(Family Features) - Which `70s trend would you most like to see make a comeback? Probably not disco fashion! More Americans are pulling out their slow cookers than ever before, as the 1970s trend returns to kitchens across the nation.
In fact, according to a recent study by the NPD Group, 79.6 percent of households own a slow cooker, and another study by Kelton Research on behalf of Betty Crocker Slow Cooker Helper found that more than three quarters of moms (82 percent) own a slow cooker.
To celebrate this often overlooked kitchen hero, Betty Crocker invited people to share their love for the slow cooker in the first-ever "Ode to Slow Cooking" contest. Slow cooking enthusiasts were invited to share why they love slow cooking in a poem or essay. The more than 600 entrants shared how their passion for slow cooking went beyond ownership and how the time- tested appliance made their lives better.
The grand prize winner, Linda Foster from Bloomington, Minn., created an ode to be sung to the tune of Simon & Garfunkel's hit song "Feeling Groovy." Her one-of-a-kind ode focused on her slow-cooker's ease of use and how using it relaxes her, as opposed to creating tension in the kitchen. She wrote:
"Slow down, you're cooking too fast, Got to let the proteins relax. Fast food is making us tense, Speed cooking, makes food chewy."
"Cooking should be fun and enjoyable, not hectic and stressful," said Foster. "That's where my slow cooker comes in!"
One of the finalists, Laura Reyes from Omaha, Neb., composed a poem that describes how her slow cooked meals trick her husband into thinking she has worked so hard to create a great meal that he offers to do the dishes. She wrote:
"My husband comes home, says `Honey, what a great meal.' You've worked so hard, I'll do the dishes ... deal? I love my slow cooker; it's my very best friend. Just don't tell my secret and we'll be friends `till the end."
Another finalist, Nancy Kevorkian of Port Charlotte, Fla., sings her praises of slow cooking in helping her create a meal without a mess. Part of her ode reads:
"When I rush to work in the early morn; I leave a helping hand at home. Easy to use, `Just set and forget!' It's a silent workhorse that leaves no mess."
"We knew that there were hundreds of reasons for families to sing their praises of slow cooking, but we never expected to receive this much praise and admiration for slow cookers," says Helen Kurtz, marketing manager for Slow Cooker Helper. "In their own words, the contest participants showed us that slow cookers are a life-saver for those on-the-go. Everyone from working moms to nostalgic empty-nesters just can't get enough of their slow cookers!"