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Slow Cooker… or Slow Learner?

September 19, 2009

I have spent the last two months lacking inspiration and am therefore dredging the safety net of my histroical musings for sustenance.  The result is that I have just raided the blogpost larder and filched the very last titbit therein, which you will find below.  This means that I now have to get serious about inspiration for writing.  I need to stir up the porridge that resides in my skull and try to jump start some synapses or spark some ganglions into action.  I wonder what synapses look like and  I wonder where ganglions reside.  On the sunny Islets of Langerhans, perhaps, where we’re going for our holidays next year, by the way.

So here you are, then.  We find ourselves transported back to sunny Sidcup circa March 1997:

Due to the fact that we have just moved into a house devoid of any pleasant décor whatsoever, we have begun with redecorating the kitchen.  As a result, the only fixture is a sink with a single cold tap which is held up by ropes attached to the window handles, as the base unit now resides in the skip out front.

We do not even possess an oven, having had it written in to the contract that the vendor should have it professionally disconnected and removed from the premises before we signed, so grim was its condition.  Oh, bad memories of the house of horrors that this place used to be before it became the shell it now is, ready to be refitted and, we hope, transformed in to our home.  I will save the gruesome skin flake story for another day and believe me, that is not one to be read before, during or immediately following meal time.

Anyway, I digress.  Our kindly neighbours took pity on us and decided to lend us their slow cooker.  I now suspect that this was a devious ploy to rid themselves of the cursed appliance that had cost them too much to justify dumping it straight into the aforementioned skip out front.

Have you ever had the pleasure of a one to one with a slow cooker?  This wretched invention has the unenviable ability of draining whatever is thrown in to it of any flavour, colour or texture whatsoever.  It’s weird really, because all it seems to do is keep your meat warm in water all day and it comes out tasting of, well, meat that has been kept warm in water all day.  Uncanny!  No matter what tasty additions you contribute to the pot, the slow cooker can secrete them somewhere other than within the food!  I made a Thai red chicken curry recently and strangely enough it came out tasting like boiled chicken.  What I would like to know is where did all the chilli, coriander, lemon grass etc that went in at the beginning go?  It must be magic.  I mean, if you tried to reverse the curry process, you couldn’t do it, could you?  And actually, why would you want to, but you know what I’m saying.  Maybe I’ll try putting cucumber in and see what it makes of that.  Perhaps Husband could be persuaded to eat it once it had spent the day getting the slow cooker treatment and no longer actually resembled cucumber in any way, shape or form.  If that works, maybe I could try throwing in my dirty washing and seeing how it deals with the stubborn stains.  The trouble is, if it can suck out all of the flavours and aromas from the foods you put into it, I bet the nutritional value also drops through the floor.  It must be like one of those amazing water filters you can use to drink the contents of the septic tank or a river that has been poisoned by toxic waste.  The outcome is basically the same.

I admit that, as a slow cooker novice, I may not be approaching it in the right way.  I did, for example, try putting pasta in one day on my way out in the morning.  When I came home that evening and opened it up to inspect the delights it contained, it seemed that someone had removed the pasta and replaced it with some old, semen-soaked flannels.

As an aside, 12 years later, upon our arrival in Australia to visit our practically-family-friends who had decided for some strange reason to emigrate there 8 months earlier, they met us at the airport and whisked us home to a wonderful slap-up meal (after the obligatory bubbles and nibbles) of Leg of Lamb Casserole à la Slow Cooker.  Needless to say , the lamb was tender, juicy, delicious, flavoursome and the wonderful aroma emanating from the plug-in porcelain cooking pot pervaded the entire house and had us salivating the minute we were through the front door.

Either the technology had improved tremendously over that 12 year period or, well, maybe it’s just a me thing.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 22, 2009 7:54 pm

    Oh, it is coming onto winter and as I am on maternity leave I have been thinking of dusting off the old slow cooker to see what we can come up with. I always thought that they would be good for the busy working family but the idea of starting to cook before work always turned my stomach (I could barely face breakfast some days, meat was not going to happen!)

    I am now afraid of dinners that are just meat kept warm in water. Well, we will see! I bought a book, although it has some rather fancy type meals in it which are not my style (partridge in port anyone?)

  2. purplejake permalink*
    September 22, 2009 9:17 pm

    Oo-er, Missis. Good luck with the fancy foods. The only tip that I feel qualified to offer on the slow cooker front is not to try anything with pasta!!!! Mind you, if you have a book then odds are on for your experiments to be more successful than mine.
    Actually I kind of feel tempted to buy a slow cooker just to get the upper hand on the wretched thing. I can’t stand to be defeated.
    Please do let me know how you get on…..

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