Blast from a kitchen past
December 10, 2009
Chances are, if you grew up in the 1970s, your mum had one of these. And, if your mum was anything like mine, this clay crock pot languished at the back of a cupboard for most of that decade. After being carefully packed and unpacked, and moved from London to Scotland to Brighton to France, finally, 40 years after my mum first bought it, this one found its way back to London and my kitchen. Where it, ahem, languished on top of a cupboard for several years.
It was a major kitchen clear-out that eventually inspired me to use the pot. I couldn’t quite bring myself to throw the thing away, so I decided if I was going to keep it, I’d have to use it. A phone call to my mum and some intensive Googling, and it was clear that this could become my new favourite utensil. Although you can apparently cook pretty much anything – from potatoes to prawns – in it, I’ve only used it for chicken. And, I have to say, I now don’t roast a chicken any other way.
The pot is soaked in cold water for about 10 minutes before you put the chicken in, and the steam that this creates in the hot oven effectively poaches and roasts the meat at the same time. The result? The juiciest, most succulent roast chicken you’ll ever taste. (If I’ve tempted you at all, I think you can still buy these clay crocks in Habitat. I certainly recommend giving it a go.)
Isn’t it funny that, despite all those high-tech gadgets available to the home cook nowadays, the old ones seem to still do the job just as well – if not better? What things do you remember from your childhood kitchen?
UPDATE Some more research has led me to discover that this thing is actually called a chicken brick. And apparently Habitat first started selling them in 1966 – which must be about when my mum bought hers. Ooh, I have an antique in my kitchen.