I used to have a soft spot for Martha Stewart. Her flagship magazine, Living, featured those clean-lined American homes which you don’t see elsewhere, recipes for food you’d actually like to eat, and beautiful photography that made works of art out of the simplest things. Martha even showed us how to cook a Thanksgiving meal for twenty and still have enough time and energy left to fashion place-names out of origami swans.
Then I made the mistake of following her on Facebook. Suddenly I was bombarded with Martha five or six times a day: urged to buy Martha’s Christmas tree decorations, Martha’s baking essentials, Martha’s home office supplies; Martha wanted us to choose which profile picture to use (good grief, Martha, it’s your page, you decide); Martha wanted us to ‘show our laundry room a little love’ (we don’t have one, Martha, could we just be mildly affectionate towards the shed?).
Suddenly it was over. My admiration was suffocated under a deluge of consumerism. I ‘un-liked’ her Facebook page and listened to the silence.
For old times’ sake I still pick up a copy of Living when I’m at an American airport. The photography is still impressive. These triple-chocolate peppermint fudge squares were painted from a photograph in the latest issue: they look almost abstract, or like pieces in some contemplative Zen board game. It’s a homage to an old flame.