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Disintegrating Crock Pot

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We bought our first slow cooker, a Rival Crock Pot, a couple of years ago. I got some great recommendations for cookbooks here on chowhound (Slow Cooker Ready and Waiting, and Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook, both are excellent). We love the thing and have been happily slow cooking every since. The problem is, the plastic handles and knobs on the Crock Pot have simply disintegrated -- I think because they are brittle plastic which gets more brittle with heat and time. At this point we use a pair of pliers to lift the lid and turn the temperature switch, and the side handles are going.

It's not a big deal to replace it, at a half price sale at Macy's I think I paid $15 for it. But I hate the idea of disposable appliances. Yet browsing through reviews of the expensive machines (Kitchen Aid, Cuisineart, All Clad) it seems like people experience the same problems with those. I get the feeling that expensive slow cookers are something of a boondoggle, it's really a very simple machine. But I'm wondering whether others here have had the same problem, or hopefully recommendations for models that last longer. Is there any particular difference among the less expensive brands like Hamilton Beach, Aroma, West Bend? Any comments on "programmable" models? I look at 'em a little squirrely, seems like another thing to break. Do they work well and last long?

Thanks!

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  1. There was a recall on these because of the disintegrating handles. I think they'll send you a new crockpot base. Here's a link: http://www.rivalrecall.com/

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    1. re: hinterclan

      The model I have is one of the ones involved in the recall (Model 3040) but I bought it in 2005 and the recall is only for units bought between 1999 and 2004. Thank you for the information though, I wasn't aware of the recall. It's odd because the machine I have seems to be having the same problem as the recalled units.

    2. I hope yours is covered by the recall hinterclan mentioned. I have my Mom's Rival slow cooker/deep fryer and its handles are fine. You take the stoneware insert out for deep frying, but then its used at much higher temperatures then for slow cooking. She also used for several years at her church's annual Soup & Salad Luncheon, so you know it got a lot of use & abuse before I ever got it.