We all have one. Whether it’s stuffed back in a hard-to-reach cabinet or sitting in plain sight on the kitchen counter, it’s there. It could have been a gift, a hand-me-down or even your own purchase, but for some reason it sits unused and almost forgotten.
I’m talking about that unused kitchen appliance all of us own.
For me it’s this large, deep-red, hand-me-down crock pot that despite having traveled to four different apartments with me has yet (until very recently that is) to be used, at least by me.
My various roommates from Connecticut to Maryland have found many uses for it. It has been used to produce truly delicious apple sauce, pumpkin bread and several different types of stews. Each time one of them asks me if they can use it I say “of course” and then think, you know I should really use it too.
But, I don’t.
In theory, the crock pot or slow cooker is a great idea, especially for those of us (so all of us) with busy schedules. Just toss in your ingredients, set the temp, go to work and when you arrive back home, instead of having to hangrily (I think that should be a word now too) cook up dinner, it’s already done for you! But those first two steps require something that never happens for me – dinner preparation and planning the night before.
Most people who know me are surprised by that.
“But you love to plan,” they tell me as if I’m unaware of the dozens of color-coded lists and schedules that cover my desk, walls and planner. They’re right, I do love to plan. I’ll plan on making some slow cooker recipe, make a shopping list, by all the ingredients for it, and then, somehow, during the week the ingredients end up in omelets or stir-fries instead of in the crock-pot.
I try to think of excuses for not using the crock-pot, but all of them really boil down to, I’m not in the habit of it, and habits are everything.
Some people think making meatballs instead of just meat sauce to go with their pasta sounds challenging and time consuming, but I’m in the habit of it, so I do it. Some people think finding time to run for an hour or more each day is impossible, but I’m in the habit of it, so I find the time. Some people think making a lunch to bring to work is too much effort, but it’s part of my bedtime routine, so I do it (even on snow days…so currently eating my pre-made lunch at home.)
But using a crock-pot, even if I have all the ingredients and recipe picked out…I don’t do that.
With the thought that I shouldn’t own something I never use as a motivator, last week I set out to finally use my crock-pot after lugging it around for nearly three years.
I bought the ingredients ✓
…I used them to make another recipe.
I bought them again ✓
…I did the first half of the prep, turned on the crock-pot, and made a different dinner for that night. Before going to bed, I turned off the crock-pot, put the bowl in the refrigerator and told myself I would finish the recipe the next day.
Instead, the bowl sat behind my milk for nearly four days.
Yesterday being a snow day I realized I had literally no excuse. I had time, I had the ingredients (sort of), I was sick of staring at the red bowl and if I didn’t finish the recipe then the first half would go bad very soon.
I plugged in the crock pot ✓
Popped the bowl back in ✓
Turned up the heat ✓
And…finished the recipe ✓
My variation of a mushroom, carrot, chicken and rice soup turned out pretty good, but frankly it could have been terrible and I still would I have been proud because for the first time ever I actually used that kitchen appliance.
What appliance do you have hidden away in your cabinet, almost forgotten? Maybe challenge yourself to use it this week…or at least think about it.