What a Crock!: Take a slow (cook) summer What a Crock!: Take a slow (cook) summer Advocate staff photo by RICHARD ALAN HANNON -- Chile Beef and Sweet Potatoes is flavored with chili sauce and dried onion soup mix. Julie Kay| Special to The Advocate July 07, 2014 Comments There’s really not a season for slow cooking, but it can be an extremely helpful appliance for summer. Not only does it cut down on the heat in the kitchen by not having to run other larger cooking appliances like the oven, it allows the cook to spend more time on fun summer activities. Put everything in the slow cooker early and spend time with the kids when you can. Come home to a nice dinner that’s been cooking while the cook’s away. Don’t forget to include the youngest members of your household when you think about dinner. Each summer, I encourage moms and dads to work with their children in the kitchen. Teach them what it takes to plan and execute a meal, even if it is a simple one. Follow the planning through to the grocery store for the ingredients, then to the actual work. By presenting cooking as enjoyable and not drudgery, children are more likely to eat the fruits of their labor. Julie Kay is a columnist for The Advocate. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.