A slow cooker (also known as a crock-pot in the United States and several other English-speaking countries) is an electrical cooking appliance used to prepare food by simmering it for several hours at lower temperatures than most other cooking methods.
The advantage of a slow cooker is that it can be left to cook food unattended. Furthermore, many slow cookers manufactured in the 2000s have programmable thermostats, timers, and sometimes a "keep warm" function to lower the heat after the cooking timer has stopped, allowing a degree of automation in home cooking.
However, advertisements tend to exaggerate the set-and-forget nature of slow cookers. While there certainly are recipes that work well in a slow cooker with no intervention beyond mixing the ingredients together, just dumping everything into the pot and cooking the mixture for hours will yield less-than-desirable results most of the time. The optimal cooking time of ingredients varies, and different ingredients may need to be added into the cooker at different points of the cooking process. For example, prolonged cooking of liquid dairy products causes them to curdle. Spices – especially fresh herbs – tend to lose their flavor when cooked for long, and thus seasoning liberally or adding seasoning toward the end of the cooking time may be required.
Old stoves have a recessed cooking position, often in the right rear, in which a pot can sit. This has a similar function.
See this category for Slow cooker recipes.