A Crock-pot Apology

Oh, my little crock-pot, I owe you a sincere apology. I abused your smaller siblings for art projects involving mean paraffin and cruel crayons while wholly neglecting your culinary talents.  You’ve festered in back shelves, closets and dark, dark basements while I hopped around in the kitchen above with saucepans, skillets and stockpots. I’ve pawned off your gifted crock-pot cousins on others willing to take on your lack of ambition and squatty looks.

No more!

My reluctance to engage the crock-pot had been based out of skepticism and fear that once used, I might find myself using other things I associate with such a device: elastic pants, “Home Sweet Home” plaques, doilies. Having stumbled upon the humble unit while snooping around our harvest room one afternoon, I thought, well, why not? If I wear elastic pants out here, I’ll just blend in anyway.

I had been sort-of craving polenta but felt too lazy to baby sit it, seeing as I have a real baby that is more fun and doesn’t spit boiling lava at me. Yet. Also, I had always felt there was something wrong with my cornmeal porridge: I always felt like I could feel it expanding in my stomach afterward. Perhaps a long bath in a womb-like atmosphere would provide the proper polenta process, and redeem the crock-pot in my eyes.

Here’s what I did:

Dump some amount of course-ground polenta in the crock-pot. (Doris, you’ll be pleased to know it came from a mill in Odon, IN.) Maybe like a cup. Add four times the amount of water, a generous heave of salt and turn on to low. Or high. I did both, and returned to find the crock-pot frothing at the lid. I turned it down to low, and it seemed happier. Add more water if you tend to forget about such things or if it seems dry.

I think I stirred it one point. Most cookbooks will inform you that you must hover around, stirring gently and soothingly to your porridge. I have never been able to do this without being spat upon by boiling spurts of polenta. So I don’t stir and things get lumpy. Cooking authorities have also informed me that I should be making a slurry of the cornmeal and some amount of water before adding the rest of the liquid to prevent lumps. I have been lump free up to this point and see no reason to change. Advice, anyone?

If you feel fancy, you can use milk, stock, or cream instead of water.  I like to scoop it up and pour milk, butter and a little sprinkle of turbinado sugar when I need to eat goopy bowl things. We usually eat this under stews that are tomato based.

You can pour leftovers into a greased pan or plate and fry it up the next morning with sausage and maple syrup. Yes, yes.

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5 comments to A Crock-pot Apology

  • doris

    So how did it taste???

  • jillygoat

    It tasted great! Waaayy better than my previous polenta stovetop experiences.

  • Photo? Photo? No photo?

  • Dee

    So funny I have had the exact same experience with using crock pots for art projects and re-gifitng them! and now I want to use one for real I think I might actually break down and buy one(used of course)..I will try this recipe when i do..thanks for the great blog I am really enjoying it!

  • Miss Julia

    Love it! I am sitting here crocheting some doilies in my elastic waist pants, humming home sweet home, and listening to my three various crockpots churning out their funk. Gotta love those slow cookers, just like me as I get older, much slower.Love the site, I’ll just lurk around for a while!