Monday, November 12, 2007

The girl can't help it

Taking a vacation day, since we don't get the Veteran's Day holiday at NerdCo. (I can accept that, but am gently disgruntled each year by the flag-bedecked internal posters that go up in our offices each November, thanking the veteran members of our corporate family for their service and then effectively implying that they get their asses back to work.)

Anyway. I caught a portion of Martha Stewart this afternoon, and watched her throw together most of a traditional Thanksgiving feast without breaking a sweat or a nail. Her guest was Jennifer Something-or-Other, apparently a co-host of her daughter's satellite radio show. (Where was Alexis, you might wonder?...except you know that Alexis is probably holed up in an ashram somewhere, chainsmoking and running through various role-playing scenarios that will hopefully allow her to tolerate a few hours of Turkey Day Dinner with her mum. Alexis, I recommend starting with the cocktails early. Maybe Tuesday.)

I love Martha...or, I have a fond and complex fascination with Martha, man. She is icy and imperious and sets the bar ridiculously high for mere mortals...but as a friend of mine once said, "Martha thinks I can do it!" And I do believe that comes across: Martha calmly conveys her exacting expectations, and brooks no excuses. Your latticed pie crust or folded t-shirt or hospital corners or hand-appliqueed gold-leafed heirloom linen cabinet is not going to look as good as hers, that's a given...but she's been doing this for years. She just asks that you try and keep up. Time and again I click past one of her shows and am ready to scoff...and then I slowly sit down...and then I am lulled by her perfectly herbed rounds of artisanal goat cheese or whatever the hell is going on, left muttering "....pretty!" to myself and vowing to attempt radish rosettes when I don't even like radishes and have never in my life bought one myself. She has a power.

I also think that Martha is secretly funny, that she has a weird sense of humor and a very self-aware tendency towards the surreal. Prison didn't seem to soften her, overall, but remember when she first got out of the pokey and one of her early guests on the new show was P. Diddy? He taught her to rap (excruciating), and then she taught him to...wrap presents. I think viewers who'd come for a run-of-the-mill train wreck wandered away disappointed, but I was mesmerized, and howling. Martha's a smart lady; you can't convince me that she didn't come up with that juxtaposition herself, fully knowing it was bizarre AND funny. Case in point #2: look at how she tolerates Letterman. That shit is sidesplitting.

Anyway. Thanksgiving prep, with the brave volunteer Jennifer, who mostly held her own as they stuffed and trussed turkeys in that spectacular kitchen studio set that I would happily live in. Jennifer completed the task with aplomb, though her work area did look a bit like the aftermath of a particularly gripping sweeps episode of ER. But Martha's? Holy crap, you guys: she could have put a stamp on that turkey and mailed it anywhere in the U.S. Spotless, and perfectly symmetrical. It's a superhuman talent. I bow to it.

Ooh. You know what I would pay good money to see? Martha vs. Gordon Ramsey! Or...maybe Martha and Ramsey, tag-teaming across this great nation to raise culinary and general standards for the good of us all. Or it could be a competition: do you draw more flies with vinegar (and a spectacularly inventive vocabulary of epithets), or with a delicate heirloom honey in a collectible antique crystal cruet?

Also I bet Martha could give GRrrr a run for his money in the hurled-invective department. That woman could strategically deploy an f-bomb as elegantly as she does everything else, there's not a doubt in my mind.


chicklegirl said...

Deep dark confession: I've always had a secret fascination with Miss Martha. Some of her stuff is just too fussy or anal for me to attempt, but I love her recipes. Like BLT Salad with Avocado Dressing--mmmm. My perfect pie crust (which made me the envy of friends, family and even my husband, who is a baking fiend) was learned at her perfectly starched, creased and ironed knee. I even used to take Martha Stewart Living (one of my guilty pleasures), and absolutely lived for the March gardening issues. It was a sad day when I cancelled my subscription, but I decided that with one more kid my "reading for pleasure time" would be virtually non-existent.


Oh, and I LMAO about your advice to Alexis. I always wonder that Martha even had children. It's hard to imagine her ever doing something as messy as sex, let alone giving birth. Of course, if it was possible for there to be a second Immaculate Conception...

Kim said...

Even the old-fashioned way, done by Martha, would be on the "immaculate" side, I'm thinking. Heh. I suspect that she had...very exacting expectations in this arena as well. Eeep.

And I give myself over to the Christmas issue of "Living" every year, helplessly. It's my nod to holiday handicraft compulsion!