I've always abhorred crock pots. No matter that I've never had one, I knew all I needed to know: that they symbolized the tethering of a woman to her kitchen.
As far as kitchen appliances go, they rank the lowest. Others, like the ice cream maker and the waffle iron, which mostly sit idly on the counter or forgotten in a drawer, at least serve a worthy purpose: pleasure. But then, there are others such as the electric mixer and the blender that are worth the counter space they consume. They do, actually, make kitchen life easier and more efficient, and that, I believe, is what we want our machines to accomplish.
Years ago, I wrote a story in which the female protagonist, upon being abandoned by her romantic companion, hurls the crockpot out her apartment window, where it hurtles through falling snow until it crashes into nowhere else but this man's unfortunately located parked car.
Back when I wrote that story, the character's actions represented my antipathy toward all things domestic. My vision of her flinging the crockpot solidified my rejection of, and resentment toward, what I felt was the inherent connection between domesticity and femininity. Why is it always women who are featured, smiling blissfully, in advertisements for home improvement and products? A kitchen appliance does not a happy woman make!
See, the problem with the crockpot is also its blessing: it allows one (male or female) to plan and construct a meal in advance of when one wants to consume it. Really, it alters the time at which one puts together said meal and in theory makes cooking easier. But what it also does is require a certain level of planning. You cannot simply look in the pantry when your belly starts to rumble and then decide to use the crockpot. No, you must find a recipe, stare at that recipe, decide what you do and do not already have, go shopping, follow the recipe, and then start the device with enough time for it to cook the food just slowly enough to be ready when you want it to be ready. A hassle, indeed.
But it turns out that it is a pleasant experience to have food ready when you want to eat it. I discovered this well-known fact just last week. There is something delightful about returning home to an actual dinner. It is almost as though you did not make this meal yourself--the veggies chopped themselves and the meat made its own marinade and everything hopped itself right into the pot in synchrony. The passage of time, of even just six hours, soothes the memory of the earlier labor, or at least it did for me, just this one time.
I think I will call my Chicken Tikka Masala dish a success. I found the recipe, purchased the ingredients, plopped all the pieces into the pot, left the device on (and did not burn down the house), and returned home to warm, edible food. Four days have passed since this momentous occasion, and though I have yet to actually scrub the pot (why is there not yet a device for that?), I remain at once gratified by the ease of using the device and bewildered by the strange sense of pleasure that using it inexplicably brought to me.