Nothing Personal, Jeff
WE RECENTLY SAW A PROGRAM on TV listing what the creators of the show decided were the 100 Most Important Inventions in History It was interesting, although I think that some of their inventions would more likely fall under the heading of discoveries rather than inventions – such as Nuclear Energy and Fire. But they never consulted with us about any of this so – Na, Na, Na, Na Boo, Boo. The show is over and Basic Cable remains the same.
The only reason I bring this up at all is that I think that, in their efforts to sound erudite and High-Techie Nerdo-Hipster, they have omitted one true invention that has changed our lives in a significant and earthshaking Physio-Ecomomic-Gastro-Enviro sort of way. (By “Our” lives I really mean Dawn and myself. I can’t speak for the rest of you.)
I know that there have been lower-tech versions of this over time i.e. the Dutch Oven and your basic Hole in the Ground with Hot Coals, but to compare those with the real thing – the Crock Pot, would be like comparing Jeff Bridges to an actual Actor, or Long John Silver’s fast food shops to actual Seafood Restaurants. Such a comparison doesn’t work.
Both the Dutch Oven and the Hole in the Ground required some level of human monitoring. Failure to keep an eye on them and you either burn down the house along with dinner or your Fire Pit turns into a funeral pyre cremating the camel that was going to be supper for the tribe and probably also the last stop for the poor schlemiel who had just one job and failed miserably.
The beloved Crock Pot doesn’t need such eyeballing. In fact, it doesn’t even want you anywhere nearby. It urges you to go out and play tennis, go for a hike in the woods, or go back to school and get that Masters Degree, while it cooks dinner. What a sweet deal – Self-betterment and a pork roast.
The Crock Pot is the perfect invention for our Time. We are all too often running about from place to place – pick up the kids, drop off the kids, remember to pick them up again after a visit to your pharmacist. Who’s got time to fix a family meal? Nobody I know. With the invention of the Crock Pot cooking our dinner at low heat during the day took the high heat off of us as we skitter about.
Over coffee in the morning we put the ingredients into the Crock Pot, set the time and temp and when we get home – BINGO – The lasagna is ready.
I must confess that these days I work a lot at home and my wife, the lovely and ministerially dutiful, Dawn, has her day split between home, the church and wherever pastoral care takes her. So, while I am home a lot, I would classify myself as equally qualified to cook dinner as that poor yutz who had to keep the tribe’s camel roast from imploding. I just let the Crock Pot do its thing while I write stuff like this and bring in the mail.
That TV show I mentioned at the beginning about the 100 best inventions in history? Well, Dawn and I watched it while we were enjoying our Crock Pot Chicken and Dumplings. Sadly, since none of the people on the show thought to include the Crock Pot on their list, we logically assumed that, after they finished recording it, they all went home alone, opened a past “Best used by” dated can of Spaghetti-os and sat down in the dark to watch a Jeff Bridges movie. Nothing personal, Jeff, but you ain’t Elvis.