The slow cooker

Illustration by Cara Seccafien
Illustration by Cara Seccafien

A student’s BFF

By C J Sommerfeld, Contributor



Is it just me or did you absolutely freak out when the price of kitchen appliances became a reality? Didn’t moving out of your parents’ house seem so entirely exciting… until you entered the kitchen appliance aisle of the department store? A coffee maker costs how much!? You then make your way over to Value Village and, seriously? Since when was a used blender $19.99!?

You try to minimize what you need but, let’s face it, how great is life with a flattop grill, toaster, blender, Magic Bullet, baby bullet, Nutribullet, fufu machine, expresso machine, bread machine, popcorn maker, rice cooker—need I say more?  You think to yourself: I should have taken advantage of that panini press while I had the chance! And what about the waffle maker? Well I guess stovetop pancakes will have to do…

There must be an alternative to spending the entire designated living expenses portion of your student loan on kitchen appliances—and, lucky for you, there kind of is. Ladies and gentlemen, I may have a cure for your kitchen appliance woes.

Did you know that a slow cooker has many, many uses that span further than slowly heating a stew? Yes, I said it, this ornately decorated ceramic bowl can be used for a plethora of cooking means.

Let me share with you my top favorite use for the slow cooker: Popping popcorn.

Living in the golden age of Netflix what are us millennials supposed to do if there is no popcorn maker nor microwave in sight? That is not a problem if you own a slow cooker!

This single kitchen appliance will do! Simply lather the bottom and sides of your slow cooker with coconut oil, butter, salt, nutritional yeast, rosemary, ground ginger, cinnamon or whatever else your heart desires. The great thing about making popcorn like this is that you can have any absurd flavor that cannot be bought in bagged form at the supermarket.

Turn on your crockpot until you hear the butter or oil starting to lightly sizzle, then put a layer of popcorn kernels along the bottom—side note: You want each kernel to be coated in oil or butter since these are the agents which are transferring heat to the internal kernel. Put on the lid and wait for the explosions to begin. Now these might sound like a 33-rpm record version of the rapid gunshots in the microwave that you are used to hearing, but be patient as the greatest popcorn you will ever have is upon you.

A liberal approach to using a slow cooker will greatly expand the number of things that you are able to cook and, despite being on a broke student budget, allows you to be that chef that you’ve always dreamed of being: Homemade chai tea, enchiladas, fondue, fresh baked bread, at-home yoghurt, who would have known?

So… fondue party anyone?