~Me= Martha wannabe~

This is a picture of the 200 year old house we used to live in, yes it was snowing. Back then I was a real Martha wannabe. I ADORED her & all she did & I wanted to do it to! She inspired my cooking, gardening & just about everything else. I made her turkey with herbs under the skin. It was easy to do & pretty, I thought. You put your hands under the skin to separate it from the meat & place the herbs in a pattern, it was supposed to resemble a mosaic. The whole meal was based on her recipes, not the standard Thanksgiving fare we always had. WELL…..Never again will I go through all that. My family turned up their noses at wine poached pears & roasted root vegetable gravy. My husband wanted his jellied cranberry sauce out of a can, not homemade! The turkey was cooked covered with cheesecloth…I don’t remember the exact recipe…it was very good though….but the whole meal was so much work! The turkey was garnished with home grown sage. Wasn’t it pretty??!!
Her pie dough, pate brisee, is the only pie dough recipe that works well for me, but I don’t care for her apple pie recipe. These old pictures make me laugh at how I staged them…..LOL
This is a black forest trifle…..the cookies on top were made from her cookie cutters. I have about 8 sets of her giant copper cookie cutters. One year I made a personalized cookie for everyone I knew & wrapped them up prettily in cellophane. It was during those crazy years that I had a Christmas party & made everything myself except the bread. I made all the appetizers, 2 main dishes & a salad with a dressing made with blackberry brandy. I cleaned & decorated, shopped, cooked, made centerpieces, planned the music….ugh…..it was too much for one person & it was then that I started to realize that Martha didn’t do all this by herself……what was I thinking? But she has inspired me to not be afraid to hide the fact that I like things like cooking, gardening & creating a nice home. The last time I was inspired by Martha was when she was released from jail wearing that great crocheted poncho that a fellow inmate made for her, I loved it, so I learned to crochet. Now I never watch Martha & rarely visit her website…..I’ve fallen out of love with her & I’m so glad! So what do you think about Martha, has she inspired you?

If you’re feeling like doing something a bit different with your turkey this year, you might try the herbs under the skin. Wow your guests & they might call you Martha too!
Behind the trifle is a limestone wall in the kitchen of the old house. We removed the horsehair plaster & had the stone repointed. It was beautiful.

Comments

  1. Alison Gibbs says:

    What a lovely old house.
    It is funny how we allow our lives to be sort of taken over by celebraties – we want to be like them. But hey, what’s wrong with the real us?? Absolutely nothing – we should all do whatever makes us feel good and be happy. Who really cares who cooked the turkey and made the pie. The guys just want to eat. They don’t care for all the trimmings. I say kick back relax and make sure we women enjoy the holidays too. Go buy some premade food as well as cooking and enjoy the celebrations.Don’t be too tired to enjoy yourself.
    Alison

  2. marylou says:

    You made me giggle so much! I think we ALL have tried the Martha route at one time or another. Now, with my kids grown I am very happy to pop a frozen pumpkin pie in the oven and call it a day:) I must say your home was lovely and your finished products looked YUMMY!! ~Thanks for sharing~
    Hug Life, Marylou

  3. Janet says:

    You know I love the cooking part of any holiday, but I hate the cleaning part. I usually just do as little as possible and hope that the homemade from scratch food makes up for everything else.

    I have never been a huge Martha fan and particularly since she had a Thanksgiving special one year when she entertained her guests in her GROTTO. How many people do you know who can or would want to do that?? Creepy and possibly a precursor (many years early) of a jail cell.
    Janet

  4. Rosie's Whimsy says:

    I used to be a “Martha-want-to-be” but I got too tired. It was hard trying to be perfect….now I just want to enjoy the time with my family without coming to the point of exhaustion.

    Oh, if you’ve never tried wrapping your turkey in bacon, I highly recommend it. It’s become a our family favorite.

