Saturday, July 23, 2016

I wish I hadn't thrown away my old slow cookers

Remember when you could put a roast in the slow cooker in the morning and come home to supper, ready and waiting?  Or when you could cook a pot of beans overnight in the slow cooker and when you got up next morning, they were done?  Try leaving a nice pork roast in one of the newer Crock Pots now and it'll be dry and overcooked after a full day, rather than falling-apart tender.  These days, whether you use the "high" or "low" setting doesn't matter:  The contents will be bubbling and boiling like crazy.  Whatever happened to "simmer"?

Yesterday I researched this problem, and found out that "somebody" decided the older slow cookers didn't keep temperatures hot enough to destroy bacteria, so now they all boil like a witch's brew, no matter what setting you use.  Just google "crock pot cooks too hot on low" or anything similar, and you'll find the same answer.  HERE is what I learned.  HERE is a link to a forum discussion about the problem.

Unless:  you spend a larger wad of money on a programable slow cooker, but reading reviews on Amazon, I'm not sure I want to invest more money just to end up with the same, or a worse, problem.  Even their highest-rated slow cookers, with 4 1/2 stars out of five, have dissenters who are unhappy with either the temperature or something else, like the glass lid breaking while something is cooking and raining glass pieces into the food.


I've found several articles explaining the new "hotter" crock pots and recommending programable ones, but when I go to Amazon to check out what people are saying after they purchased some of those, it scares me.  One model with high ratings has a lot of people saying it only worked four or five times, then stopped working.  How does it get such high ratings if that happens all the time?  

Why do people always have to fix something that isn't broken?  We used crock pots for years before the changes, and I personally don't know anyone who got food poisoning from the things they ate at church dinners or family holiday meals.


Friday, July 22, 2016

Diaries burned to ashes

A Facebook friend and I had an online discussion about our old diaries a couple of months ago; we agreed that we'd be better off getting rid of the diaries.  It wasn't so much that I was ashamed of the contents of the books, it's just that I'm not that person any more, and reading some of the trite things I had put in those various-sized journals embarrassed me.  I decided I would burn my diaries on the next full moon, and I swore to myself I wouldn't save anything.  

On June 20 at 4 A.M., I took my portable Amazon Tap to the back yard and got it playing Native American music, flutes playing softly and drums beating.  I then carried my armload of written works out.  Oh, there were some valuable things memory-wise, stories of things the grandchildren said when they were small, letters and kind notes and letters from friends and relatives, back when I was more gregarious and actually interacted with people.  Some of my fancier journals had pictures, greeting cards, and all kinds of mementoes taped and pasted inside, but I was relentless.  Whole books don't always burn very well, so I tore handfuls of pages out at a time and tossed them on the fire, making sure they burned to ashes.  In the light of the full moon, and by the light of the fire, I saw a few things that made me want to stop and pull them out, but I resisted temptation for the most part.  My daughter, for instance, had obviously spent lots of time and considerable money buying the most appropriate birthday and Mother's Day cards you can imagine.  At my age, it seems useless to keep stuff that people will have to sort through when I'm gone.  But seeing all those cards in the light of the moon as I burned them reminded me of a daughter's thoughtfulness.   

I burned until I was sick of sitting in the smoke coughing and then burned some more, but as the sun was coming up, I still had four diaries left.  I resolved to save them for the next full moon, which was last Tuesday.  This time I allowed myself to go through the pages and pull out a few pictures, but the remaining diaries were burned.  The deed is done, and I don't really feel a great loss.

My daughter wishes I hadn't done this, but as I told her, none of those writings represented who I am now.  Many of the lines I wrote seemed trite and self-centered.  Sometimes I ventured into criticizing individuals for one thing or another, and who wants that left behind them?  Also, many of my core beliefs and ideals have changed.  

It might not have been so easy to burn all those memories except for the fact that I've been journaling online since 2004.  Because this has been done in the public eye, I censored myself a lot; at this point in life, I feel that's a good thing.  I kept a lot of my personal feelings and beliefs unspoken, but I told many, many stories of my childhood, and even included my mom's "biography" in installments, at one point.  I certainly shared hundreds of pictures and stories of day-to-day activities in my online diary, things I had never bothered to write about in my old hand-written journals.  My two online blogs, as far as I'm concerned, will be here for my children and grandchildren long after I'm gone.  I like to surf through these entries and relive our motorcycle period, my horse-riding times, our antique-tractor-show travels, and all the other adventurous chapters of my life.  I have told many stories of my childhood in this blog.  I believe this is a much better sort of keepsake than those trite little jottings in the now-burned-to-ashes diaries.

So there you have it.