I had to buy a new Crock-Pot a few weeks ago to replace the one we got for our wedding back in 2001. I wasn’t happy about replacing it. I’m a sentimental person, and, although it was ugly and limited in function (one dial: low or high), it had served me well for almost two decades. And I’m one who rewards good behavior with my undying loyalty, not a toss into the trash bin.
However, the last time I went to cook something in it, the Crock-Pot’s exterior felt more burning hot than normal, which doesn’t seem like a good quality for an appliance to have. And as a devoted watcher of NBC’s “This Is Us,” I know one thing for sure: Crock-Pots kill people. So the old one had to go.
Before giving it the heave-ho, I turned to my daughter, Jane. Meticulously organized and hyper-motivated, Jane has read both of Marie Kondo’s books on decluttering and gone through every inch of her bedroom to get rid of unnecessary items. She’s sentimental like me, but – as a Kondo disciple – knows how to give something the boot when the time has come.
“Can you remind me what the Kondo method is for saying goodbye to something special?” I asked Jane shortly after unplugging the slow-cooker robot that was now trying to kill me.
“You hold it in both hands, thank it for all that it’s done for you and then gently place it in the pile of things that need to go,” she replied.
I cradled the Crock-Pot in my hands and thought of the many meals it had provided for us over the years. Sooo much taco soup when we were newlyweds. Quadruple batches of chili when we maxed out at six kids. Busy school nights, Sundays after church, holiday parties requiring hot wassail or barbecue little smokies or whatever – the Crock-Pot had seen me through it all.
“Thank you for helping me all these years,” I said, stroking its stained exterior and fiddling with its sad little dial. “You’ve been there from the beginning, and you have never let me down. I appreciate everything you’ve done.”
“I want to burn your house down,” the Crock-Pot replied. I narrowed my eyes and pursed my lips. “All right, you’re outta here,” I said, carrying it out of the kitchen and setting it down in the garage.
Its replacement is a sleek, new slow cooker from Costco, a $49.99 number that half the country probably also has in their kitchen. There’s no character to it. No quirks. I want to hate it, but it really is so convenient.
It has a lid that clamps down so you don’t have to worry about spilling an entire batch of sweet-and-sour meatballs onto the floor of your car on the way to a party. It has a digital screen that allows you to set the cook time and then just keep the food warm until you’re ready to eat. So accommodating! Wedding Gift Crock-Pot couldn’t do any of that!
This weekend, Logan and I are celebrating 18 years of marriage. That might seem like an impressively high number to some and like a mere drop in the bucket to others. For me, it feels like a lifetime ago that we were sitting on the floor of his mother’s living room gleefully tearing the wrapping paper off countless wedding gifts, including our beloved Crock-Pot.
We cobbled those presents together and used every last penny that was gifted to us to set up our first home together, a tiny, freezing apartment in a historic building on the South Hill. We were in newlywed heaven. Graduate degrees, homes, children, jobs, struggle and joy have come into our lives since then. I had no idea what I was getting myself into back in 2001, but it’s a leap of faith I’ll never regret making.
So the Crock-Pot can go. It was a pleasant reminder of happy times and a full life, but, thankfully for me, I’m still in the thick of those things with hopefully many more years of memories to come. The wedding gifts might be failing, but Logan and I are in this forever.
Julia Ditto shares her life with her husband, six children and a random menagerie of farm animals in Spokane Valley. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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