Slow cookers were first introduced in the 1950s, instantly marrying hot ham slices with pineapple rings, Salisbury steak with mushrooms and pot roast with just about anything still fresh in the icebox.
In the 1970s, Crock-Pots became the coveted set-it-and-forget-it cooker – especially for working women with families who were too tired to fry up the bacon. Instead, they were able to start dinner before work and have it completely ready to go when they got home.
Crock-Pots cornered the market on countertop cooking appliances for decades. They became the heart of the Packers’ party, the steamy home of Sloppy Joe himself. Chili, meatballs, dips and stews were never the same.
And then 2017 rolled around and everyone got Instant Pots for Christmas.
"I love our Insta Pot. It makes everything super easy," says Ken Sumka. "We just made hard-boiled eggs for the kids yesterday. I have never been good at making hard-boiled eggs, but the Insta Pot makes it easy and foolproof."
I appreciate the quick and easy aspects of Instant Pots, specially considering most of my meals are prepared in under 10 minutes. (Hey, I like sandwiches). But when I pull out the Crock-Pot, I’m 100 percent in for the entire Crock-Pot experience.
I like the early morning prep – it reminds me of Thanksgiving without bad Hallmark movies. (Sorry, Matt.) I dig the waiting, the anticipation. I appreciate the four-button simplicity of the gadget, and most of all, I love the taste that is accomplished only when cooked, say it with me, slow and low.
"We have a Crock-Pot only and we don’t want an Instant Pot because the flavor is not the same. Slow and low. Just like grandma would do," says Al Oldham.
Granted, some Instant Pots double as slow-cookers – as well as rice steamers and yogurt makers and vegetable sauté-ers. And maybe if I didn’t already have two Crock-Pots that I adore and felt like spending $60 or $80 or $100 on a new appliance that I don’t really have the room for in my butter stick-sized kitchen, maybe – just maybe – I’d get one. Maybe.
So which team are you on?
Molly Snyder grew up on Milwaukee's East Side and today, she lives in the Walker's Point neighborhood with her partner and two sons.
As a full time senior writer, editorial manager and self-described experience junkie, Molly has written thousands of articles about Milwaukee (and a few about New Orleans, Detroit, Indianapolis, Boston and various vacation spots in Wisconsin) that range in subject from where to get the best cup of coffee to an in-depth profile on the survivors of the iconic Norman apartment building that burned down in the '90s.
She also once got a colonic just to report on it, but that's enough on that.
Always told she had a "radio voice," Molly found herself as a regular contributor on FM102, 97WMYX and 1130WISN with her childhood radio favorite, Gene Mueller.
Molly's poetry, essays and articles appeared in many publications including USA Today, The Writer, The Sun Magazine and more. She has a collection of poetry, "Topless," and is slowly writing a memoir.
In 2009, Molly won a Milwaukee Press Club Award. She served as the Narrator / writer-in-residence at the Pfister Hotel from 2013-2014. She is also a story slam-winning storyteller who has performed with The Moth, Ex Fabula and Risk!
When she's not writing, interviewing or mom-ing, Molly teaches tarot card classes, gardens, sits in bars drinking Miller products and dreams of being in a punk band again.