The item about slow cookers started me thinking about stew, and what to put or not put in. My cooking heritage is mostly from eastern europe, and tomato NEVER went into the stew pot. I think I must have been in my early teens before I saw a tomato based stew. Often there were noodles, usually potatoes, carrots, celery, and beef. I don't much like celery and usually substitute green bell peppers. Sometimes I use stock, sometimes wine - usually red - and on occasion beer. Seasonings vary depending on what else I have put in and what I have on hand. Would love to hear the variations others grew up with or have adopted.