Mad Martha is increasingly looking like the Glenn Greenwald of fud: hopelessly polarizing. I have my issues but would like to remind every detractor: She went to prison, while Jamie Dimon will undoubtedly get a bonus. And the fine for his shenanigans amounted to about half what the Republican shutdown of the government for two weeks cost. Meantime, she at least she has now reminded people there are still bloggers. Blogging.
Also on my hiatus, I kept seeing new sand kicked in Martha’s face constantly. Whatever its intent, all it achieved was reminding me and probably many more that she was one of the only ones to go to prison for financial chicanery in that whole era of excess and deception. No wonder she had to be bleeped on “Wait, Wait.” Where she also rubbed their presumptuous noses in both Spam and Velveeta.
Some recycling here: In one day I saw “enterance” and “osco bucco” and also Rocco’s food truck, and that last is the fork stuck in that trend: It’s done. Also in my travels around this little island I came across a mention of a “pea soup floater” and would not want to find that even in the litter box. I also see we can just skip Lent — the Easter candy has arrived. I was mostly amused while others were outraged that a nobody made the front page for losing her teevee gig over plagiarized recipes. It’s full circle for Ms. Perfect, from perp to victim. And finally: “Taste bud map of Italy” sounds like a boot in your mouth.
This is nothing personal on the phenomenon formerly known as Mr. Cutlets, especially since he once bought me a cheezburger and let me make an ass of myself as he was starting his first “real media” gig. But the Tweets about his take on the end of Ms. Perfect’s teevee run make me worry he has mastered the Clickiverse a little too well — call it “say anything.” Whatever killed her show, it was not a disconnect from America in hard times. Her whole grand scheme started, after all, in the Reagan recession — my going-away gift from co-workers on the national desk at the NYTimes in 1983 was a copy of “Entertaining” that they’d bought for $45, nearly what Keller’s opus went for a full 16 years later. Her whole schtick has always been selling an inaccessible lifestyle. Didn’t this country survive the first Depression through fantasy? And I definitely don’t buy the notion that the EVOO One is the new false idol. Once upon a time in America, Jeff Smith was Martha’s big competition. High and low always coexist on the gravy train. So let me rephrase that “say anything.” I meant to type “verbal mandrill.”
Of course, by granting cover to the craptastic, I’m guilty, too. I was fascinated by the Guardian’s recent dredging up of a contemporary review of one of my idol’s cookbooks. And it is pretty damned damning. But it also made me realize how seldom you see the truth hurting these days. I’ve Tweeted that “on the internet, everyone knows you’re an idiot,” but it’s equally true that logrolling has overwhelmed any attempts at honesty, at least outside of the comment sections. Print is not only not dead. It’s dominated by shitshows, yet every book’s a winner. And not only can you recycle recipes at will, you can even get an old-line book deal. If only the only woman who went to jail in the financial meltdown had known: Just add a fucking adjective to your purloined shrimp toasts and you’re even more golden.
A typically artful Ann Telnaes cartoon has a woman baking special gingerbread men and her daughter cheerily biting the head off a little Darth Cheney. Not sure even I could bring myself to do that, which makes me wonder about this trend toward passing out cookies with people’s photos imprinted on them. I didn’t even break the cellophane on the Martha Stewart with horns, but the Daniel at Versailles from the “Last Supper” party was harder to resist, despite the fact that the actual chef was surprisingly warm to me as I left. A cookie from Bouchon is a cookie from Bouchon, after all. So the thing sat on a kitchen counter for a couple of days, nibbled on by my consort and me until only a little tiny Frenchman on an ort remained. It was the longest-lasting cookie in our history. Maybe a Chimp face should be plastered on every Whopper bun. The obesity rate would drop overnight.
You know you’re getting ancient when hors d’oeuvres from Martha’s first books are passed and they don’t taste ridiculous. We were all wide-mouthed and innocent a quarter of a century ago, before the world was so awash in food information 24/7 that cartoon characters could be hired to throw ingredients around ridiculously on the teevee. Almost every other aspect of the quick roast at high heat, though, hit its mark, whether the Bitch wine poured beforehand or the explanation of why a fume blanc was served (Robert Mondavi coined the name — a spin on pouilly-fume — but was not so greedy as to try to trademark it). The Control Queen should only have been savvy enough to realize the best rule in pushover partying is very simple: First you marinate the neighbors.