Alison Goulding: Livin’ fast, cookin’ slow

Slow cookers are the source of all happiness
Slow cookers are the source of all happiness
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MY life changed forever at the weekend. From now on I will always register memories as either before or after the seismic event.

Yes, that’s right, I got a slow cooker.

Or rather a dear friend, who became utterly tired and fed up of me saying how much I wanted one and doing nothing about it, went out and got one for me.

There’s no way I’ll ever be able to repay him – it’s the gift that keeps on giving.

I appreciate that for many readers, this is the most boring thing I could possibly discuss. I’m sure you’ve all had slow cookers for decades. You’ve probably had your fair share of eating delicious stews and rice puddings.

My flatmate said she used to have one from the ’70s, which goes to show how far I lag behind.

There is a Canadian journalist called Malcolm Gladwell who reckons we fall into different groups – the frontrunners who buy new gadgets as soon as they arrive, the majority of people who wait till the second, better version comes out and the laggers who trail behind – only catching up when there is absolutely no choice but to join the modern world.

What he failed to observe was the final group. Just me and one 90-year-old lady in Swindon who trail behind the laggers.

To us, laggers are too hasty in their buying decisions. Anyway, my friend has intervened and now I can sit at my desk every day positively quivering at the thought of what awaits me when I get home. Sometimes I pause and think about whether the carrots will be done yet ... whether the gravy will have melted.

Chop up a few vegetables, chuck in some stock cubes and a bit of tatty roadkill and a mere 13 hours later you’re eating a stew fit for a French peasant – and you know how parky they are.

My culinary imagination has gone wild. When I’m sick of stews and soups and pasta bakes I’m going to enter the world of slow-cooked puddings.

Imagine coming home after a hard day’s work to a golden crumble with the fruit just bubbling and bursting through.

The lack of washing up very much appeals to me too – one none stick ceramic dish and you’re laughing.

By the way, I’m not sponsored by the people who invented slow cookers – I just think they’re amazing. I dithered slightly at the prospect of leaving something switched on and unattended all day but my flatmate assured me that these things are foolproof.

You see, because I am a mad horsewoman my alarm is set for 5.45am and I usually don’t get back in the house until 8pm.

I eat more sandwiches from the garage while driving to and fro than Joan Collins has had hot dinners at the Ivy.

I wouldn’t change my lifestyle either – it is beautiful, rewarding, satisfying. I see the sun come up and as I tuck the horses in at bedtime I see all the stars glittering.

But when I look in the mirror I am grey-faced from relying too heavily on McDonald’s lattes for nutrition.

So it’s a magical feeling that something can be getting done while you are nowhere near it.

It’s like having a robot chef. Imagine if there was a device that washed, ironed and dried your clothes while you were out at work? I’d pay good money for that. Or rather, I’d admire it from afar without actually having the brains to buy it ...