As you all probably know, Martha fascinates me. BTW, have you noticed she’s just known as Martha now – like Cher or Madonna.
Anyway, I was watching one of her old shows on some crazy channel last week. Just when I thought I’d seen it all, I saw her fold a fitted sheet. Have you ever seen her do that? It’s witchcraft, I tell you. It cannot be done by a mere mortal.
In the same show, she created a cake for a child’s birthday party. The theme was old McDonald’s farm, and Martha showed us how to carve little cabbages and tomatoes – a good variety of produce, really- out of marzipan and how to hand-paint each piece.
It is one of the highest forms of insanity I have ever witnessed, and yet I could not look away. Who does this???!! What kind of person would carve vegetables out of almond paste and then tint them? For a child. I mean, you had to see this thing to believe it. It’s probably on YouTube.
The cabbages alone were tiny masterpieces. She didn’t just roll little green balls, no. They had individual leaves, with different shades of green. And don’t even get me started on the rutabagas.
The first time I ever saw her was on a PBS special about 30 years ago. She had a Thanksgiving special, and no one had ever heard of her. I watched this show with a friend. We went back and forth between disbelief and HOWLING with laughter.
She opened the show by telling us not to think we couldn’t have a crowd over because we didn’t have room. Improvise. Martha twinkled when told us that SHE was using the old tobacco barn behind her house.
Now, why the hell didn’t I think of that? Of course, I should have been using the old tobacco barn behind my house all this time. Problem solved. Dinnerware?
It seems that Martha has a special pantry just for her turkey crap. Really. Turkey platters, turkey carvings, turkey bowls, turkey napkins, turkey gravy boats, turkey molds – any one of which is worth more than my car.
She was like this strange, but mesmerizing bird, doing things so outrageous, things that no one would think of doing.
She was separating the skin from the breast of the turkey with her hand, and there was something almost sexual about it. She was doing it so that she could put herbal butter under the skin and also leaves of the herb to make a pattern. It was disturbing, yet compelling.
In retrospect, she had me when she wrapped one of the turkeys in puff pastry, and decorated it with “botanically correct” puff pastry leaves. I was hooked, and disappointed when the show ended.
We laughed, we cried, Martha became a part of us. Why? Because she believes so totally in what she is doing, whatever she is doing. No detail is too minor. No shortcuts tolerated. She doesn’t just visit a cranberry bog, Martha is out there, raking them in.
She is a media Megatron and she worked damn hard to get there.
Someday, I’m going to do some zany project of hers. She actually, and I am NOT kidding, had me thinking of what would be involved in beekeeping.
That’s the power of Martha.