Slow cookers are back. It figures, the economy is bad and slow cooking makes savory, inexpensive food.
The idea has been around a long time. In the 1890s through the early 1900s, a little item called a fireless cooker was developed which slow cooked food on residual heat. Super-insulated boxes with tight-fitting insulated tops could hold a pot of food heated to boiling for many hours allowing the food to finish cooking. When homemakers had to buy fuel specifically for cooking, when heat for cooking was not a by-product of warming a house, people paid attention to the costs of cooking a meal. Some cook books of the era reveal this concern.
Fireless cookers had their time in the sun, then faded away.
In 1971, Rival Company introduced the crock pot based on a product developed by a company which they had purchased. Crock pots cooked slowly all day, too, a boon during the economic turn-down of the 1970s, and a help to women who were joining the workforce in ever-increasing numbers. During the more prosperous 1980s and 1990s, they acquired a dowdy reputation, and crock pots were cheap at yard sales.
So our economy has turned down again, women are employed at higher numbers than men, and "slow cookers" which sound classier than crock pots, are program-able to save electricity.
I can't wait to see the next iteration.