Ever since I met the man of my dreams (insert mushy groans here) I have discovered my true love for cooking. Whether it's baking my family-famous apple pies and chocolate chip cookies, roasting a whole chicken, or sauteeing some scallops, I adore cooking. The smells, the textures and tastes, the presentation excites me. When I go to the store I examine an artichoke closely, inhale the bright scent of an orange, or lust after a large butternut squash.
As a result, I have become very attached to my cookware and preserving its longevity. We are not a high income household to where we can afford a new set of Calphalon every year, so we take care of what we have.
The one thing I loathe doing is cleaning my crock pot. As much as I adore its slow simmers, the flavors that drift in my kitchen and entice two little furry faces to stare at it for hours, I despise cleaning the thing. The monstrosity barely fits in my dishwasher, and we all know the result of when it does fit - there is always a line of film or some leftover concoction. Sure, I can shove it in my sink, but water ends up everywhere, soap on the floor, and my shirt soaked.
My sister in law (of all people! She avoids cooking at all costs) introduced me to these clever little things. Reynold's, the makers of the famous Reynold's wrap, introduced crock pot liners. Simply remove the liner from the box - about 10 come in a box for a few bucks - open them up almost like a trash bag, but a wee bit more gently, and mold them into the crock pot. Cook, empty, voila!
I was certain these little bags were too good to be true. The food wouldn't cook properly, the bag would stick/melt into the piece, the bag would explode when I tossed the remnants. Whatever. I gave it a shot anyway, because judging before results is not professional. The challenger: Ms Judgemental's secret spice turkey chili. My future spouse adores my chili, but cleaning the crock pot...again...
I placed the bag in, added the ingredients, set it on low for the same amount of time that I would cook the chili without the bag, and waited. The aroma flooded the house just as it always does, the dogs came scrambling in the same amount of time, and I checked the dinner as often as I always do. Once my time was up, I spooned out a heaping bowl and served it.
Now, I would love to tell you that fireworks exploded more than they typically do just because of these bags, but they didn't. K (the guy) inhaled my chili as fast as he always does, complimented me repeatedly as always, and Life went on. OK...let's try the cleanup.
That is when fireworks exploded and angels opened up the heavens, singing praises. The CP Gods smiled down on me. The bag simply lifted out of the crock pot with no begging or peeling required. The crock pot itself? White as it was when I pulled it from the cabinet. A simple wipe down with a damp rag, a pat dry, and all was well.
Bottom line: I'm going to go buy stock in Reynold's now.