Slow cookers are unique in the popular imagination of cooking culture, even as compared to other 20th-century time-savers like frozen foods and the microwave. They are at once overwhelmingly popular (more than 80 percent of American households have one) and subtly disdained, often portrayed as a dowdy, staid one-way ticket to beef stew. They are unique in the depth of feeling they evoke: No one has feelings about a microwave or frozen peas. But slow cookers are loved, hated, and loved and hated, probably because they’re so strongly associated with mothers. If there are two different kinds of cooking, one is chef food, aka man food: skilled, aspirational, interesting. And then there is mom food: comforting, necessary, perceived as unskilled. Sous vide is chef food. Slow cooking is mom food.