I think they must be the current version of the crockpot. Remember them? In the 70s, crockpots were The Thing, as far as electrical appliances went, to have on your kitchen bench.
Basically a ceramic pot with a lid and a timer, they came in a variety of 70s kitchen colours like brown and cream, brown and cream with a splash of orange and one “beauty” I saw that was brown and cream with a splash of orange plus a spatter of lime green. I think there may have been some yellow and cream versions too, but don’t quote me on that.
I’m not entirely sure on the details of cooking with a crockpot because we didn’t have one when I was growing up, but from what I understood, you just chopped things up , tossed them in and turned it on. Then you went off and did your own thing until mealtime, where the crockpot delivered up it’s contents, perfectly cooked. I think they mostly cooked casseroles.
They were great, I suppose, if you were a so-so cook or an indifferent one, were time poor, or just didn’t like cooking and resented the fact that you were the only one on the roster for prep and cook, with a partner and kids who expected you to dish things up on a daily basis.
Today though, we have the multi-cooker! This is the crockpot makeover that was bound to happen and it has taken the humble 70s icon to a whole new level. They fry, they deep fry, they roast, steam, warm, simmer and slow cook. Well yes, the crockpot was the slow-cook ninja, but it didn’t do anything else. Not like these babies!
For the cook who doesn’t want to, these appliances would have to be the answer to their prayers because all they need to do is put the food in, basically, and the multifunction cooker will do the rest. There is one on the market though that pretty much does everything but go to the supermarket for you. I can’t remember the name but it ends in ex (or is it ix?) but whatever, this one will chop, mix, blend and then cook whatever you throw into it and according to it’s many fans, is the ultimate appliance for when you’d rather be anywhere but in the kitchen preparing and cooking.
But what about those of us who like to cook? As one of those types, I am not yearning for a multifunction cooker. Not even the ex/ix one. I like to start from scratch with fresh ingredients. The herbs, the spices, the fragrances that tempt the palate as each is mixed/chopped and added at intervals, building something wonderful that everyone will enjoy. It’s artistry in one of it’s best forms and for those of us who truly enjoy the gathering (I grow a lot of stuff in pots) and the art of blending flavours to create whole new taste experiences, the impersonal convenience of a multifunction cooker is just not going to cut it. Like, even my casseroles are a slow build, adding things and tasting at intervals along the way to deliciousness. I’m not saying a multifunction cooker won’t deliver, I’m just saying it won’t deliver with the same level of joy for a cook who likes to immerse herself in the sensual delights of food creation.
A cook like me.