A 1950’s wife in a 2011 life!

July 6, 2011

And so, it begins…

A few years back, I sat down on the living room floor and began thumbing through various cookbooks that belonged to my mother and great aunts.  Treasures of a life since passed; a time of fabulous recipes for family meals, homemade pies, and bake sale treats.  And as I read with guilty pleasure, I couldn’t help but feel somewhat annoyed.  Yes, annoyed.  Homemade crusts? Dough from scratch?!  Who has that kind of time? Oh Julia…Oh Betty… Oh, even you, Martha (my favorite)…How could you have known how busy we’d become? That your hours of dedication and  meticulous recipes would end up essentially obsolete to us?  “A Perfect Pie”- seriously? It was just all too much to think about.  Cautiously, I thought “some other time”, and backed away from the books.

But it was too late.  I was captured; haunted by the images of rustic tortes and homemade soups.  Captivated by the notion of Sunday roasts and cakes on pedestal plates.  Somehow, my pre-prepared one skillet frozen wonder of modern convenience seemed so empty.  Where was the soul in this food? (Sucked out when it was vacuum packed, no doubt!)  It seemed to me, in that moment, that our ever-present quest to “go go go” and streamline our needs, we’ve forgotten one very crucial detail. 

And that, is this: Food is meant to nourish the soul as much as the body.

And in that moment, staring at the empty bag that now symbolized my empty dinner, Modern Martha was born.  That tiny spark of a notion that perhaps, it didn’t have to be this way; that spark that said “Hey Jenny, maybe, just maybe, you could have both.”  Hmm. That’s an interesting concept.  Somewhere, I am certain that Julia Child is rolling over in her grave as I type this, and so in that sense, I will also say this:  If ever I should meet Martha Stewart, since I obviously can’t personally apologize for the horrors I’d have inflicted upon dear Julia, I hope that Ms. Stewart won’t be irritated that I’ve somewhat borrowed her name and yet totally changed what it stands for.  I hope she’ll understand that while women of my generation may love her books, magazines, and products, that we simply don’t have time to say, debone a chicken on a Tuesday evening.  No offense, Martha, but we’ve got things to do!  In any case, I hope these magnificent women whom inspire me each day, will understand.

So why Modern Martha?  Well, it came to be my title out of jest fun and a light bit of teasing.  Of my friends and age bracket colleagues, I consistently am the one who cooks up new recipes, is “crafty”, and could be teleported to the 1950’s and fit in without so much as blinking an eye…right down to my vintage Pyrex bowls and vintage inspired apron.  It makes my friends giggle, and also makes them give me house plants- which, ironically, I kill instantly…Apparently my Martha only goes so far!

At any rate, I suppose it was inevitable that I’d end up here…at the crossroads of classic and convenient.  So here’s to an experiment in seeing if 2 world can co-exist when they collide.

Happy reading, and more importantly, happy eating!

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