When I was a girl, I watched Martha Stewart prepare for the holidays by making the most exquisite and complicated recipes. She sourced out the best ingredients, used only the best tools, perfectly measured and took care with each step. It is still one of my cooking goals to make homemade croissants the “Martha Way”. She does everything meticulously and handmade.
I have cooked by some of Martha’s recipes, and I have to say: they are some of the best I have ever used. Martha knows cooking. And organizing, and gardening, and hostessing, and decorating, and just about every other homemaking thing.
Except the most important thing.
Sad to say, but it seems while Martha Stewart was busy perfecting “homemaking” the heart of her home was falling apart. I haven’t read much about her, and I don’t want to speculate on the private affairs of anyone, but I know her marriage ended, her daughter made a television program mocking her mother, and we all know about her time in prison. Clearly, perfect recipes and wrapped packages aren’t what make a home.
I’ve always thought it was interesting that Martha Stewart and biblical Martha had the same name. Something about that moniker just means homemaker and hostess extraordinaire, I suppose.
At this blog, we are Recovering Martha’s. Biblical Martha experienced a transformation of her faith and learned to focus on Jesus first, details later. (John 11:21-22)
That’s our goal too: to lay aside the stress and manage our homes with grace and dependence on Him. Jesus first. Details later.
That’s the “Martha Way” I want to aspire to now.
That’s the Martha Way I will refer to on this blog.
Cooking the Martha Way here means getting yummy food on the table in a timely manner without nit-picking the details. I don’t want you to spend hours in the kitchen. It’s all about creating time in our day to focus on the things that are most important.
Martha Way cooking is more of a method than a recipe: Ingredients measure roughly (unless baking); food prepared based on flavor combinations, not strict recipes; time spent planning rather than preparing.
These are the rules (subject to change). They’re more like guidelines, anyway.
- Meals should require no more than 30 minutes active kitchen time. Active kitchen time means you can throw together a casserole in 10 minutes but let it bake for 45.
- Ingredients should be fairly simple, available at Walmart or other local grocery store. If you have to go to a specialty store, that’s not simple.
- Recipes should require a basic set of tools. More tools means more cleaning, storing, organizing. That’s the old Martha, worried about too many things.
- Recipes should be flavorful and nutritious. Food serves two purposes, pleasure and nourishment. If either of these is neglected, we aren’t satisfied.
- Mistakes allowed. Learning to cook without an explicit recipe is an art as much as a skill. Sometimes, the chicken will be too salty. It’s ok. Just serve more water. 🙂
When mood and occasion strikes, you can certainly go all out. Cooking is a creative process and sometimes we enjoy the fancy tools, exotic ingredients, and complex processes. If that’s you–go for it! Just be sure to give yourself grace when you need to do a simpler meal.
If you’ve never cooked before, I’m going to hold your hand and guide you through it. One of my dreams is that my daughters (and son) would one day be able to read these recipes/methods and learn to cook from them. If you experienced cooks feel that I’m talking down to you, please understand that I am trying to make sure we are all on the same page.
I hope you find peace at your table and joy in your kitchen!
Here are some recent Martha Way recipes to try:
Tell me, how often do you cook dinner for your family?