Friday, February 07, 2014

they don't make them like they used to

When I got married, many many many many years ago, it was the beginning of the crockpot era.  I got one of these new appliances as a wedding gift and at the time wondered what I was supposed to do with it.   I used the little tiny cookbook that came with it to learn to make bean soup, stew, chili, and a few other handy items that served me well for many years. The crockpot alsoserved my entire neighborhood well.  My good friend borrowed it frequently for teacher soup parties, the crew team used it for chili dinners for the kids, the Girl Scouts had many meals from it.  It wasn't a fancy appliance  but it always worked.

A couple of years ago, for reasons that will never be clear to me, my husband bought me a new crockpot.  At this point we have 1) no children at home and consequently no need for handy, filling, inexpensive meals,  2) my other crockpot worked just fine, and 3) we were no longer involved in activities that required feeding hoards of hungry children and teenagers.  But, his excuse was "This one has a removeable crock."  Yes it does which is totally unnecessary.  The old one had a big warning "DO NOT IMMERSE" as the 'crock' was not removable from the 'pot'  but it was easily washed.

I have tried to cook with this new crockpot and everything turns to mush.  I carefully follow instructions that I have used for years and years and years and they don't work.  Today I tried again.  Beef stew, on low, carefully following the instructions.  It is now mush.  Careful internet research yielded this note:  "New crockpots are often 40 degrees hotter than older ones."  Forty degrees!  For a crockpot that's like 25% hotter.  No wonder everything cooks down to mush - on LOW.  I thought the whole point of a crockpot was a low temperature.  I think if I use this one again I'll just use the 'warm' setting.  I can't imagine using the 'high' setting.  But I think the real solution is to pull my old faithful crockpot out of the cupboard and donate this new one to the thrift store.

Monday, February 03, 2014

"The business of life is the acquisition of memories."

I'm catching up on "Downton Abbey" while I fold laundry.  It has really sunk to the level of a soap opera but it still has a special British charm.  Today I was struck by a comment by Carson, the butler.  I don't actually remember the story line to which it refers. but I was totally struck by the quote - "The business of life is the acquisition of memories".   When it is all over we don't need the china, the sofa, the car, the TV, the house, but we do need the memories of the times with friends, and family, and the experiences of sights and smells and trips which will keep us engaged and entertained and allow us to relive them through our memories forever.  So my goal is whenever I need to make a decision between "stuff" and a memory, is to always make a memory.  Thank you, Downton Abbey.