It finally happened, the old gal had just been stuffed with one too many stews, briskets, chickens, and chilis. She started smelling like burned plastic and not heating enough, so I transferred her last meal, a White Chicken Chili with Root Vegetables (from The Food Matters Cookbook), to my big pasta pot. A pasta pot isn't quite the thing, because it's too tall to heat the food evenly, but it was the only one big enough to hold everything. (And yes, I know I should use the term "slow cooker" but I just like "crockpot" for its succinct cuteness.)
Since I'd been contemplating breaking up with the whole crockpot idea for a while, anyway, I was less than heartbroken. Callously, and without a proper mourning period, I Amazoned (sure, it can be verb) a nice big red 6-quart ceramic-lined cast iron Dutch oven. It's Lodge, not Le Creuset--what with college tuition approaching in eight years, and all that. Crockpots, while they're handy, aren't quite my style. For one thing, I don't like to smell food all day. Plus meat is much better seared first, and if you're going to do that you may as well use the same pan and braise everything in the oven. In the end, though, I just can't stand leaving that much food in a pot and then not being allowed to peek or fuss with it until almost the end. Just can't do it. Plus my new Dutch oven is much prettier than that big old ugly crockpot. See, I have no loyalty.
Even bigger and uglier than a crockpot is a bread machine. A couple years ago I broke up with the idea of a bread machine as a worthwhile investment, mainly because annoying little parts would break, and replacing them was mind-numbingly complicated. I'm sure I could give it a go again, but why? It's not hard to make bread without one.
Now I'm stuck with a bread machine that technically might work if anyone bothered to contact the company again about the basket problem, and how they sent the wrong replacement basket, and also a crockpot that has a little electrical problem. There's nothing wrong with the ceramic crock or lid. I refuse to throw this stuff away but I can't in good conscience drop them blithely off at Goodwill.
How do you liked being dragged into my mundane, banal ethical dilemma? Want to give me advice? Of course you do.