Opinion

Off the Record

"This isn’t Martha’s fruitcake recipeOne thing you should never do is tell people what you’re gonna do. Case in point. Shortly after Thanksgiving I announced to a number of friends that I was planning on baking this holiday season. “I didn’t know you liked to bake!” commented one gal pal, who knows my idea of spending time in the kitchen is watching the man of the house create a gourmet dinner for eight.“Actually, I love to bake,” I said defensively. “I really enjoy making cookies, bread and candy for Christmas …I just haven’t done it in awhile.” My gal pal was not convinced.So when I read in TV Times about an upcoming Christmas special, “Martha Stewart Home for the Holidays – The Family Tree,” I knew I had to tune in. I was sure the Marthameister would have plenty of baking tips to get me off my couch and into the oven.First off, Martha’s specials have about as much zip as a can of caffeine free Diet Pepsi left out overnight. Talk about flat. With a wimpy opening tune of “We Wish You a Merry Xmas,” Martha gave her welcoming speech while young members of her family bumped up the warm and fuzzy quotient. Even Martha’s mom was called in for the big holiday show, looking somewhat more frozen than David Letterman’s mother did from the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway. Then there were the token children of Martha’s staff making homemade snow globes out of recycled pickled herring jars. The young boy looked petrified every time Martha barked something and the young girl…well, I think it finally dawned on her that she was going to be teased relentlessly for her appearance on Martha’s show. Uffda!Next was a segment about Martha’s personal Christmas tree, none other than a 28-foot-tall Norway Spruce loaded with 160 large grapevine balls covered with strands of 100-200 lights each. That’s a total of 42,500 lights on one stinkin’ tree! You can bet Martha’s power company is pleased as punch over that display of decadence.On to the pet segment with Paveto the Parrot perched on Martha’s shoulder (I’m sure she selected her sweater set to complement Paveto’s designer poop). There were calling birds, French hens, turtledoves and a partridge without a pear tree. Oh, plus Harvey the Bunny and Norman the Dog.Finally, it’s off to the kitchen and through the TV crew…but what’s that I spy? None other than a laptop computer to make recipe cards for each batch of cookies. Martha, you’re becoming so hi-tech! I wonder if it has anything to do with the fact that Ms. Martha is seriously dating a younger fella from Seattle who works at the Big M. And I don’t mean McDonald’s.Finally, it was the debut of the kitchen duet of Martha “Queen of Good Living” Stewart and Aretha “Queen of Soul” Franklin. Since when did this duo swap potholders? While Martha looked on in dismay, Aretha fixed her “Traditional Miss Franklin’s Annual and Any Old Time Ham,” complete with French’s mustard and ginger ale. “I never use ginger ale in ham,” said Martha quietly. It was a strange holiday show, indeed. And no, I didn’t get any hot ideas that I’ll duplicate at home—I guess we’re running low on pickled herring jars. But here’s a fun recipe that’s making the rounds on the Internet. Read and enjoy. And don’t bake and drive! Fruit Cake Recipe1 cup butter1 cup sugar4 large eggs2 cups dried fruit1 teaspoon baking soda1 teaspoon salt1 cup brown sugarLemon juiceNuts1 gallon whiskeySample the whiskey to check for quality. Take a large bowl. Check the whiskey again to be sure that it is of the highest quality. Pour 1 level cup and drink. Repeat. Turn on the elctric mixer; beat 1 cup butter in a large fluffy bowl. Add I teaspoon sugar and beat again. Make sure the whiskey is still okay. Cry another tup. Turn off the mixer. Break two legs and add to the bowl and chuck in the cup of dried fruit. Mix on the turner. If the dried fruit gets suck in the beaterers, pry it loose with a drewscriver. Sample the whiskey to chek for tinsisticity. Next, sift 2 cups salt. Check the whiskey. Now sift the lemon juice and strain your nuts. Add one table. Spoon. Or something. Whatever you can find. Grease the oven. Turn the cake tin to 350 degrees. Don’t forget to beat off the turner. Throw the bowl out the window. Check the whiskey again. Go to bed.

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