The Want Not Review: Make It Fast, Cook It Slow

By Mir
October 19, 2009
Category Product Talk

Let me just be perfectly transparent on this: I received a copy of this book for free, from Stephanie, because Steph is a friend of mine and a very generous person. But I am also telling you the God’s honest truth when I tell you that Stephanie has changed the way I cook; gone are the days when my crock pot was merely for stews and soups. I consider this woman nothing short of genius, and if I want to rave about her cookbook, well then, I will.

Really, does Stephanie O’Dea need any introduction here? She’s the mastermind behind A Year of Slow Cooking, and she used her crock pot every single day in 2008 just for our amusement. And for her cookbook, Make It Fast, Cook It Slow: The Big Book of Everyday Slow Cooking, which just came out from Hyperion.

How do I love this cookbook? Let me count the ways:

The best of her website, without losing her voice. I’ve been a fan of Stephanie’s Year of Slow Cooking site forever, and while I have many of her recipes bookmarked, what I’ve always loved about it most is her “verdict” on each recipe. You don’t get “oh this was so scrumptious” on every single recipe; you get “the kids loved this, but the adults added some hot sauce,” or “the kids hated this but my husband and I loved it,” or even (on the site) “Lord, this was terrible. Please don’t make this.”

Obviously the “this was terrible” recipes aren’t included in the book, but they did leave in things like “our guinea pigs really enjoyed the beet stems,” which, really, where else will you see that sort of commentary in a cookbook??

All my favorites are here, and I can leave them in the kitchen. I’ve been known to bring my laptop into the kitchen while I cook, so that I can follow a recipe I found online. That’s a little less convenient than it sounds (and I don’t think it sounds terribly convenient.) As much as I often look up recipes online, nothing replaces the feel and heft and portability of a real cookbook. Now I have it.

This is the crock pot cookbook for people who think they hate crock pot cooking. “Oh, but my family doesn’t like soup,” is the most common response I get when I tell someone that I use my crock pot all the time. This is not just soup. Stephanie has not only come up with great versions of tried-and-true common crock pot creations, she’s adapted all manner of recipes you may never have thought to try in your crock. I suspect she may have sold a small piece of her soul to the devil. And yet, I’m okay with that.

No adaptations needed for the gluten-free amongst us. Stephanie has a daughter with Celiac, so all of her recipes are gluten-free. (In some cases, she has adapted it to make it GF, in which case she always explains what the non-GF amongst us could use instead.) Very handy for those of us avoiding wheat.

This is the crock pot cookbook for people who aren’t computer savvy and want to have all those cool recipes you say you got off the Internet. True, you can get most (but not all) of these recipes on Stephanie’s web site, but that’s not going to help your mother or your great-aunt Mabel who insists she doesn’t need a computer to be happy. Fine. Share the Internet goodness in book form.

It’s not just food. While I appreciate being able to look up a category of food and plan dinner, there’s an entire section of non-food things you can do, too. Just for fun. Like shrinky dinks! (Remember those?) And homemade soap! I mean, it’ll be a cold day you know where before I devote my already-scarce free time to making soap, probably, but it rather tickles me that it’s in there. What can I say… this book is just plain fun.

Bottom line: I pink puffy heart Make It Fast, Cook It Slow: The Big Book of Everyday Slow Cooking. It would make a perfect holiday gift for plenty of people. I will proudly join the Cult Of Crock Pot and brandish this cookbook. Congratulations on your newest “baby,” Stephanie!


  1. Love her website! Glad to read your great review! Definitely getting the book soon!!

  2. Of all the contests, I want to win this one the most. Pick me please!

  3. She has saved me on countless occasions! I love her site and even in the midst of my self imposed (economy imposed?) book buying lock down I’ll probably buy this one, just ’cause! I am thrilled to see your review spreading the good word about her.

  4. Oh I would love to actually use the crockpot my husband bought himself and now sits in the basement.

  5. My copy just arrived today. Even though I’ve cooked a bunch of these off her website, I love having everything organized in the book. I’m looking forward to trying some new things that I never saw on the website.

  6. I LOVE her website so the book is definitely on my list!

  7. Dang it, I was hoping you had received a copy to give away 🙂 Now I gotta go buy it!

  8. She changed the way I cook, too. Crock pot falafel just blew my mind!

  9. I love her, too, and she was so cute on “Good Morning America!” I’m thinking of adding this to my Christmas list.

    And I liked, “And yet, I’m okay with that.” Thanks for blogging, Mir!

  10. I’ve been a fan of her site for months and preordered the book the day it came out. I got it last week and after months of being ill, not cooking and not being able to even think about food I was able to read and enjoy the book. Plus I’ve already made the BBQ chicken and cornbread casserole (Divine) which is the first recipe I’ve used in over a year. Totally recommend this cookbook, even if you don’t have celiac. It’s just great. But honestly I bought it because it was food I loved and everything was instructed for making gluten free.

  11. I would love to have this cookbook…I have enjoyed her blog immensely (as well as this one–keep up the good work!)

  12. I won a copy of this on a blog giveaway and I LOVE it. Especially the Peking Pork Chops. 🙂

  13. I’m going to go check out her site! I still haven’t put away the crock pot from the last time I used it, so I might as well use it again!

  14. I just had a conversation yesterday with my best friend, who is pregnant, about the joys of crock-pot cooking when you have a baby. I am going to order us each a copy, even though my daughter is now in preschool. (AND I think it’d make a great, creative baby gift for any new parent. I’m just sayin’.)

