two of them having a conversation.
He threw himself back on the couch but his foot swung out and kicked the large wood oak coffee table in front of him. He started screaming as his mind went blank. While the foot swelled up, the pain subsided a bit. And at the same time, he had a vision. He remembered his grandmother’s beans in a big pot, and put in the oven, cooking for eight hours.
He ran to the phone to call his mother for the recipe, even if he knew she didn’t like talking on the phone, he was able to save the day with his wife and family, and made his grandmother feel more at home, even if she complained the whole entire time and pretended like it was an ordeal, Irving could see the subtle grin on his grandmother’s face, letting him know the evening was a success.
But upon getting to work the next day, he could not get the thought of his grandmother’s beans cooking in the oven out of his head, and his worry the whole house would burn down in his absence. Thankfully it did not. And while the gas bill the next month was expensive, he considered the cost worth it to please his grandmother.
Despite this fact, one thought ate away at him: “what if there were a way to cook items in a pot all day long and not have to use the oven or waste the gas. He could create something using electricity for the heating mechanism. He had seen conductivity tests done at work and how it could be used to heat substances.
When he brought this theory to people in the R&D department at work they laughed at him. A couple thought it could be done. But the largest amount thought he was nuts. In fact, one person called his idea a load of crock. Which, of course, is where the nickname for the slow cooker was born.
Dreamers almost always get their way in the end. And Irving was no different. His idea eventually got tested and tried. They found it worked well. And once Tony in R&D figured out how to get an automatic shut off switch, they started to mass produce the items. While an interesting gadget in the 1950s, by the time we reached the 70s and more households required both parents to work, there was a slow-cooker in almost every home. And I honestly cannot imagine what my life would be like today without Irving, the stubbed toe, and the pot of beans his grandmother always used to make.
Continue The Conversation
For those in the know, you are aware I always do a food holiday like National Slow-Cooker Month, with a recipe or local food places to go along with it. But as we partnered with Brandi Kennedy this month, she will be doing the slow-cooker recipes this time around. Definitely, check her out.
So what did you think of the almost completely fake history of the slow-cooker? And what are some of your favorite recipes to cook on the slow cooker? I always love a good chili or a good stew. But I have seen some amazing things done I would love to try out sometime.
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Until next time, this is me signing off.
David Elliott, Single Dad’s Guide to Life