I think Martha Stewart should have been royalty. She lives like royalty, she entertains like royalty. How did she become so famous for her housekeeping skills? What drives that kind of passion, the kind that doesn’t “settle?” Really. I have a few of her cookbooks, I pull them out and browse my way through them when I’m needing a pick me up, or some inspiration. I have rarely used her recipes, although I have taken inspiration from her style, from her drive, from her pictures in the books. The recipes are usually very involved and I think she did that to make them seem uppity, I think she wants them to be more back breaking in the preparation so that you feel like you’ve accomplished something. I have tried a few, but usually once was enough. Her recipes could NEVER live up to Julia Child’s recipes. BUT, having said that, I will read through the recipe and take inspiration and then head into the kitchen, with out the book, but with flavors and techniques and presentations bouncing around in my head. For those things I find her very reliable, invaluable. I don’t know that her culinary contribution is nearly as large as her entertaining skills in the food world.
I was just leafing through her 1989 edition of “Martha Stewart’s Christmas.” I found it this past week in a thrift shop for $2. It was originally $21.95! -in 1989!!! I love gazing at the pictures and reading through the short stories. I don’t think any recipe caught my eye, but I did glean some ideas. She looks so young! She says in the intro that her publisher thought of the book in September and they wrote it, photographed it, in REAL time, through the months of October, November and December. She was know for her annual Christmas party and so the book came from all the prep ahead of time, as well as the actual party itself. Now we all know that Martha has had to have an army behind the scenes, but here’s the number she lists in the “thank yous”: 41.
PLUS, the un-numbered staff that helped serve the actual event, PLUS the un-numbered children who came to sing during the dinner. She had over 40 capable, sometimes specialized helpers alongside her to create this fabulous event. Wreath and lighting hangers, bakers, tree gatherers and putter-uppers, potpourri assemblers, basket makers, on and on…..her sister spent 2 days on the “country ham”, her cassoulet was a 3 day event in itself. Oh, how I wish I was among the guests invited! I think I’d rather of been to a party of hers in the 80’s as opposed to present day. How did she become so intuitive about what was a “good thing” or what the guests would remember? I’m telling you, it runs along the same thread of my mind that its probably a lot like royalty would treat their guests, or back in the days of old, when a celebration was everything you could possibly do to make it special, top-notch, where you nearly out did yourself, but all of it was out of love, not for the sake of bragging rights, but because it was a way to express love. sigh. I want to put on a celebration like that. One that takes days to prepare for, for all the smallest details to be completed with no pressing checklist, but completed because it seemed like a good idea, a “good thing” and you want to share it. Maybe I’ll be able to accomplish such an event some day.