Thursday, October 9, 2014

In Praise of Appliances by Kristine Rolofson

     As we all know, one of the dreaded questions we receive as writers is, “Where do you get your ideas?”
     I usually smile and mumble something about loving to eavesdrop, which seems to satisfy just about everyone.
     Another one I dread is, “Where did you go to college?”  Followed quickly by,      “What did you study?”
     My answer:  I didn’t go to college.  Well, I went for thirty days and then I dropped out because I was only seventeen and didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life except read Jane Austen and play my guitar.  Oh, and then a year later I married my high school history teacher and I never thought about being a writer until I was thirty, with three kids, living on the side of a mountain.  Next question?”
     The question I wait for, yearn for, is “How did you become a writer?”
     That’s right.  How did I become a writer.  Great question, thank you.
     And then I get to talk about crock pots.
     Or “slow cookers”, as they are called now.
     I don’t know how anyone lives without one.  Or two.  I own seven.
     And I will preach about the merits of crock pots/slow cookers with the gusto of a television evangelist. 
     You want to be a writer?  Get up very, very early.  Before the children, before the husband, before going to work, before the sun.  Put in your time.  Later, while dealing with your little ones, put dinner in the crock pot.  While the children are napping you can write again and, because dinner is cooking all day, you can sneak in more writing time when the kids are watching Sesame Street.
     You want to be a writer?  As soon as the children are on the school bus, put dinner in the crock pot.  Then you have the whole day to write.  And in the afternoons, when you are driving to dance lessons and football practices and soccer games, you know dinner will be ready when you get all those sweaty kids home.
     You want to be a writer and still have friends?  You need to entertain despite deadlines and bouts of hysteria, self-pity and isolation? 
     Crock pot.
     You want to be a writer and your husband is actually home all day and you need to write and he needs a low-cholesterol diet and you can’t stand his cooking?
     Crock pot.  I call it a preemptive move, having an actually edible lentil stew cooking at nine a.m.
     Vegetarian?  Even easier.  The ingredients can be dumped into the crock pot the night before (whoever invented bags of frozen chopped onions, thank you), along with beans or whatever you’re into, and refrigerated in the crock pot container until morning.  Then it can be plopped into its base and turned on, with stew ready for lunchtime.
     I don’t know how busy people live without using a slow cooker.  My bachelor son loves his.  My daughter-in-law is beginning to see its merits.  My older son used his once and threw it out, but he did not inherit his mother’s patience or love of cooking, and I suspect he had a defective crock pot and didn’t know it.
I’ve heard there are slow cookers that are programmed to be operated with an I-phone app.  There are large ones and small ones and little ones to take to work to guarantee a hot lunch.  There are programmable ones and ones made for travelling, with clasps to hold the lid on tight.
     I have a fish chowder in my 7-quart crock pot right now, because I have a story to finish by Friday and company staying with me at the lake, plus neighbors coming to dinner in about four hours. 
     Next time I may blog about my Keurig, another beloved appliance...
 
     Until then, how did you become a writer?


29 comments:


  1. I really need to use my crock pot more!
    It's 5:37 and I'm up because I have a book due, a book that will be late. This is the first time in 26 books that I've asked for a 'real' extension. Usually, I just email and say I need three more days. This time, I need three more weeks.
    And I blame the kitchen where my crockpot should be. We're doing a remodel. White dust is everywhere. My kitchen stuff is everywhere. Yesterday I picked up a box from the kitchen table and realized that whoever had moved the counter over to the kitchen table had tilted a full and uncapped bottle of dish soap. It was gopped everywhere and on things. It took me an hour to clean. My kitchen has stolen my writing hours and I want to cry.

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    1. Oh, man...been there, done that, and I can't believe we're still married! Soon it will be beautiful, really.

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    2. I recommend tequila. Not necessarily in the crock pot, but in an ice-filled glass topped with orange soda.

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    3. Oh, Pam. I'm sorry. Go with Kristine's suggestion.

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    4. I don't drink - except milk and soda. I'm heading for the chocolate

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  2. I'm like Pam--I need to use my crock pot more, although I only have three. :-) I loved this post and can't wait to hear about your Keurig--I love mine, too.

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    1. I adore my Keurig, just wish it were easier to spell.

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  3. Replies
    1. I used my Staples rewards coupons and bought my Keurig there. The office models have less plastic and are built to last longer. Also, around the holidays, Staples might bundle the Keurig with some free coffee pods.

      (OMG--do I sound like Martha Stewart??)

