The Magical Mystical World of Jane (Or How to Beat Martha Stewart)

The Magical Mystical World of Jane (Or How to Beat Martha Stewart)

I love Martha Stewart. I really do. Really.

I read her magazine, buy her books, and watch her television show. I order things from her catalog.

But no matter how much I read, watch or spend, I know that I will never be her. Never.

It isn’t for the lack of trying. She makes being perfect look so easy. Of course, Ginger Rogers made dancing with Fred Astaire look easy too, but I never, ever once imagined that I ever could pull that off. That was fantasy, and I knew it.

But not with Martha.

I’ve been watching Martha and her friends prepare for Thanksgiving all week. They’ve stuffed, boned, blackened and garnished — almost makes me think I could do it.

And that’s the trouble with Martha. She seems so real.

The only way you can tell that she isn’t, is when she stands next to a real person. Like her friend Jane.

I like Jane. She only cooks twice a year. She uses disposable pans. She knows that food comes from cans.

I (who used to tape every episode of Martha’s show) loved the segment when Jane showed Martha how to make a canned ham. Her secret ingredient was a can of Coke poured over the top.

Jane is the only person I’ve ever seen who can actually stump Martha Stewart when it comes to food.

Jane is preparing her recipe for blackened turkey when she tells Martha to hand her the ginger. Martha hands her a tiny antique bowl containing a choppy, translucent, amber substance.

“What’s this?” Jane asks.

“It’s ginger,” Martha says. “Chopped candied ginger. It has such a nice crystallized texture.”

Jane eyes it suspiciously, but uses it anyway, since it’s obvious that’s all Martha has on hand, but avows that the ginger she always uses is a powder that comes out of a jar.

Martha is perplexed. “Where would you find something like that?”

“Well, it isn’t that hard to find,” Jane says. “You go to the spice aisle at the grocery store and look under the letter ‘g’ for ginger.”

Martha is stumped. Grocery store? Spice aisle?

Now, if Jane had told her she bought powdered ginger directly from caravans as they arrived from the Orient, and the trick was to get there early, before the camels had a been given a chance to get a drink, Martha would have nodded and said. “Right.”

And in next month’s issue, “Visit spice caravan — early.” Would be there on Martha’s calendar, along with “Count canaries” and “Inspect beehives.” And I am not making this up. About the canaries I mean.

The incredible thing is that when I read these things, I never think to myself. “Count canaries? Do canaries multiply so quickly that you can’t keep track of them from one month to the next?”

Could it be that you would go in to feed your canaries and find that they’ve invited all their freeloading relatives to stay for the winter?

No. I would just think to myself, “I see Martha’s counting her canaries today. Must be so she’ll know how many she had before she leaves for Japan tomorrow. Probably going to bring them back some special organic birdseed. You know, I need a canary. I’ll bet there’s a really neat birdcage in Martha by Mail…”

Jane would never do that. Jane has Martha Stewart kryptonite.

Jane takes the turkey out of the oven, and just as she said, its spice coating had turned it black as coal.

Martha asks her what she uses to garnish. Jane hesitates, and then says sometimes she uses parsley, but you get the idea that maybe Jane doesn’t even garnish the turkey before she puts it on the table!

Not Martha. She has a platter of oak leaves and pomegranates on the counter, which she deftly arranges around the turkey. Jane looks on, amused. She tells Martha she’ll have to hunt around for some oak leaves.

But after Martha gets that black turkey on the platter and surrounds it with oak leaves and pomegranates, I find myself thinking. “I can do that!”

Wal-Mart sells pomegranates. I’ve got an oak tree right in my back yard, and I am absolutely sure I can cook a turkey until it turns black – spices or no spices.

And if I finish my canary-counting early, I can probably make it to caravan before they sell out of ginger!


Let’s see if we can stump Martha with this recipe.


Strawberry Salad


  • 1 can of strawberry pie filling (Why yes, Martha, pie filling does come in cans.)
  • 1 large container of Cool Whip (No need to strain your whisking arm.)
  • 1 small can crushed pineapple (Requires a special utensil we call a can opener.)
  • 1 can Eagle Brand milk (I bet even Martha would use it.)
  • Chopped pecans (optional)

Mix everything together and chill well.

Garnish with oak leaves, if desired.

1 Comment

  1. Jane
    Dec 1, 2012

    Hi Karla — Love it!

    Jane (Summer’s not Martha’s)

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