I've had some conversations with people about this so I thought I'd do this post in a question/answer format. So here you go!
So what kind of crockpot are you going to use for this?
I just bought a new one: the Hamilton Beach Set & Forget Stay or Go 6 Quart Slow Cooker. (That, by the way, is the store with the cheapest price for it that I could find. Their website also lets you check your local store for availability; if they have it in-store you can save yourself shipping, or if they don't they also have a ship-to-store option where you order online and pick it up in-store.)
Why did you choose that one?
I chose that one because I wanted a larger-capacity crockpot with a lid that sealed for easy transportation of a full crock and a programmable timer that would cook for a set time and then turn to "warm." Rival makes a 6.5 qt. model that claims to, but all the reviews I found of that one said, "Don't do it! Steer clear! It's poorly designed and falls apart after a few uses!" This model, on the other hand (Hamilton Beach model 33967) gets very highly favorable reviews everywhere I look (with the exception of a few people who said theirs had faulty wiring or something and wouldn't turn on, but they also said that customer service was quite helpful and they were able to get replacements without a problem.) One reviewer said their crock full of chili slid off the car seat driving somewhere and it didn't spill a drop, the gasket-seal lid kept it all in! It also can be used in probe thermometer mode to cook a roast or meatloaf or whatever to a desired temperature rather than time, which is rather awesome, and has a spoon that clips right into the top so you don't lose it, which is a nice bonus. I don't know that I'll ever use the probe but I like having that option. And it looks like an all-around good value.
But it's from Hamilton Beach, so it's not really a "Crock Pot" then, is it?
No. You're right. It's technically a slow cooker. Crock Pot is a registered trademark of Rival brand, and in the past I have really been very loyal to their brand, because most of their products seem to be the best intersection of consistent quality and low price. However some of their "fancier" models get reviews saying that they cook too hot, fall apart, etc. So if I'm going to spend that much money on a slow cooker, I'm looking for one with better reviews. As for why I call it a crockpot when it is actually a slow cooker, in my family and community the terms are interchangable. Like saying "Kleenex" when you mean "tissue," or "Scotch tape" when you mean "cellophane tape" (or "Sellotape" if you're British, apparently.) If you have a problem with it you have my permission to mentally replace "crockpot" with "slow cooker" each time you read it.
So are you going to send it back and forth every day?
We're going to try it that way, at least. Jeff will wash it every day, I will refill it, he will take it back the next morning. Only the crock part though, the hardware part will stay at his work.
If that gets to be too much work, we'll buy a second, identical one, so he can bring it home and I can wash and refill it the next day at my leisure, and I'll have a second one already filled by the time he gets home each night so I can just relax, and we'll trade off which crock is at his work and which one is at home being washed and refilled.
You mean you're going to buy two $50 crockpots?
Maybe. Probably. If you think about it, though, $100 is not that big of an investment in equipment when it's going to save us a lot on the cost of my husband eating take-out, etc. Also, I just spent more than $100 on disposable serveware for them to eat out of at Smart and Final. So, yeah, not that bad. Those costs will actually be mostly covered by what folks put in toward the costs, though, and at the end of it I'll have 2 new crockpots, which is great.
What will you use them for when you're done though? I mean, won't it be a waste of space to have 2 more crockpots in your kitchen?
In my opinion, more crockpots are never a waste of space! I've had parties where I cooked everything, or almost everything, in crockpots. I anticipate using them many times in the year to come, and of course if this goes well we'll do it again next year, so it will be a one-time investment for many years' savings during tax season.
Wait, you've had parties where you cooked everything in crockpots? How many do you have?
Well, not counting the new one I had 3. And I would borrow several more from my aunt, my dad, etc. I think with the new one (and possible second new one) I'd be able to not have to borrow and return any others, which would be nice.
So that's the scoop on my new crockpot. If you guys have any other questions post them in comments and I'd be happy to answer. :)