Women who work outside the home do a not-so-delicate balancing act maintaining their home and preparing meals for their family. We are burdened by time constraints and our conscience playing full-color videos of the USDA healthy food pyramid; nowhere on there is KFC or McDonald’s.
Most of the time I rely on the old tried-and-true meals that I could prepare in my sleep. But sometimes … when there are no more episodes of CSI to watch, I aimlessly pick up the latest issue of Martha Stewart Living that’s on the coffee table. Yes, I know it is a mistake. My counselor, Harriet, at GMAA, Glossy Magazine Addicts Anonymous, warned me that was the tipping point.
I can hear her voice in my head, “Put it down, now!” I’m relatively certain that in a former life Harriet was a drill sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps. But right now, no one is watching. I’m home alone. What could it hurt? Besides, I might be flipping through and find a laundry tip that will make my whites whiter and my colors brighter. What could be wrong with that?
As my fingers caress the shiny pages, my eyes fall upon page after page of mouth-watering food. Briefly I wonder if Martha has ever considered adding little packets with just one tasting enclosed to each page like the perfume ads? Of course, she has, she’s Martha Stewart, the woman who became a zillionaire showing us how to improve on a million things that did not really need improving.
As I flip through the meal-planning section I stop at “How to Throw an Elegant Soiree for 80 of Your Dearest Friends” feature. The instructions begin, “Have the staff wash and iron 90 of your favorite white-linen chair covers” (Martha always counts on a few party crashers), which implies that you could possibly have other white-linen chair covers that aren’t your favorite. Earth to Martha!
Chair covers are just the beginning, followed by table linens, multiple centerpieces with home-grown flowers, place cards from paper you made yourself, recipes with 57 ingredients sourced from foreign countries with which we have no international treaties, and finally, live background music from a close, personal friend, like Sir Elton John.
You would think that after seeing I could never possibly measure up to the high standards that Martha sets, I would cancel my subscription. But like a climber at the foot of Everest, I see the glorious summit and dream that maybe one day, I, too, can intimidate my dinner guests by decorating my entrees and accessorizing my vegetables. As for the place cards, I’m going to start right now by chewing up this page.