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Simple and Effective Slow Cooker
on March 8, 2016
This is as simple as it gets but is (almost) everything you really need in a Slow Cooker. The Crock-Pot brand invented this class of kitchen appliance and it's clear they haven't forgot what it takes to do one right. The 7 Quart (about 6.5 litres) in the oval shape holds a lot of food while still being reasonable for liquids and soup / stews, compared to round slow cookers which need to be much larger to hold the same sized chicken or roast.
With the exception of turkeys, this one will hold almost anything you would normally want to cook at home. Often overlooked is the height of the cooking container and again the 7-quart size allows you to cover your typical meal with liquids, an important factor in many slow-cooker recipes.
Controls are as straightforward as it gets: one rotary dial for off, low heat, high heat, and keep warm settings. When I said " (almost) everything" I was thinking of a pilot light to let you know the unit was on, as with any slow cooker the heat can vary from barely noticeable to a potential contact burn when all you have to go on is by touching the ceramic urn.
I understand that when you are designing an item for maximum utility at minimum cost the secret is knowing what to put in and what to leave out, but I think a lamp, which would probably have raised the retail price by about $5 to $8 would have been a worthwhile design decision. Having said that, the Crock-Pot people have definitely created a functional appliance at a great price, so it's hard to complain too much about something they got so many other details spot-on with.
The rest: the ceramic crock is a bit heavy so not for unsupervised cooking with kids, but on the other hand it holds the heat well, which is what you want in a slow-cooker, and it has a good quality glaze that makes it easy to clean. The lid doesn't fit as tightly as I would like and I would suggest cleaning the lid by itself in the sink (you would not want to drop it onto other dishes when it was slippery from dish detergent suds) to make sure it doesn't break when you are cleaning it, but like the crock itself, is very easy to clean.
The cord is quite short, and this might be an issue with some kitchens. I understand that long power cords are a safety hazard and with a slow cooker that might contain a few quarts of boiling liquid, having a child pull on a too-long cord has scary potential consequences, but I felt I did need to mention it in a review.
Ideally, if needed at all, the cook should use an extension cord of exactly the required length to allow connection from your desired cooking position on the counter to the outlet without any of the cord hanging over or near the edge of the countertop.
A few dollars worth of parts at a hardware store for the handy, or someone who knows a friend or family member handy enough to build a safe extension cord would be ideal, as it's hard to find extension cords that would not be too long and therefore dangerous as described above.
And that's about it. In summary it's everything you need and nothing you don't need in a slow cooker. Because it's a 100% manual operation device and has the power to get to a full boil on the high setting, this would also work perfectly with a Sous Vide controller. I'm happy with mine.