What Slow Cookers Teach Us

I’ve been using a slow cooker lately and it seems like a good topic for a Foodie Friday. Maybe you call it a “crock pot“, maybe you call it “that thing we never use.” I call it my new kitchen BFF and have been producing all kinds of soups, chilis, braised meats, and stews; the kind of stuff that’s perfect wintertime fare.

a slow cooker Oval Crock Pot

Image via Wikipedia

I’m sure you’re not a regular reader of the screed for cooking lessons so I won’t explain all the ins and outs of successful slow cooker use. I will, however, attempt to explain how slow cookers can teach a great business lesson.

The best kinds of foods to put in one of these things are tough meats and dense, fibrous vegetables.  What’s nice is that these happen to be the least expensive stuff in the store.  Because the heat is low and it’s a moisture-filled closed system, the collagen in the meat changes and the fibers in the veggies break down.  Using a slow cooker isn’t a spur of the moment decision.  Everything takes a long time to cook – at least 4 hours and many recipes call for 8 hour cook times.  One also needs to do a bit of prep work before using the cooker – browning meats, cutting veggies to uniform sizes and browning them a bit as well.  In return, the thing is pretty much set it and forget it.  And that’s the business point.

My tech guys used to remind me that I could have things either fast, good, or cheap – pick two.  We can opt for cheap and good in business a long as we follow the slow cooker way of doing things:  plan ahead (leave enough time), lay a firm foundation (brown everything), make sure that just because you’re using inexpensive materials they’re still best in class (no overly fatty short ribs!), and let the workers do their thing with minimal interruption (don’t open the cooker lid – it lets the moisture out and slows cooking).

Amazing what we can learn from appliances!

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2 Comments

Filed under food, Helpful Hints

2 responses to “What Slow Cookers Teach Us

  1. Pingback: Chili for the slow cooker | Chef Doru's Blog

  2. Pingback: Slow Cooker Days « themiddlegeneration

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