It seems trendy to trash Martha Stewart, one of the most powerful businesswomen in America. The reasons seem unfounded, imho. Examine one of the Omnimedia rags (Martha Stewart Living) or the website. She is a decorator with some good ideas, into adaptive reuse of found objects, and encourages people to go with what they have rather than slamming guilt on those that can’t afford the latest trend.(Seen an issue of “House Beautiful” lately?) She has built up an empire through hard work. This type of behaviour is typically rewarded in men: why, in this day and (enlightened?) age, is it the norm to insult her personally? It’s as if we have retro’d ourselves back into the fifties where women need to be taken care of, and in turn need to take care of their men. Gives me the creeps. What are folks afraid of?
Afraid? Not afraid. Annoyed. She’s the superwoman, making every woman (okay, hyperbole there) feel that if she doesn’t turn that empty tin can into a “charming vase for a delightful spring bouquet” then she’s lower than low and has somehow missed out on being everything to everyone.
I admit, I do admire her empire, her good ideas, etc. I don’t admire her reputed “I’m the shit” attitude.
She gives many women one more reason to feel pressured to perform - to not only be the ubermom, full-time worker outside the home, social “hostess-with-the-mostess”, but to create or prepare all this stuff for a life that, honestly, many women just do not have. How many women do you know that work outside the home and have at least a couple kids and a husband, that can find the time to make a chocolate cake with 4 layers molded out of an old shoebox to look like the White House?
It’s just not reality. Not the reality of anyone I know, anyway.
Bunny’s nailed my attitude towards her.
I should mention, as my good deed for the day, that the recipes she provides are simple and often very, VERY good.
We had several of her side dishes for Thanksgiving, including a salad of haricots verts and yellow wax beans with a walnut oil dressing, topped with halved walnuts and pomegranate seeds. Sounds fussy and Martha-y, but it was easy, gorgeous, and delicious.
The other night I rendered three slices of bacon, poured off most of the fat, and sauteed a pound of sea scallops with a little salt and pepper. I kept them warm while I sauteed some minced shallot, added a cup of white wine, and allowed it to reduce into a sauce. Just before we sat down I tossed in a little butter, poured the sauce over the scallops, and sprinkled the crumbled bacon on top.
Dinner in 20 minutes (rice and broccoli were taking care of themselves on other burners), and tastier than most restaurants.
I think she’s cute.
…and she used to wear hot pants to the office, thirty years ago.
You gotta love fifty-year-old women who admit to that.
I think the popular parodies of her say it best. Martha Stuart is Better Than You at Everything. I think many people see her as the ultimate in anal personalities. The books poke fun at her attempts to make virtually every occasion an exercize in interior decorating. I admit that I haven’t watched her program that much, but the few times I have watched her, she was not making use of common household objects. She was using some rare silk ribbons that she acquired during her visit to the Dalai Lama, or some such nonsense.
I do admire her creative abilities, I don’t care for her attitude. My family was watching her show, she and a child were making Christmas ornaments. The child struggled and finally managed to complete a single ornament. Martha Stewart instead of complimenting the child, smugly informed the child that she could make thousands of ornaments to the childs one. The poor childs pride at accomplishing the task was dashed when Martha put her down. This is the reason I don’t care for Martha Stewart. No amount of money will ever make it acceptable to behave in such a manner.
She does indeed have some wonderful ideas and many of her projects are within reach of her average viewer. The trouble is that as she shows you around her beautiful home, her perfectly tended grounds and gardens, she neglects to point out that she isn’t doing it all. I haven’t seen many of her shows, but one I remember was about bulb gardens. She was strolling through the beds, showing her viewers how to prepare the soil and plant the bulbs. She had huge beds laid out, with hundreds of bulbs in each. Now I know, (because I have done it) how long it takes to double dig a flower bed and put it hundreds of bulbs. If you can prove to me that she did it all herself, I will eat my gardening gloves. But of course she didn’t do it all herself. She has a staff, and a large one, at that. The reason people get so ticked off at her is that she seems to be saying that we could all be doing this too, while failing to mention how much is actually done by other people.
Although I love her magazine and never miss an issue, I do think she’s a bit hoity-toity - e.g., in one of her recent editorials, she wrote about the wood-fired cooking stove she and her husband had in a cabin many years ago. She talked about how great they were for baking beans, but she used it to treat her friends to all these gourmet dishes - I remember she said risotto, and the others were on the order of crepes suzette, coq au vin, beef Wellington, etc. It was just ridiculous - “Most people just make beans with their wood-fired cooking stoves but I’m a gourmand.” Pul-lease!
Also, not only does she not necessarily come up with all those ideas - she has a huge staff that does this - she doesn’t even execute them herself. If, for instance, she’s doing a wedding shoot at some inn, that establishment’s staff does most of the work and Martha comes in at the end for the photo shoot. It’s not like she, personally, is creating or managing the event.
But she does have a billion dollars - gotta give her some respect for such an impressive IPO.
robinh, just saw your post on preview - exactly my thoughts.
Nono, the funniest MS is the SNL skit they show each year called ‘The Martha Stewart Topless
Really, Im not kidding.
ALso, did you know they MS’s stock IPO opened at nearly $1B?
I don’t know what it is today, a bit less I suppose.
True: Martha Stewart picks her nose.
OMG! What are you saying? You mean to tell me that Martha Stewart doesn’t actually do all of the things she shows us herself?!? I can’t believe it! Next you’ll be telling me that Emeril doesn’t do his own prepwork, Sara Moulton has people who do most of the cooking for her, and Bob Vila couldn’t build a house on his own if his life depended on it. It’s just unbelieveable.