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  4. I love this post!! I just had a crock pot meal with my husband last night. Isn't it the best invention EVER??!! It's right up there with my other favorites: my heated blanket, electric tea kettle, my cat's litter locker, and air conditioning, just to name a few. I'm always singing the praises of my slow cooker and just convinced my daughter and sister to buy one. I send them pictures of my before and after meals. One of my best friends swaps recipes with me. Mine is the simplest one you can buy, just about $10.00 from Target, and it gets the job done awesomely. I'm not a writer so I can't answer your question, but maybe some day hopefully. Until then I'll keep enjoying everyone's wonderful books.

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    1. Crock pots give you more time to read more books, Laurie!

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    2. Laurie - important thing to remember - you may not be a published author, but YOU ARE A WRITER! Know that in your head. It can make the difference.

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    3. Thanks so much for that Muriel. When I seriously decide to give writing a shot, I will remember your words of encouragement. : )

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    4. My next modern indulgence is going to be an electric blanket. :)

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    5. You'll love it so much you'll want to kick yourself for all the time you went without one!!

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  5. An excellent post. Love to start the day with a laugh.My writing started when my in-laws came up from Florida every May and stayed with us through September. I’d escape to our trailer in the back yard with the electric typewriter – pre computer – and spend the day with instructions that no one was to bother me unless the house was on fire. When I got my divorce, I asked for my crockpot. Reluctantly, my soon to be ex gave it to me – and it’s been in the back cupboard unused for the past 5 years.

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    1. Marion, I remember those days! I borrowed a typewriter (non electric) from one of my best friends and typed my first ms. on yellow legal paper. When I used a sister-in-law's electric typewriter while on vacation I thought I'd died and gone to heaven.
      Do you know you can make desserts in the crock pot? I'm going to try peach cobbler...

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  6. Kristine, love this post so much! I, too, am a crock pot lover. I don't know how anyone lives without one (or three). I made beans and ham in mine last weekend. And you nailed it about writing--I think you just figure it how to make the time. And I'm so very happy you make the time because I love your books! Good luck with your deadline and enjoy your company.

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    1. Company leaves in 4.5 hours!
      Thanks for the good wishes. Ham and beans sounds great. One of the best things about winter is having some comfort food in the crockpot.

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  7. Kristine, I love your post. I have a crockpot I haven't used in a long time. One of my critique partners always uses hers when we meet there. I'll have to find mine again and the recipe books. As for the Keurig I'm not sure. I was just at a family wedding and the hotel had a Keurig in every room. My sis and I stayed together. She isn't anyone you speak to until she's had her morning coffee. So I'd get up and try to work the dang thing. It had instructions down the side, but that didn't help. The first morning I got mad and slammed the lid down a 3rd time and lo and behold---it made coffee. The next few mornings I ran down to the breakfast bar and got her coffee. Could have been defective like your son's crockpot.

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    1. I gave a baby shower recently and set up a Keurig coffee bar, with about a dozen different coffees and teas available. Most of the women had never used a Keurig before, so I was able to enlighten them, one cup at a time. They loved it!

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  8. Kristine - I had time to write because my husband loves to cook, and is much better at it than I am. Generally, I'm against anything that makes it easy to cook. The darn microwave negates the excuse, "I forgot to take anything out of the freezer!" A friend upgraded her Keurig and gave us her old one. It's wonderful! One day, when my stove fainted, I even put a teabag in the Keurig and it made great tea! As long as someone else can cook, I can write.

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    1. When your stove fainted. LOL! That's funny. :D

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  9. All hail the crock pot!! LOVE mine--all three of them, LOL. And I can't wait for the winter months to start my soup making (I have a killer brisket I do as well). Comes in especially handy come deadline time . Fun post, Kristine, thanks so much! I'll have to start looking through my recipes.

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  10. Love my crockpot and my Kerug!! Now I don't have to make a pot of coffee for one person...I can make one whenever I feel the need. ..like right now.

    As for how I became a writer? These people came to live in my head and they wouldn't go away until I told their story. I was 35 and didn't think things like that happened. So glad I was wrong! Great post.

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  11. What a great post! And what a perfect answer!

    For me, it's the lap top. I clatter away on it in the kitchen while I'm waiting for something to brown on the stove, in my bedroom while my husband snores next to me, in the living room while my son draws pictures, at the gym while my son is in his karate class... I carry it to the library, and pretty much anywhere I can get a few minutes in the write. I love modern technology!

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  12. Great post, Kristine, and so true! I'm only on my 2nd book but I never used my crock pot as much as when I began writing under contract with book 1. What a life saver! The other time saver for me because it cooks things so quickly is a pressure cooker. I can't live without mine.

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  13. Oh, I forgot to add that, just last night on HGTV, a crock pot was used to 'cook' paint off kitchen hardware during an old house restoration. Ahhhh the many uses! Now if only I could toss some plot ideas into one and let them stew....

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