Someone gave me a slow cooker as a housewarming gift! I’ve never actually used one, but I think it might be good for soups. Some soups (especially those with barley) need to simmer for a very long time. I usually deal with this by using pre-made broths, but there is something really really nice about making a soup 100% from scratch. Well, as “from scratch” as you can get without growing any of the ingredients.
Sometimes I have trouble believing that a device which won’t even cause water to boil can cook food and make it safe to eat. This is a little bit silly of me. I know that most organisms can survive in only a very narrow range of temperatures, and the kind of bacteria which grow on meat are probably equipped to deal with standard body temperatures (36 C or 98.6 F). Slow cookers get well above this temperature, and they stay at high temperatures for hours (that’s the slow part). According to the USDA, meat should be cooked to an internal temperature of at least 165 F, so meat can be cooked safely in a slow cooker (that’s the generic name for a crock pot) even on “low.”
But man, it sure doesn’t feel that way.