What a crock

Admittedly, my biggest kitchen failures usually come from a Crock pot.

If you forget about the first time I made Tiramisu without sugar or my passive-aggressive relationship with yeast, the Crock-pot is my next greatest culinary nemesis.

Oh, I do fine with chili, soups or beans because that’s what slow-cookers are made for–heating things together that love to hang out all day without any hopes of self-transformation from what goes in to begin with. It’s when I stray from this intended purpose and expect a hunk of meat, a can of soup and a tube of refrigerated biscuits to become Beef Wellington after 8 hours on my counter that I run into difficulty.

Such was the case this week when I saw a Crock-pot recipe for a cider-braised pork tenderloin in which I had all of the ingredients and didn’t have to go to the grocery store which already was a victory for me.

It called for a slather of honey mustard on the pork, then apple cider and cut fresh apples on top. I knew it was an incongruous and incomplete combination as I placed it all in there but I was so hopeful that I just replaced the lid and like Jane Jetson, waited for a complete and delicious meal to magically emerge even though utter crap just went in.

When we returned that evening, the house was supposed to smell all roasty, porky, and fall-y, but instead the aroma was more baby-foody with a hint of wet dog at a state fair. When I removed the lid, it looked pretty much like it did that morning except it was all one color and texture–wet, sad, beige and defeated.

Before calling for pizza, I tried a small bite to confirm what I already suspected by sight and smell.

Dry, flavorless, a little chewy with a fermented aftertaste; the familiar taste of another Crock-pot catastrophe.

I’m not sure what the moral of this story is–other people cook fish in dishwashers and chicken in microwaves and maybe even bake bread in popcorn poppers for all I know–but for me cooking much in a slow cooker is Crock full of disaster.

©2013 Tracey Henry


  1. Sheeee’s back. Haven’t seen a column in quite awhile and sure did miss it. The problem with crockpots as I see it? They’re for amateurs and you crossed over the culinary line long ago. Save the crockpot for keeping things warm like chili or hot cocoa

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