marthabfcoverdvdrackmarthabfBUY IT AT AMAZON: CLICK HERE!
STUDIO: Warner Bros.
MSRP: $19.98

RUNNING TIME: 209 Minutes
• Classic Pie Gift
• Bloopers

• Printable recipes and instructions

• Baking Pantry 101

• Printable recipes and instructions

• DVD-ROM and web-based tips

The Pitch

“God knows the fattest society on the planet needs more dessert ideas.”

The Humans

Martha Martha Martha!

The Nutshell

Martha Stewart is back with more recipes and cooking techniques and no, she’s not making radiator stew or toilet wine (that’s my last Martha/prison joke, but I did a search for “prison cell recipes” and Martha’s name was in the summary of the second link, so blame the felon, not me). Possibly serving as a companion to Martha’s Holidays 2005 DVD Collection (read my review here and buy it from Amazon here), this DVD is all about Martha’s best baking secrets from her TV cooking shows. You get lots of recipes for pies, cakes and cookies of every kind as well as a ton of basic tips for those of you who didn’t grow up with a working mother and a Betty Crocker cookbook to keep you and your younger sister entertained (our support group meets at the library on Tuesday nights for those who want to come).

Contains a toilet plunger, ransom note and severed foot.

The first section of the DVD deals with pie crust, but before that Martha tells you about the various types of baking pans and what they are used for. You wouldn’t want to bake muffins with a cookie sheet, for instance. Then it’s on to the crust. Martha makes her basic pie crust, which she chooses to call pâte brisée, then she invites a guest to make a standard tart dough, which he calls pâte sucrée. Vivé le pie, I suppose. Then Martha shows you how to decorate the edge of your crusts by crimping it in various ways or adding leaves made from the extra crust. Special tips in this section talk about how to freeze your pie crust and the time-consuming but necessary step of blind baking your tart crusts before you fill them. A cake stenciling lesson is oddly out of place here.

Section two is full of cake recipes, from the ultimate chocolate layer cake to a bloody red velvet cake and Boston Cream Pie (which is really a cake). You’ll find that you can change the flavor of your cakes in myriad ways, but you can’t fuck around with the basic recipe if you want the cake to come out right. Exactitude is a must in the cake world, whether you’re trying to make angel food, sponge, or regular old “cake” cake. The next set of chapters offers recipes to use with your newly-acquired pie crust skills. The blueberry crumble pie looks ridiculously good, as well as the black bottom pie, peach cobbler and banana cream pie, among others. Those with hyperglycemia should have stopped reading a long time ago, but the rest of you can continue on to the cookie recipes. The kitchen sink cookies include oats, nuts, coconut, raisins and chocolate chips. That’s just crazy. The rhubarb shortbread cookies seem surprisingly appetizing. There are a few other recipes for your cookie pleasure. Cookies represent the perfect portable desserts, and if you make them for your kids or loved ones on a regular basis I’m sure they won’t grow to hate you.

Page 34 discusses cream pies, Tara Reid.

The Package

Martha just loves the Vaseline lens (no one has asked the lens how it feels about Martha), and it does give her show a dreamy quality that is strangely endearing. I’m not even going to mention the audio because, get real, it’s a cooking show. Those lilting guitar intros are never going to be released on CD.

The special features section contains a couple of video segments. The first one is a Martha “good thing” gift idea in the form of a pie kit wrapped in a large kitchen towel. The second video is a blooper reel. Martha laughs and grimaces through flubs, fires and forgetful guests. It’s refreshing to see that she has a sense of humor. The DVD-ROM features consist of printable recipes and instructions for the recipes presented on the DVD. A generous amount of information is also available as web links, including the basics of a successful baking pantry, a glossary of decorative icing pastry tips, how to make various consistencies of meringue and whipped cream, what to do with your leftover dough, and the secret to making a crisper crust.

Martha wanted to party. Jeannie just wanted to bake the

goddamned lasagna.

The Lowdown

What can I say? Once again, Martha has put out a packed-to-the-gills recipe and cooking DVD that should please any lover of oven-warmed sweets. This stuff is almost beyond criticism. The woman knows her baked goods. So why do I feel so cold and empty inside? Again, Martha’s delivery just rubs me the wrong way. I suppose it goes both ways. If you want to learn how to cook and you don’t mind Martha’s icy personality (or if you’re just too nice to recognize it), this disc will please you greatly. If, on the other hand, you have a natural aversion to autocrats who make their fortunes from the things your grandmother spent decades in the kitchen doing for little gratitude and no compensation, you may want to steer away from Martha’s world.

I’d personally like for her to continue cooking on TV, but in another format. She shouldn’t be torturing young business types on The Apprentice, she does that enough in her other professional ventures. She should have a cooking show for the super wealthy. It could be called The Rich Kitchen, and the premise would be for Martha to visit her fellow billionaires in their homes and cook a meal with them. It would be fun to watch Bill Gates, Rupert Murdoch or maybe Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad discover first where their kitchen is located and then how their daily meals are usually prepared by gracious indentured servants. The program would offer a little dose of humility to the power mongers of the world, in the same way that Martha gives a taste of aristocracy, filtered through home-spun talking points, to the those less-fortunate viewers of her show.

I’m craving something salty.

7.5 out of 10

"Are you sure Elizabeth Bathory made cakes with it?"