Go Slow to Go Fast

3 Min read

1 Cookbook rec

1 Book rec on writing






My nephew Donny and I were making Sally’s* shortbread cookies. They’re called short because of the amount of butter used. The more butter or fat, the more crumbly, tender, and just-plain-old-yummy the cookie.

Donny plugged in the hand mixer to cream the butter and sugar then put the speed on high, moving it around fast, bits spitting onto the counter.

“Whoa! Slow,” I said. “Let’s keep it in the bowl. You have to go slow to go fast.”

He looked at me. “Slow to be fast?”

“Yes!” I said. It’s a concept I told him about, kind of like the carpenter’s proverb to measure twice and cut once. “Take your time and move slowly, starting at low speed and moving up.” We rolled the dough and he tossed it, molding and playing with it. Getting the consistency right.

He reminded me of a child making mud pies and I laughed. Dough stuck to the rolling pin and we used more flour to dust the boards. But, the cookies tasted good when they came out of the oven.

Warm and buttery. Crisp and crumbly.


Shortbread newbies

Like You Don’t Know How

In my reading I came across a story about a jazz guitarist who was working with Miles Davis. The guitarist said Davis advised him how to play a certain song, “Play it like you don’t know how to play the guitar.” And he admits that he had no idea what Davis meant, but he proceeded to play the piece better than he ever imagined he could.

The authors of the book, Good Prose – the Art of Nonfiction, explain that there is something else at work. Don’t concentrate on technique. Do give yourself up to the song. At some point you have to trust yourself, as a guitarist, as a writer or baker, as whatever.


These feel related, the idea of going slow and trusting yourself to the process. I’m making cookies for Easter this weekend, a white chocolate macadamia nut. Haven’t made the recipe before, but will make it like I don’t know how, going slow and planning for it to be good.



*Go slow to go fast. Origins perhaps from German proverb: Go slow now, go fast later. The founder of the Roman Empire, Augustus, used the Latin phrase, Festina lente: Make haste, slowly. Why Going Slow Will Make You Go Faster (Maudal & Fossen, Dec 2017)

*Good Prose, the Art of Nonfiction: Stories and advice from a lifetime of writing and editing. Tracy Kidder and Richard Todd. (Random House, 2013) Rating: 3.91, 1376 ratings, 261 reviews. I picked this up at the library and skimmed the introduction and went directly to chapters of interest, then found myself reading more and more.

*Sally’s Cookie Addiction cookbookShortbread online recipe I use her cookbook for the cookies and they may be different than those online. The photos are great with easy-to-read hints and recipes.

*Sally’s Baking Addiction online recipe for White Chocolate Macadamia Nut

Apr 8, 2023


About the Author

Mylinh Shattan is a writer who has lived on three continents, served in the Army, worked in corporate America, and taught in college. She loves adventures, in the world and in the mind. Literature is relevant and learning is a lifelong pursuit, so you might as well have a bit of fun along the way.

Stay Up to Date

Rise above the tedium with the TreeHouseLetter. Always learning with a bit of fun.

Latest Posts

Memorial Day Speech: Because They Lived

9 Min read Memorial Day Speech Transcript and Video, New Canaan Town Hall Honoring seven New Canaan residents Remembering Hailey Hodsden Remembering the MH-60M Black Hawk #490 crew of the 160th SOAR(A) * Honored Resident Photos at this link * VIDEO OF SPEECH - follow...

“We Lived, Felt Dawn, Saw Sunset Glow”

3 Min read Memorial Day Vietnam War Toolbox: Speech writing and public speaking Creative nonfiction / True story Poetry for Emergencies * Last fall I received a request to be the speaker for Memorial Day. I was surprised and then I let it sink in. Me? The Local VFW...

That Teacher, You Know the One

5 Min read Poetry for Emergencies: E.E. Cummings On music: J.S. Bach Commencement speech * * Let's take a moment for teachers. That teacher, you know the one. Because, I have a confession to make. In the lottery of life and learning, if you're lucky then you have one,...

Meditation on Mother’s Day

4 Min read On mandalas On Kansas City On life in the middle * * It's wet and dreary here. And, in spite of the multitude of Mays that I've lived through, I continue to forget how busy this month is with graduations, weddings, parties. And, funerals. What I want to...

Semper Fidelis

4 Min read On patterns On Vietnam and Memorial Day Operation Frequent Wind 1 Book rec * * We had not met before though we had met in other ways, I suppose. We laughed in short order, having teared up moments before. But, first let me say this. The third time is a...

On Poetry, Spring, and Transition

4 Min read Poetry for emergencies 2 Poets Mary Oliver on things Lao Tzu on excess * When I moved from one house to anotherthere were many things I had no roomfor. What does one do? I rented a storagespace. And filled it. Years passed.First lines of "Storage" by Mary...

Small Delight: the Unexpected and the Good

3 Min read 1 Book rec * * I suppose it is the unexpected and the good which sustain us. The package arrived as media mail and I set the used copy on the counter. A week or so later, I began to read it, The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald. What I discovered in its...


Inoculate yourself against the absurdity of life with a dose of the best ideas and writing. Always learning with a bit of fun.