Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Living with Martha

I returned home this week to find a shiny new copy of Martha Stewart Living, nestled in amongst the stack of Car & Driver and TIME magazines on our coffee table.

'Why are we still getting this?' I ask TLOML.
'Uh, maybe because you are still ordering it?' says he.
'I'm really so not. You are. You're obsessed with Martha Stewart.'

This has been a regular exchange ever since the Marthas started arriving to our Malibu place about six months ago. I know TLOML suspects me of subscribing. I did no such thing. I have enough on my plate pretending to read the Economist. I can't quite believe he would subscribe, but then again, he does like to eat well. So maybe he's behind it and just too embarrassed to admit it.

There's actually nothing to be ashamed of. It's a brilliant magazine. I enjoy shaking my head in wonder at the bit where Martha writes about her house and garden, for example, the challenge of finding the right sort of tree to plant on her personal 2 mile long avenue. And there are always a couple of shoots of incredibly attractive and functional families eating incredible meals in incredible settings (I mean literally, they are barely credible).

Then as a sop to the lonely lady reader who's, by now, salivating with bitter envy, they throw in a few affordable, Blue Peter-esque craft projects. Here's one of Martha's for making useful boxes out of, um, boxes.

And for the Americans who missed out, here's a classic Blue Peter craft project, just for context...

The first Martha arrived at Hallowe'en and sent me into a frenzy when I realized we had absolutely no plans to decorate the beach pad with neatly arranged pumpkins, or to bake tiny little sweets made to look like eyeballs for the local children. Shame on me! In the end we watched Paranormal Activity eating chips'n'salsa, which was not very Martha of us at all. (At least the sweets would have been wasted since we live on the road of death so no children came a'callin'.)

November came and went with a noticeable failure to bake any hams. At Christmas I developed elaborate plans to create a proper gingerbread house. I had a little technical drawing and even a paper mock-up of the house. I bought many tubes of coloured icing. The house was never built. Instead I baked gingerbread cookies in the shape of snowmen and TLOML and I drew their rude bits on in red icing. Again, not very Martha.

So if that was the best I could do living in a lovely flat with a good big kitchen... I fear Martha will not get much a look in in Rabbit Hutch Towers.

Naturally none of this history prevented me from reading the new one. A highlight was a piece in which Kevin Sharkey shared his 'no cook' party secrets. Any magazine that can make a 2 page feature out of 'put the doritos in a bowl' deserves some kudos. At last, a Martha edict I can obey! Or so I thought..

Sadly, with the phrase '...serve these goodies with napkins; mine are cocktail-size squares of linen with my monogram' Kevin lost me forever.

I must ask TLOML to cancel that subscription he denies taking out...

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