Just as fashion is throwing it back to the 70's, so is the culinary sector with the resurgence of Crock-Pot cooking. I know, I know. It's something that our working parents put to good use when we were kids, and their parents utilized years before, in an effort to save time, prep as little as possible and provide the family with a healthy meal. But it seemed to die out a bit, became obsolete. In the age of counter top convection ovens and microwave cooking, however, the hands-free Crock-Pot is back with a fervor.
When the invention was launched 75-years ago, the kitchen appliance was marketed to the female demographic as a time saver in the kitchen. Sales exploded in the 70's when women were entering the work force in record numbers. And now, believe it or not, some slow cookers are skewing exceptionally well in the male demographic (see here // complete with NFL team logos), who use them to make a pot of chili, cheese dip or slow cook BBQ pulled chicken before kick off.
Did you know that sales of Crock-Pots (aka slow cookers) have DOUBLED in the past 15 years? I, too, was surprised. But observers claim the reason for the growth is the expanding interest in cooking among men. Still, as a government survey points out, the average American woman spends 48 minutes a day cooking and cleaning up in the kitchen. Another study, by Daniele Coen-Pirani, an economist at the University of Pittsburgh, discovered that "home appliances accounted for about 40 percent of the increase in work outside the home among married women" -- affording them not only the option, but funds to purchase, say a washer and dryer, rather than spending a large portion of their day with a washboard and clothespins.
Personally, I see the Crock-Pot only an advantage for working women, as well as stay-at-home moms and dads alike. It's a great way to cook an inexpensive cut of meat to moist perfection, create a healthy breakfast for the kids (or yourself) with overnight oatmeal or a healthy dessert to cap off an evening with friends. Opponents of the slow cooker feel as if it's simply another way to add more to a woman's plate -- arguing that if women had more time, they would simply be tasked with more work around the house. However, with an uptick in male consumers, it sounds as if the Crock-Pot is a universally loved kitchen tool.
Looking for Crock-Pot inspiration? Here are a few of my favorites:
Have a favorite slow cooker recipe? Share in the comment section below and share with other readers!