  5. Sheila says:

    Deb hi, I am finding this out about this time of my life. I do love to create things. There are so many things I want to learn, but I am also learning to be careful to take care of myself. I love your former house and the one you have now. YOU inspire me….have a blessed day
    Hugs

    sheila

  6. Nan says:

    I have also tried to do the whole Martha dinner. Like your family, they want the old tried and true basic ol’ turkey and dressing.
    Today, on my post, I showed a home-made stocking that I made. Then I found the same thing on Martha’s site. Finally, I did something easy that Martha did.
    I watch her from time to time but rarely would I go to all that trouble.
    Nan

  7. Anonymous says:

    Oh honey, you are so much better as you are! I have mellowed on Martha a bit, perhaps after her time in jail, but she has never really inspired me at all. Many times I felt she was arrogant.

    I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving – no trying to be Martha! LOL

    tina

  8. bj says:

    Oh, I was already old enuf when Martha hit the scene that I knew all her things were WAAAAY too much work for me! And, as you said, she had tons of people helping her…in fact, they do all the work and she just “plays like”.
    Anyway, your posting was great!!
    bj

  9. Anonymous says:

    Hi Debra,
    Love the house and your Thanksgiving dishes were right out of an upscale magazine!
    Now what do I think of Martha, Well she lost me as a viewer years ago when she went and got honey from her beehive in her backyard.I knew at that point in time that I could never be a Martha because I am allergic to bee’s!
    Your home skills inspire me more anyway!
    Anna

  10. Brenda says:

    I love the house and your things. I will probably get stoned after this,but I never watch Martha. I have never read her magazine. I have no idea why she just never got my attention.

  11. Steph says:

    I love your old home! Do you have photos of the inside?
    Well, I love Martha, though have never tried to “be” her. Still try some of her recipes and don’t subscribe to her magazine anymore, just pick one off the newstand now and then!
    Many of my friends lovingly call me Martha!

  12. Linda says:

    What a beautiful old home, and loved seeing all the food photos.
    Martha caught me too. I still enjoy her magazine, I use some of her ideas and recipes but try not to get carried away with her perfection. Linda

  13. Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality says:

    Love the old house! Have always wanted one of those, but too scared of the upkeep from all the horror stories I’ve heard. But, your Thanksgiving dinner was beautiful (if staged, LOL!). I know what you mean about keeping things simple. My sister & cousin got the bright idea one Thanksgiving to make all these wonderful Southern recipes that were totally different that what the family usually went for. You should have heard all the grumbling from the men in the family! They hated it…so never again will they do that, I don’t think. It is too hard to be Martha…and I don’t think I’ve ever aspired to be like that. I do enjoy a lot of festive things & making things pretty, but I draw the line too. This year I have vowed to keep things simpler for my Christmas decorating, so I’m hoping to stay on task with that challenge, as I tend to go overboard with it all & want to outdo myself every year! Here’s to not being Martha!!

    This year, I don’t think I’ll be cooking much at all, we still don’t have our plans finalized on exactly where we will be when.

    xo,
    Rhoda

  14. Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality says:

    Ooop, make that Southern Living recipes in the above post!

    Rhoda

  15. Michelle E. ~ Vintage Pastiche' says:

    Your 200 year old house is my dream!! WOW! Was it tough to upkeep?

    I made the same turkey before and I think it was the best one I ever made.

    I too used to like Martha but then I realized she had a huge stick up her butt, what sealed the deal for me was reading a article about how all her animals stick within her black and white color scheme. Her draft horses aren’t let out during the day so their black coats won[t dull to brown in the sun.

    I LOVE YOUR style.

    *muah*
    Michelle

  16. PAT says:

    Hi Debra…I love the photo of your former home!

    That turkey looks spectacular, as do the pie and trifle.

    Have a great weekend, Pat

  17. Adrienne says:

    Your old house was wonderful! I love old houses and all the nooks and crannies and the character and personality they have. But some of the new homes are pretty nice, too.

    I tried to do the Martha things and things like several other well-known people and authors. It didn’t work so well for me because I got hung up with the details and I was exhausted the the people arrived. I couldn’t enjoy my family and friends and the relationships we had during those special times. One day I decided to decorate my home, cook and set my table for the ease and comfort of all involved, including me. What a freedom that brought. Now we just enjoy each other and have good food and pleasant surroundings that ‘fit’ our lives, not those of someone else. Lessons we learn along the road of life! ~Adrienne~

  18. Esther Sunday says:

    I was giggling, and then I got to the part that she didn’t do it all on her own! Yep, you are right! But to her credit, she has inspired so many when it comes to homemaking which is such a precious part of family life. I am sure your homemaking skills are above and beyond so don’t worry about it! Plus, you have to do some much/so little as to please yourself.