  15. I have used many of Stephanie’s recipes from her website, so now it will be nice to have the book as well – off to purchase it.

  16. Now, you know…. you absolutely cannot get your loyal readership all hot n’ bothered (read: Me) by this without also giving us the basics on Crock Pots too! In the past some have asked your opinion about other types of things… how about Crock Pots? The one I have has to be from the 70’s… and while I am sure it is serviceable, its no Caddy… 🙂 Apologies if you have done it before (too lazy to comb thru the history, esp when it has many references to ‘crock pot’) Doesnt have to be real soon… just if you get an itch… kthxbai

  17. Loved the site and can’t wait to get the book! I’ve tried so many of her recipes and truly loved quite a few of them. Yummm, Buffalo Chicken Lasagna…

  18. I love this woman’s website and have been reading it for the past year … just got around to actually purchasing a slow cooker, so would looooove to have the cookbook as well! Thanks – Jessica

  19. You turned me on to her website. I bought two crocks because of her.

  20. Definitely checking this out. Thanks for sharing it with us!

  21. I love her site! And I love my crockpot 🙂

  22. This is on my Christmas list. I’m so glad to hear that the book doesn’t disappoint. 🙂

    And Frank, I have a Hamilton Beach Set ‘n Forget 6-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker and it kicked the proverbial pants off of my Crock-Pot brand slow cooker. I kissed my husband for breaking the stone ware for what had been a pretty new crock. Go through Mir’s side bar linky to Amazon and get that one if you wanna get serious about slow cookin’!

  23. I could mark my sister off my holiday list!

  24. Where in your review does it say that you are giving away a book? Did I miss something? 🙂
    I just took a look thru the book at Amazon and I’m thinking I am gonna have to buy it. I discovered her website through her leaving comments on THIS site. I made a few things off there that were delish! I love how the first recipe that pops up on Amazon has the verdict “this is my least favorite crockpot beverage recipe.” Lol, it’s only because she doesn’t like tea. The tea lovers apparently loved it.
    Thanks for the review, pretty Mir!

  25. Great to hear that you loved the book! I’m a huge fan of Steph’s too– because of her Maple Brown Sugar Ham, I will never again do a holiday ham in the oven for hours and hours, hefting it out to baste it, trying to get it back in without burning myself… anyway, I love her site, sounds like I’d enjoy her book, too 🙂

  26. I cannot wait to get this cookbook. Like a good girl, I did not rush out and buy it for myself, but instead strongly hinted at my husband that I want this for Christmas. Hmmm… Maybe I can buy it for a few other people for Christmas, and then just look through it to make sure they are getting a quality gift….
    I have been a huge fan of her website, mostly because I love to read recipes and hers are just so plain fun to read. Thanks for the review!

  27. I also have the cookbook… and while I haven’t made anything out of it yet, everything I’ve made off her website (which are all likely in the book) was delicious! And now I’ll use less printer paper, and also be less likely to spill food all over my laptop…

  28. Isn’t great how the web works…especially the special web of blogs you can get caught up in by linking from one to another? I clicked over and bookmarked “A Year of Slow Cooking” and then from there ended up somehow on the PastaQueen’s blog (please don’t ask me to retrace my steps). Spent waaay too long reading some of her archives and now have ANOTHER favorite blogger to follow! Thanks, Mir 🙂

  29. Love her recipes!

  30. I love her blog… would love the cookbook too! 🙂

  31. I love it when bloggers write successful books. Go moms!

  32. Count me in!

  33. I can not help but giggle at the number of commenters who have presumed this post is a giveway despite the tite “The Want Not REVIEW”!

  34. putting this on my wish list, I was just saying to my husband I wanted a new/better crock pot

  35. Definitely worth looking into – I am trying (barely managing) to go GF, so I’m really interested in things that are easy and good. Thanks for pointing us to her site!

  36. I actually read about her in our local paper early in 2008 of all places and I’ve been hooked ever since. I’m a Celiac and not a very adventurous eater but I have found many of her recipes useful and I probably use my slow cooker 1-2 times a week because of her. She’s fabulous.

  37. Her book is linked with the Pioneer Woman cookbook and of course I bought both…

  38. Stephanie is the reason I finally bought a new crock pot! Nice to see you are a fan as well!

  39. NEED. Thank you for letting us know about this. I am a cooking dunce and my slow cooker intimidates me. But the fact that I could make soap is awesome motivation.

  40. I think this is going to be the gift I give my sister-in-law for her baby shower in a couple weeks! She will get a baby quilt once baby arrives in late December and we know whether to sew pink or blue, but for her shower now, I think this will be a great gift idea. Thanks, Mir!

  41. I pink puffy heart my slow cooker, so naturally I’d love to win the book! Thanks, Mir!

  42. I just found her site this weekend! I’m kind of the queen of crockpot around here- I teach 2-3 afternoons a week, plus throughout our married life I have lived without a kitchen for 18 months. Not having made one recipe yet, I still say her recipes are updated and fresh and I can’t wait to start trying them out!

  43. Just sittin’ here wondering how long it will take some people to realize that this is not a contest… Just sayin’.

  44. I have serious cooking issues. I don’t like to plan, prep or cook. i do like to eat and I don’t mind cleaning up. I’ll bet I’d love this book!!

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