C’mon, y’all. She doesn’t have to do everything herself. She’s showing the people who watch her TV show and read her magazines how to do stuff. That’s all. It’s not like it says, on the front of her magazines, “Martha Stewart did all this stuff on her own with absolutely no help, and you should be able to, too, or you’re a bad person.”
I’m not sure I’ve every heard her say she does it all. And I don’t think she tries to make people think they have to do it all. I mean, if I watch her show, and she shows how to make a wreath out of corks, and a centerpiece that would probably take three hours to build, I don’t say to myself, “Man, now I have to go out and do both of those things! And if I don’t, I’m a loser!” Instead, I think, “I have some corks lying around the house. I could try that out. It’s a neat idea.”
My feeling is if you feel guilty about not doing everything Martha does on her show, you should mebbe examine your own psyche, not hers.
And missbunny, I don’t get what’s wrong with cooking something else on a wood-fired stove besides beans. Maybe some people want to cook more on their stoves. I seriously doubt that she denigrated all other cooks but herself when describing what you could cook on one. But, I could be wrong.
HUH?!? Ike, I’m gonna have to check out Living again sometime soon. Last time I looked at some of her recipes, they were like “Gourmet” or “Food and Wine” recipes times ten. I remember reading a stew recipe that called for you to make Lamb Consumme that took something like 7 pounds of lamb bones simmered for 5 hours or some such thing. I also remember arcane ingredients that probably not a problem for you folk who live in NYC, but the best I can do is the Whole Foods 20 miles away from me, and they tend to foo-foo things like Foie Gras and nitrate-laden meats as not being healthy enough.
Don’t get me wrong - I’d love to cook like this, and plan to once I quit this damn job. But meals that take two days to prepare, not to mention mail-order ingredients, are not really the things I look for nowadays.
- One of the late, great Spy magazine’s favorite subjects was Martha. The big article I remember was one that interviewed various associates and media workers and showed that basically, Martha does very little original. As far as production goes, she also does very little herself, even accounting for the intricacies of television production. If that’s a sin or not would depend on if she claimed to come up with all her ideas on her own. I don’t watch so I don’t know. Some of the stories did sound like BS.
Ahhh,,,, Spy. (snif) - MC
I admit that these are vetted by my wife, as Martha Stewart is not the first thing I reach for when I’m looking for a recipe. For all I know, she edits out the “simmer twenty pounds of Yak Bones in Champagne for twelve hours” things.
But hey…Scallops, bacon, shallots, wine, butter, salt & pepper. Can’t get much simpler than that.
Necros, there’s nothing wrong with cooking things more complicated than baked beans. It was the way she said it – I’d have to look up the exact quote, but it was very close to “Most people would content themselves with making baked beans on their wood stoves, but I treated my friends to risotto, chateaubriand, and baked Alaska.” It just sounds so … superior … and this took place long, long before she was Miss Homestyle Guru
Also, I know this is just their chosen editorial style, but it bugs me that her magazine refers to her in the third person – “Martha changes the bulbs in her English gardens twice a year”; “Martha uses oil of cloves to clean her 18th century cast-iron serving utensils” and so on - especially when Martha doesn’t really do any of those things herself.
It also seems to be unfashonable to like Emeril Lagasse these days too. I happen to like both of them. Emeril more so than Martha. I’m not to fond of her monocromatic, pared down style of decorating. (How much mint green can a person take?) I also don’t feel like spending hours decorating cookies that adults won’t eat. She is a little hoity toity but then she’s from somewhere in New England, not Elk Snout or Chicken Shoals. Down to earth she ain’t, but she isn’t really peddling down to earth either. She’s peddling luxury, from her elaborate dishes to her projects that cost more to make than go out and buy already put together. She’ll go out of style eventually. Someone will replace her as the diva of domesticity. Someone evidently likes her, she’s a billion dollar enterprise.
Sometimes Martha’s attitude and her weird quirks, like writing about herself in the third person, drive Delphica crazy.
I mean, would it be that hard for her to say “my gardener Sue and I planned a lovely bed of flowers in the shape of Nova Scotia”?
But I do like her for the most part. Between the TV show, the magazine, and the website, I think she presents a good range of recipes and crafts aimed at beginning, intermediate, and advanced cooks and craft-makers.
One really easy recipe I found on her website is for chocolate cookies, which were so delicious that I am now the most popular person in my office, provided I continue to make the cookies on a somewhat regular basis.
I think it is also clear that Martha Stewart does this for a living and that the average person is going to watch her do 20 projects and then select ** one or two** that seem interesting and at the right skill level to try at home.
I probably mostly like her because I finally learned how to neatly fold a fitted sheet from her show. Not the mystery of the ages, I know, but I was pleased.
- Martha doesn’t write for her own magazine. -At the time of the Spy article, she only had her name on a regular one-page article in the magazine, and former employees said that she had someone on the editorial staff write it for her. She does very little (as in, her hand never touches it) in the way of her own production, be it magazine, TV show or whatever. ~ Which isn’t necessary; whatever she does, she does it well — but if you suspect you don’t have enough time to do all that stuff, you shouldn’t be surprised to find that Martha doesn’t have enough time to do it all either. - MC
Well, of course, Martha doesn’t do those things herself, missbunny. Everyone knows that Martha uses oil of cassis to clean her 18th century cast iron serving utensils.
And I agree that the specific comment you reference sounds a bit stuck up. But admit it: Most people would content themselves with making baked beans on their wood stove. It’s just that Martha will show you how to do so much more with it. I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Many people will content themselves to open a can of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup and pour it over chicken for dinner tonight, but I sure as heck won’t. Does saying that make me stuck up?
Needs2know, I like Emeril, too. But there was even a Pit thread bashing him! :eek: