Taking the Slow Road


My personal mantra for 2017 is “low and slow”.

The ‘s’ word doesn’t have many fans these days.

It’s a fast world.

People want to fast-track their degrees, so they can thrive in the fast-paced environment of their workplaces. Businesses are all about increasing productivity and efficiency, streamlining and enhancing customer turnover – all euphemisms for doing things faster.

Describing yourself as slow in an online dating profile or job application won’t get you many takers.

We’ve all bought into the idea that faster equals better, myself included. Hence my initial aversion to the slow-cooker.

How could anything slow be good? I thought.

Then my mother-in-law gave me one. Naturally, it sat on the shelf for months.

Finally, one cold fall day, more to prove to myself that it was another useless piece of kitchen gadgetry than anything else, I dusted it off and plugged it in. I chucked in a cheap cut of beef with a bit of this and that and ended up with… heaven.

The same top round steak fried in the pan would make shoe-leather look tender. But in the gentle heat of the slow-cooker, the tough connective tissues dissolve, the aromatics seep into the meat and the result is tender, fragrant deliciousness.

It got me thinking. What if I took the slow-cooker approach to the rest of my life, specifically, writing?

This month some of my author friends have been sharing their goals for the year. Some examples?

“Self-publish ten novels” “write a novel a month” “increase my word-count to 3,000 a day”

Translation: write faster.

Kudos to them. I’ve tried the fast thing. I’ve knocked out a novel in 3 weeks, had it edited and published in 6. I’ve pulled all-nighters and ignored my family and neglected my finances and my health. But not this year.

My goal? Write one hundred words a day.

A hundred words a day is slow by any definition. But by this time next year, I will have 36,500 words steeped in a year of research and rumination.

I’m betting on them being delicious.

Slow-Cooker Beef Barbacoa



1 ½ lb top round steak

1 large red onion, chopped finely

½ tsp garlic powder

½ tsp ground cumin

½ tsp chili powder

½ tsp salt

Dash of ancho chili powder

1 tbsp chopped hot green chilies (from a can, if you like)

¼ cup lime juice (bottled is fine)

tortillas and taco fixings of your choice, to serve


Cut the steak in half and place in the slow cooker, on top of the other ingredients. Cook on low for 7-8 hours. Remove meat from cooker and shred. Return to cooker while you prepare taco fixing – I recommend cotija cheese, crema and a slaw of very thinly sliced radishes, carrots, red onion, white cabbage and cilantro dressed with a squeeze of fresh lime juice  and a sprinkle of salt.