The slow cooker was invented & patented over 75 years ago by Irving Naxon. He wanted to cook cholent, a traditional bean stew eaten by Jews on the Sabbath. Since they were forbidden from cooking on the Sabbath, they would bring pots of the stew to a nearby bakery the day before, & the stew would cook slowly in the residual heat from the ovens. The “Naxon Beanery” invention was to make life easier for the Jewish housewife.
In the early 1970’s, Naxon sold his design to Rival Manufacturing, who marketed it as a Crock Pot. It was marketed toward working mothers who could put the food in the pot in the morning & come home to a warm, home-cooked meal.
With the increased use of a microwave in the 80’s, sales for slow cookers died down a little, but in the past 15 years sales have doubled. There are a few explanations for this. It is thought that more men cook, & they especially like to use a slow cooker when tailgating. Another idea is that it saves money, because inexpensive cuts of meat are easily cooked to tenderness. Nostalgia might also play a role in it’s popularity. Classic design appliances are now prized for their old-fashioned look & appeal. It is estimated that over 80% of households in the United States own a slow cooker.
I acquired my first Crock-pot in the early 70’s, not too long after I was married. I am thinking that it might have been a Christmas gift, but not really sure. Mine had the green exterior, with a glass lid, & the crock was not removable. (Making clean-up a little awkward sometimes.) It came with a recipe book, & I started trying them out. The only recipe from this book that I still use is the one for Vegetable-Beef Soup. Since my first Crock Pot only held 2 1/2 quarts, I could only make a single recipe. My present one holds twice that much, so I can make more soup. This is a favorite, & it is great to have some left-over. Besides that, this soup always tastes better on the second day! It cooks for 24 hours, so I put everything except the frozen vegetables in the cooker the evening before. I use beef shanks, as I found these to give the hardiest broth. In the morning I remove the beef, & add the vegetables. After the beef has cooled a little, I remove any fat & return it to the soup. By the time of your evening meal the soup will be ready. ENJOY!