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Need a substitute for my electric crockpot!

Miss Needle Nov 24, 2006 12:08 AM


I love my electric-powered slow cooker, but am looking for a gas-powered equivalent. Googling has been fruitless. I would like to switch to gas as it is a more natural source of power. Firstly, I believe that food tastes better when it's cooked via gas. And I also feel that imparts healthier "vital energy" or "qi" when cooking on gas.

So here are the options I'm toying with:

1. super flame tamer (not the cheap $3 ones) over the lowest flame burner.
2. blech (used for Shabbat purposes)

Which of these two techniques would better emulate a slow cooker? My goal is to put ingredients in the pot the night before so I can wake up to a nice hot bowl of soup, congee, etc. in the morning.

  1. paulj Nov 24, 2006 12:34 AM

    Coleman (camping gear) makes a propane powered slow cooker


    One disposable canister lasts from 5 to 10 hrs (high v low). I don't know if you can connect it to the larger refillable tank on your outdoor grill. They might also discourage use of this cooker inside.

    However, I will take issue with your ideas of gas being more 'natural', and food tasting better, especially for slow cooking. Gas gives better temperature control at high temperatures, but at low, slow heating rates, electricity gives better control.

    I don't know anything about this 'qi' - is that anything like carbon monoxide and other partially burned hydrocarbons? Do gas lights produce this same 'qi'?


    1. o
      Ozbyte Nov 24, 2006 01:13 AM

      What about a casserole dish in a moderate oven? Could even be gas, if you wish!

      1. Miss Needle Nov 24, 2006 01:26 AM

        "Qi is the intangible "life force" that exists all around us. It's present in foods, like the wok qi that you taste after a Chinese stir-fry has been made.

        Unfortunatley, my oven is electric while my stove is gas. If I put a casserole dish in my oven, electricity will be cooking my food. There have been studies done where they've watered plants with different sources of water: water that's been heated by wood fire, water heated by a gas source, water heated from an electric source, and then lastly microwaved water. Note that all the water has been cooled before the plants were watered. The plants that were watered with the wood-fired water fared were robust, healthy and strong. Next as the gas water. The electric water didn't do too well, and the microwaved-water plants were really deformed.

        As I live in an apartment building, I do not have a wood-fired oven -- though it's one of the first things I want to build (or have built for me) when I move to a house. And because I live in buildling, I think the camp stove would be a bit inappropriate. Actually , in my last apartment where the stove was electric, I did have one of those canister-fired ranges until my roomate freaked out about the fire hazzard.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Miss Needle
          k_d Nov 24, 2006 05:53 PM

          I believe the Chinese term is "wok hay" - qi being a term used mainly to describe whatever "energy" means.

          Wok hay is the fragrance that a well-seasoned wok acquires.

          And fire hazard would be the least of your worries. You need to worry about carbon monoxide, a much more common indoor toxin when burning any hydrocarbon. Very natural, yes. But very naturally deadly.

          1. re: Miss Needle
            Evan Nov 24, 2006 07:59 PM

            The study you mention is discussed here at Snopes:

          2. paulj Nov 24, 2006 05:27 AM

            Some cereals can be cooked by bringing them to a full boil the night before, and letting them sit overnight. They would still need warming in the morning. A cozy might help keep them warm.

            1. Will Owen Nov 24, 2006 07:39 AM

              The only device I know of that's like what you're looking for is the "cooking well" that some gas (and electric) ranges had in the '40s and '50s. My grandma's first real range had one of these, and I saw a very fine Chambers gas range for sale some years ago with a beautifully-designed temperature control system for its large built-in pot.

              A good heavy enameled cast-iron pot on an iron flame-tamer would appear to be your best bet in the short term. I will refrain from any further suggestions, as they might be considered insulting to your no doubt sincere beliefs, and would certainly be off-topic.

              1. k
                KRS Nov 24, 2006 12:43 PM

                I think the Le Creuset Doufeu is what you want. http://www.lecreuset.com/usa/products/guide.php?category_id=140 It's even heavier than their standard weight and is made for the stovetop. It has an indented flat top into which you pour about a quart of water, which keeps the temperature at 212 F.

                I just finished a big batch of 24-hour onion confit in mine, and it will get plenty of braising use this winter.

                It's not cheap, but the LC outlet stores usually have some at a good discount. See also http://www.amazon.com/Creuset-4-Quart...

                1. Miss Needle Nov 24, 2006 01:06 PM

                  Thanks for your suggestions. In regards to the Doufeau, it seems that it only comes in incredibly large sizes. I'm looking for something about 2 quarts.

                  What do you guys think about a double boiler? Would I be able to use it overnight?

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Miss Needle
                    paulj Nov 24, 2006 04:34 PM

                    It may be hard to get the flame just right. Too high and the water will boil away when used overnight. Too low and there won't be enough heat transfer to the food. You might just have to experiment with this during the day.

                  2. m
                    MakingSense Nov 24, 2006 04:04 PM

                    What is your electricity made from? In some sections of the country it's generated ising natural gas...
                    Or from a grid that includes some power from natural gas sources... Or coal, or water..

                    For purposes of your religious faith, you could make your cereal before sundown and place it in a high quality thermos. The next time you purchase appliances, look for the shabbat functions that many new ones have. My new oven has it.

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