You may have a 20-year-old slow cooker that still works great, but it’s probably a basic cooker for which you need to time your cooking manually and then be there to turn it off. A programmable slow cooker cooks your meal for a predetermined time and then switches to a setting that keeps the food at a safe temperature until you’re ready to eat. Our favorite is the crock pot 5.5 Quart Smart-Pot (you can get one for around $50). Its digital touchpad allows the user to control the heat settings and time the cooking in increments of 30 minutes up to 20 hours. Find one at crockpot.com.