I am guilty of this: using a brand name to refer to an object.
The name of this website was inspired, in part, by this phenomenon. I started this site not knowing that there was a difference. I always refer to my “slow cooker” as my “crockpot” but never really put a lot of thought into why I did that. Then I decided to start this site. Excited to get the ball rolling on building my website, I did not know if I was legally allowed to use the term “crockpot” in my brand name since Crock-Pot is branded already. So I eagerly dismissed that term as an option and went with the slow cooker approach instead so I could get the site started sooner rather than later. By the time I wrote this article, I was already attached to my title, as it represented the very first website I built. And I am kind of a sentimental sap sometimes. So it is The Slow Cooker Life for me! Get it? 😉
Looking back on it, I probably could have just done a quick Google search to learn whether I could use crockpot in website title. But I don’t want to dwell on the coulda shoulda wouldas when I have such a finely titled website right here. And had I done the search before building this site, this article may have never come to be. Life works in mysterious ways sometimes!
What is a slow cooker?
Google Dictionary says “a large electric pot used for cooking foo, especially stews, very slowly.”
To me, that sounds like what a crockpot does. I did a quick Google search for slow cookers for sale to pull up a visual aide. Most of the results were for various versions and brands of “crockpots”. Even Google thinks that these two appliances are the same thing.
The couple results that I found that were NOT entitled “crock” anything seemed to have metal pots in place of the ceramic pot Crock-Pots are known for. Even then, one of these entitled “slow cooker” mentions a stoneware pot in the item description once you click on the link from Google. I only found one slow cooker that used a metal pot instead of an earthenware.
What is a crockpot?
Collinsdictionary.com defines a crockpot as “an electric cooker consisting of an earthenware pot inside a container with a heating element that maintains a steady low temperature, used for simmering stews for several hours.”
This definition very explicitly states that a crockpot implies that the pot is some sort of earthenware (stone, ceramic, clay, etc.) So by definition, then, would a slow cooker that uses an earthenware pot automatically be considered a crockpot?
Does the difference really matter?
Maybe. Let’s home in on the earthenware, or clay, pot as that seems to be the largest difference between these two definitions. It seems to me that these days, the two terms are interchangeable in conversation. But by a small technicality with how the definitions are written, crockpots are only that IF the pot is earthenware of sorts. But crockpots ARE slow cookers by definition. But, slow cookers are not necessarily crockpots by definition (i.e. those with metal pots.) So all crockpots are slow cookers. But not all slow cookers are crockpots. Technically.
Things got a little fuzzy there. Still with me? Crockpots=slow cookers. Slow cookers do not always=crockpots.
Which one is better to use in conversation?
Potato. Po-tot-toe. Whichever one sizzles your bacon is the term you should use. Why bother getting lost in the technicalities of insignificant semantics? Why waste perfectly valuable cooking and eating time mulling over whether the point you are trying to make will get lost all because you said “crockpot” when you should have said “slow cooker”?
Now you know.
You can expect me to use these words interchangeably. There will be no rhyme or reason for why I am choosing to use a certain term over the other. I just want to keep you on your toes.
All technicalities aside, I do like fun facts. I hope you enjoyed learning about my findings. Feel free to leave comments below. Do you have any more tidbits to add to this topic?
P.S. Please do not start calling my website The Crockpot Life;) In fact, tell your friends about theslowcookerlife.com!
P.P.S. Find out more about me, the author and founder of The Slow Cooker Life, here 😉