Every household needs a slow cooker for two main reasons: they make preparing dinner easier and they cook very well. One of the most beloved kitchen appliances in the US, slow cookers emerged in the early 1970s as crockpots, the original slow cooker. Their early claim has held out for decades: you can prepare a meal and put it in the slow cooker before you leave for work. When you get home, dinner’s ready.
Besides the convenience of making the biggest meal in the morning, when you have the most energy, slow cookers are safe to leave unattended all day. You couldn’t make soup on the stove and leave the house—either you’d burn the soup or the house down. Slow cookers don’t draw very much electricity either. Most run on 110 watts, roughly equivalent to a bright desk lamp. And they are safe to cook in—many are now made without BPAs and lead glazes (which were used in lots of kitchen appliances in years past, not just slow cookers).
Slow cookers come in dozens of styles, prices, and colors, so you won’t have trouble finding one that matches your kitchen and your budget. A five quart slow cooker will make enough stew or soup to feed a family of five; 6.5 quart cookers will feed that family and still yield lunch for two people tomorrow.
Slow cookers are a household must because they actually cook really well, especially this current generation of appliances, which have several cooking options (high, low, keep warm, etc.). Soup cooked on high for six hours in slow cooker comes out really well, and after that any time it cooks on low will further enhance the flavor. Meat dishes, chili, stew, casseroles, hot rum punch—all are possible with a slow cooker. Some people even bake in their slow cookers. There are hundreds of slow cooker cookbooks, and many thousands more recipes on the Internet. So there’s no shortage of culinary potential when you have a slow cooker.
Another reason why every household should have a slow cooker: they’re now portable. The introduction of safety clamps over the sides of many new models means you can safely transport your simmering slow cooker to a potluck dinner, birthday bash, or tailgate party. The slow cooker pot will stay hot for several hours after it’s unplugged, so if you go straight to the picnic, lunch will still be warm.
A lot of people use their slow cookers for more interesting household projects than making dinner (which can be very interesting, no doubt). Slow cookers work as sterilization chambers for canning jars. They also work really well for making soap, because of their gentle, uniform heat; again, there are many recipes on the Internet for this purpose. Some people even use their slow cookers as a hot laundry station for soaking rags, but you might want to use an old model for that, and not cook in it again. That brings up another great point: slow cookers are really easy to clean. You take the pot out and clean it in the sink; some smaller models allow you to put the pot in the dishwasher.
Finally, every household should have a slow cooker because these mighty appliances encourage people to cook at home, eat healthy, and eat together. Being exhausted from work is a valid excuse for not making dinner (and eating fast food instead, as often happens), but it’s not a very healthy way to live. When you spend time every day preparing your own food or making meals for your family, a kind of energy is created. It’s hard to explain but it’s uplifting, and well worth the modest investment in a slow cooker.