I live in a dorm, and the on-campus food is ungodly expensive. I decided it was time to take control of what I'm eating and bought this slow cooker.
Size: 5 quarts is very large for one or two people, but it's great for fixing huge batches of stuff to freeze and use later. I'd recommend this size more for a family, but if you have room for leftovers, it could work for you.
Operation: Keep Warm, Low, High, Off. There's nothing fancy here and no timers, so you will need to be around to switch to "Keep Warm" when your stuff is done cooking. It's so easy a monkey could do it.
Style: The lovely robin's egg blue I got mine in at my brick and mortar Walmart isn't available online it seems, which is a shame, because I adore the color. The other colors I saw that were available were lovely as well. The ceramic insert is plain white (black on some models) and will go with anything on your table.
Quality: The rubber gasket on the bottom of the lid makes me a little nervous. I'm used to my mother's slow cooker lid that settles in nicely no matter how you put it on, but the rubber on this one's lid grips the ceramic insert so you have to make sure it goes on right or steam will escape. That said, it's not too hard to put it on right. It heats nicely. Like all newer slow cookers, it cooks much hotter than older ones, so if you have older recipes, you may want to pay attention the first few times you cook so your meat won't dry out. The build quality is nice, and the giant rubber band that was supplied for moving the cooker with the lid on is surprisingly durable feeling and does its job - no spills during transport yet!
Value: Between slow cooking being a traditional way of using cheap cuts of meat and this cooker costing less than a meal for four at McGreasy's, you'll make back money super fast. Did I mention it's convenient? Time is money, and the meals I've prepared so far in this have taken about 15 minutes, tops, to prepare in the morning, and they're ready to eat by suppertime.
Final word: If you work away from the house all day, you might want to look into a programmable slow cooker instead. Otherwise, this is the perfect choice for students, work-at-home employees, and stay-at-home parents.
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