As I just replied in the form of a Thank You Woman! Your Food Was Delicious! to a recipe blog, this memory jumped up and bit me in the ….fingertips. So this is for you, those of you that use crock pot-ting as a form of luxurious eating. (This happened 2 years ago, but I can still recall the odor.)
The dishes were almost done. I just had the leftover crock pot to do. Granted, i hated dishes enough that it had set by the sink for…well over the allotted dish-avoidance time, but i was getting to it today. I turned it over to scrub the outside, loving that this ceramic tub came out and i didn’t have to wash the entire crock pot that was my wedding gift 20 years ago, when a mystery was solved. A big one.
Sticky, translucent cooked, and glued to the corner in a death grip, was the partial word Dr. Sch-…
That was it. But for me, it was enough. I started laughing, and thought, THIS IS WHY I AM A DORK IN ALL AREAS OF LIFE!! (I love me, don’t get me wrong.) Who else could start cooking something simple, and end up cooking inserts?
UH. Lets back up here.
I think we all know this about me by now. I cook rarely. When I cook, it is mostly finger food with carrot curly cue’s and other assorted flora and fauna, artfully placed around…something that came in a can. My theory is, why make something fancy from scratch when you can dress up the bland?(It’s why i can get away with a t-shirt at work when it isn’t casual Friday. Really.)
So when i do cook, it’s a big deal around here. At least to me. And to my souchef, Addie. It becomes an event, and she puts on her lavender Betty Crocker hat. I put on my apron (thanks for that habit, mom. you know i’m messy) and we both crank the tunes.
This particular morning, we had put into play the fruition of the last nights brainstorming that went something like this:
Addie: “Mom, we really should cook. It’s been a long time.”
Mom: “Um. how bout sandwiches?”
Addie: “Are u listening? Seriously, we need something warm in our bellies. Not chili again, please. I can’t open the can at ALL.”
Mom: “How bout a crock pott-ee thing-ee? Debbie on Facebook said she uses it all the time.”
Addie: Isn’t that complicated?”
Mom: “I’m not sure. We should look.”
Now those of you that use crock pots as a crutch when you don’t have time to do any real cooking, and just “throw any old thing in it”, please just look away. Go back to your world conquering, knit your-favorite-charity-a-truckload-of-sweaters-over-the-weekend… life. Any that are left, (menfolk, teens, women that watch the cooking channel but don’t use it…) this is what happened next.
Addie and i saw in a cookbook (crock pots made easy) that chicken and rice was right up our alley. And still too complicated. But what we conceived instead was 15 bean soup w/some ham in it. Simple. Right up our other alley. We even planned ahead enough to put dry beans in water to soften up over night. GENIUS!!!!
The next morning i got up, got ready for work, and came down to put together the “cook all by itself while you are away” magic.
SIDENOTE: Life is sometimes about upkeep. So the gel inserts i keep in my ALL DAY/ALL NIGHT heels were just not sticking to the inside of the shoe like they should. And it was Salsa Lesson night in Boulder, after work. I needed to re-stickiuppee my gels. (Um…Salsa Dancing, not Salsa Making. I don’t cook often, remember?)
So i’m rinsing off the inserts in the sink. The kitchen sink. (Don’t judge me. No one’s looking, and I was in a hurry.) They are all clean and sticky again, because they are that clear silicone stuff that Dr. Scholls made a million on. I don’t have to know the why of it, i just like that i can Salsa (badly, but still) after work on Thursdays, because of these bad boys. I put the inserts on the counter (on a towel to dry, and so it isn’t on my counter. Feet on counters, ew. This was my compromise.) and washed my hands.
I went to the other side of the kitchen to do the ingredient dump into the crock pot. Beans…. check. Water…. check. Spices…. check. And that was it for now. when husband got home from work, he would dump in the meat and finish it up. WHAMMO! A meal that i wasn’t there to watch over.
I took the ceramic part of the crock pot back over to the sink to fill it up with a bit of water, setting it on the towel so i had both hands. At this time, i am already mentally out the door and on my way to work. (Wow.Tthat was unusually convenient that to have a towel there so i didn’t have to set it on the counter. Wonder when i thought ahead that much?… What am i doing for lunch…. How many times will i need to hear annoying co-worker talk about her hair plugs…and so on and so on with the thoughts of the day). Then i put it in the outside part of the crock pot, put the lid on, and forgot about it. I felt so domestic at that point.
I then noticed i was running late. I got the menfolk up, and i headed out the door, calling Addie on the phone to wake HER up as well. About 2 blocks away, I was kicking myself when i noticed that i forgot my gel inserts. Dang it! I really needed them tonight, but i’ll deal…and my day commenced from there.
Fast forward through the day to 4:30 when husband calls to say the house smells good and did i put something interesting in the crock pot? He puts in the meat, we chit chat, and i feel good that there is a meal for the family. I head to salsa lessons, and am home by 9:30. All i could think of was how great it would be to have a bit of this food.
I walk in the door and am assaulted by a great smell of homemade food……and something else. (What is that? WHAT. IS. THAT. SMELL?) I look in the garbage,Ii look in the fridge. Nothing. I’m beat, so i eat the soup, love that it turned out well, and go to bed. (Husband had just put the entire crock pot in the fridge. his way of putting dinner away.)
Next day, i take the crock pot liner out of the crock pot, and prepare to just rinse it down a bit when i’m assaulted by that odd smell again. I pick up the ceramic pot part and …. gunky, stringy, smelly, incredibly sticky stuff is on the bottom of the ceramic pot, up the sides, and stuck to the metal shell. I don’t have a clue what it is because, lets face it, i’m an in-the-moment-kind-of-gal. I rinse off the best of it, happy that at least it’s coming off, so it must be some odd food that husband made the last time we used this thing, about 4 months ago. (Ew.I’d have to speak with him about cleaning up better)…… and moved the ceramic to the counter by the sink, vowing i’d get to it later…. you know. LATER.
It was a few days later that the mystery clicked into place. I had cooked my inserts. Cooked them, and then fed the blended scents to my family. I’m that good. Welcome to my life. the worst part? I mean, really the worst part? Now i’m going to have to go back out and find some more gel inserts. My family will live with the knowledge that they inhaled my cooked foot goo. I, however, have Salsa night coming up, and can’t live another day without the cushionee goodness.
The crock pot went back into the garage. We are having cheese, meat, and crackers for dinner again.