  19. Inspired Tokens says:

    What a lovely home, the snow looks so tranquil. I must confess I use to be a ‘want to be Martha’, but I decided I don’t have a large staff around me to help with the preparations so now it’s just me, just trying to make it all work.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Martha makes me feel not so human. I used to watch her years ago but when she said that it’s never good to have false greenery in your home then I had to give her up. Now I am glad I did. With a large family and so much to do, she’d make me feel all the worse~!

    I do adore your old home….and your new one as well! I enjoy coming here to escape and get ideas when hitting the yard sales and Good Will. Thank you for your blog.
    I am praying for your mother as well.
    In Christ,

    Susan
    http://www.homeschoolblogger.com/sandlappersue/

  21. Meggie says:

    As I entertain for Thanksgiving, I’d like my guests to enjoy their meal…so I prepare the meal that they are used to. I try new dishes for my girlfriends who might appreciate them. Your former home is lovely!

  22. Cindy ~ My Romantic Home says:

    I like Martha and I like that she made it cool to be domesticated. I don’t watch her show because I’m at work. I think that she has influenced me greatly but I’m not a huge, huge fan like some women are. I subscripe to her magazine because my mom gave me a gift subscription. I have to say that this month’s issue (Dec 07) is outstanding! I love her merchandise too…especially those goblets I had on my blog yesterday.

    Your photographs are so beautiful!

  23. joan says:

    Hi Debra,

    I love the house you used to live in. We also used to have a very old house. I’ll have to drag out some pics someday but the upkeep became too much for me with three tiny people and needed something easier. But there is nothing like those old places. Thanks for sharing. Have a good weekend.

  24. Lori says:

    Debra, Now that my dear is my kind of house! I have always dreamed of a big house and swore before I died I’d have one! Mine is old but not as big as I’d like, really thinking of adding on. Later, Lori P.S. We always forget don’t we…Martha has a staff who helps!!!!

  25. the feathered nest says:

    What a gorgeous old house! I can’t believe you did all that! I still admire Martha – but I realize she’s got tons of people working for her. The canned cranberry sauce made me giggle!

    Manuela

  26. KJ says:

    This is too close to home, although I have never made an entire Thanksgiving dinner. My Mom cooks wonderfully, but after so many years of watching her get stressed and being stressed by being around her stress, I have no desire to take on the operation. If she decides not to do it, I’m all for dining out!

    I am so impressed that you actually RECREATED her Thanksgiving shows! Your photos are beautiful! Honestly, when I watched those programs, I was ready for a nap when it was over!

    I have always known that Martha shines on camera, but as soon as they yell, “Cut,” a cast of thousands rushes in. (An old neighbor of mine worked with her.)

    On Thanksgiving, I enjoy contributing a dish, setting and decorating a beautiful table, eating, and cleaning up. Anything that robs the day of it’s pleasure is not worth it to me.

    Thanks for this insightful post! Oh and that glorious old home!!!

    KJ

  27. KJ says:

    Oh, and HAPPY 100TH!

    KJ

    P.S. I’m having a small Thanksgiving Giveaway at my place.

  28. ShabbyInTheCity says:

    This is a great post! Yes, she definately has a staff. Did you see blogger/fabric designer Anna Maria Horner on her show? AM was so cool…she told the Martha that she didn’t make her beds. Martha wanted to know who did it? NOBODY :) Haha! That tooks guts to tell Martha, huh?

  29. Susie Q says:

    The house is wonderful…and the food! Oh dear heart…I have never made anything that looked so beautiful in my life and I have tried believe me! But you know? My family is this way too! They want it the way they want it and forget all the fancies.
    I do watch her and have used many of her ideas for many things but I am guilty of doing her *easy* things. I got tired of the stuff that took forever! But then, she has a staff of people who do the prep and clean up! I could be a super cook if I had them!! Or, maybe not! *grin*

    You are so creative and special. I know that anything you do would be lovely.

    Have a sweet Thanksgiving!

    Hugs,
    Sue

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