Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Passive-Aggressive Crock Pot

Many people know and love my mother dearly, so I am wary of saying a word against her. I am only hazarding it here because I am fairly certain that she is not going to suddenly become independently web-savvy and find this blog. (Although now that Oprah is twittering, anything is possible.) I may be overly sensitive, misinterpreting innocent concern and generosity for something deeper, darker and masterfully manipulative.

Mom: I bought you a Crock Pot
Me: [Why?]
Me, aloud: Thanks!

Mom: I saw this great thing on Good Morning America where they used a Crock Pot to make dinner for a week for $5.
Me: [Don't watch that show anymore.]
Me, aloud: That's great.

Mom: Vons has a special this week on pork roast. It would be great in the Crock Pot. I'll leave you a coupon.
Me: [We are OK financially, really.]
Me, aloud: Wow, that is a deal. If I get to Vons, I'll definitely check it out.

Mom: What's really great about the Crock Pot is that you just put the stuff in, and dinner is ready when you come home. You have such busy days, it would be so nice not to have to scramble to make dinner at the last minute.
Me: [I like working hard. It's what I do. ]
Me, aloud: I'm not really a morning person, but it sounds like something a morning person would just love.

Mom: Surprise! I bought you some beef, an onion, a slow cooker cookbook, and some broccoli. Then I arranged them artfully in your Crock Pot! It's just like on Chopped!
Me: [What the ???]
Me, aloud: I think on Chopped they only have 30 minutes. I've never seen the 10 hour show, but this will sure be great practice.
Note: My daughter felt the challenge was too easy, and added a jar of mayonnaise to the items in the Crock Pot. I froze the beef, put the mayo back in the fridge, and used the broccoli and onion in a stir fry after my mom went home.

Mom: I think the kids would love dinner from the Crock Pot. They would probably even eat the vegetables.
Me: [I know they are nutritionally deprived, but I don't think stewed carrots are the answer.]
Husband, aloud: Grandma, there's no way they'd eat that.
Mom: I don't think he's a Crock Pot person. Never mind. Let's forget it.
Me: [How does he do that so easily?]
Me, aloud: Are you kidding, Mom? They'll love it. I'll make something tomorrow.
Me: [@%/*&!#]

You want to know the worst thing? She was right. That Crock Pot is a miracle worker. But the beef she bought me is still in the freezer.

Crock Pot Carnitas

by Sharon Graves
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 hours
  • 4 lb. boneless pork shoulder roast
  • olive oil, for searing
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. jerk seasoning
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. coriander
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 c. chicken stock
  • 1 bottle of beer
In large skillet, heat olive oil over medium high heat.

Cut pork roast into 3-4 large pieces. Combine the dry spices together, except the bay leaves. Rub 1/2 the mixture all over the meat. Add to skillet, and sear pork on all sides until nicely browned. Remove from skillet and sprinkle with remaining spice mixture.

Put the bay leaves on the bottom of the Crock Pot, then place the pork on top. Gently pour the stock and the beer around the meat, trying not to rinse off the spices. Cook on low for 8-10 hours, until you can easily pull the pork apart with a fork.

Remove from the crock pot, and gently pull apart the meat on a platter. Get your skillet and olive oil out again. Add enough olive oil to the skillet to coat the bottom. Heat over medium high heat. Working in batches, add pork to the skillet for a few minutes, just to give it those nice crispy bits.

Serve with warm tortillas, salsa, guacamole, sour cream...whatever you like. Or use in enchiladas. Or burritos. Or just eat it right out of the pan.

* They had a special on pork shoulder (yes, I saved big $$ on this meal), but it wasn't boneless. It was really easy to take the bone out myself.
** I used a hickory smoked salt. You can probably use seasoned salt or anything else you like.


  1. Does your mom own stock in Crock Pot, Inc.? Because I'm thinking there's some sort of profit incentive here. To be fair, my boyfriend just asked if I owned a Crock Pot - that would be a no, for the same reasons you had - but after reading this post I've decided to give the lowly, unglamorous Crock Pot another chance. Points for your mom!

  2. Moms do know best. Irritating though it may be! Enjoy your Crock Pot!

  3. I heard this story from the other side, and it was just as funny (because I live far enough away that I didn't have to get directly involved - or eat any leftovers). I do have a Crock Pot (much to Mom's delight) so I might re-think that leftover issue with your recipe...