A big ol’ pot of something

Published 9:40 pm Friday, September 25, 2009

Reducing stress in these economically trying times was the subject of an article recently on our health and fitness page. The article suggested things like making an “exercise transition” between work and family time and finding an enjoyable activity like basketball, or tennis to help calm yourself.

But as the seasons change and fall arrives, I begin to contemplate other activities to not only reduce stress, but save a little dough too. After all, isn’t exercise really just for show-offs and summertime folks?

Being an active slacker such as I am, if you’ll forgive the oxymoron, I’d like to suggest doing something, and I’ll borrow from any number of my fellow North Carolinans for the phrasing here: “Stew up a big ol’ pot of something.”

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Think about it. There’s nothing more relaxing, mouthwatering or economical than throwing a pile of goodies into a crock pot and getting several bowls or plates of magic in return. It’s one of life’s true simple pleasures.

And the beauty of this activity is it really only involves about 15 minutes or so of actual movement on your part, followed by 3 to 4 hours of blissfully laying on your nearest couch and watching television.

You don’t need headbands or sneakers to stew up a pot of something. There’s no stretching involved. And never once have I pulled a hamstring stewing up a pot of Brunswick stew, nor have I gotten a bruise making chili.

Seriously though, I grew up in a family very wise to the crock pot way of life. I suppose when there are four children in the house, three of whom are boys whose love of food is only matched by their love of second helpings, a mother learns that stewing up a pot of something is the best and cheapest way to prevent anarchy or even cannibalism from breaking loose at the dinner table.

And even when you come home after curfew and you’ve completely missed dinner, a crock pot full of something just whispers “I love you,” even though the note your mom has left on it reads, “You’re grounded! See you in the morning.” That’s just what a warm crock pot does; it reduces stress, even in the face of impending doom.

These days, the notes on all our crock pots might read, “You need to save money,” “You may not find another job this year,” or “You won’t have enough money to retire.”

But I like to believe that that good ol’ crock pot is still whispering the same things it always has. It’s comfort and economy, all in one pot.

So, exercise is nice, but it’s not a bad idea to find some relaxation and a little financial peace-of-mind at the bottom of a crock pot.