STUDIO: Warner
MSRP: $14.98
RATING: Not rated
RUNNING TIME: 203 minutes
• Direct Internet link to printable recipes and instructions
• Trailer for Martha

The Pitch

“Cookbooks? What the fuck are those?”

The Humans

Martha Stewart

The Nutshell

Who doesn’t love baked goods, specifically cookies? Health conscious jerks put your damn hands down before the large Marge next to you eats it. It’s no secret that as a whole, society is a gluttonous mess. No sense fighting it. Let’s get baking, Martha style! (boring and precise)

The Lowdown

When you have a title like Martha’s Favorite Cookies, there should be no surprise as to the content. Martha’s all business, serving up 33 cookies, all of which look pretty damn tasty. If you’ve got a thing for butter, this is your porn. The disc is part of a series of releases featuring the best of Martha Stewart Living. As with most best of releases, there is absolutely no new footage. Not even an introduction from Martha. The menu opens with your choice of cookie types. The cookies are lumped into seven categories: molded, sandwich, drop, bar, refrigerator, rolled, and piped cookies. A lot of traditional cookies are featured, with a few unique recipes. Some personal favorites include mudslides, chocolate caramel surprise, chocolate crackle, and peanut butter cookies.

Martha loves the long ball
Her slugging percentage silenced the critics of her unorthodox stance.

For the most part, all you get is Martha. Only four out of the 33 recipes include a special guest. Those four segments are pretty awkward. While making rocky ledge bars, Martha enlists the help of a 12-year-old kid on his birthday. The pair begin adding candles to the finished mound of cookies. The kid wants to put on 13 candles. One extra for luck. Martha refuses, saying, ‘oh no, you never do that.’ He’s dead now. The other segments feature assistants and chefs sharing their recipes, while Martha undermines them at every turn. She seems much more comfortable not taking orders from anyone. She always has to chime in with her own little advice to improve the recipe.

These segments are a long way from the latest incarnation of Stewart. I’m not ashamed to admit that I find the current version of her show oddly watchable. She’s become less of stiff, opening up a bit and having fun. Some of her celebrity interviews are even entertaining. Occasionally, they’ll stray from the scripted diatribe spouted on every other talk show. Unfortunately, that version of Martha doesn’t show her face on this DVD. Nope, you’re stuck with the Martha that says perfect and golden brown with strange robotic efficiency.

The torch for the Obese Games was scrumptious.

All of the recipes seem easy enough to make. Martha does her best to show all of the necessary steps in the baking process. That’s all well and good, but not once are the directions shown in written form. It couldn’t have been that hard to add the ingredients in a scroll along the bottom of the screen, or along the side. This would have been an effective way to improve the presentation without losing any precious Martha face time. This shouldn’t be like her television show, where it pays to leave the ingredients unlisted, forcing viewers to visit Martha’s website. People have spent money on this disc, give them the directions as you demonstrate. Without the directions, what’s the point? How is this easier than going off of a cookbook?

However, credit needs to be given where credit is due. Martha Stewart has her shit together. I wouldn’t go to any other source if I had a home décor or baking need. You don’t build an empire without some basic understanding of the subject matter. She’s natural in front of the camera and her interesting facts about the cookies and their ingredients don’t feel scripted, with one exception. While baking molasses cookies, she begins reciting all kinds of fun facts with cue card reading crazy eyes. It was quite mesmerizing.

It’s also extraordinary to watch the ease at which she makes the cookies. If only everyone could crack an egg and extract the whites as skillfully. It’s masterful. That being said, she’s nothing without her Kitchen-Aid electric mixer. Only during one recipe does she mix by hand. Weak. Sometimes the shot lingers on the mixer after it’s finished. Every time I waited, expecting it to say some horrendous Flintstones ‘It’s a living’ type quip. Sadly nothing, not even a crudely drawn thought bubble.

You know you want it.

Martha’s Favorite Cookies is decent enough for what it is. Why it needs to exist is beyond me. Whatever happened to cookbooks, or family recipes handed down through generations? Alas, cookies aren’t made that way anymore. It’s all a fucking travesty. Forget it Jake, it’s Martha Town.

The Package

A large quantity of delicious cookie recipes aren’t enough, you ungrateful swine? Don’t be such a greedy son of a bitch. A trailer for the current syndicated show Martha is the only extra. It shows exciting footage of the newer, more entertaining, incarnation of the host. You can also find a direct Internet link to printable recipes and instructions. This really shouldn’t be considered a special feature. The recipes should be front and center. Why should I have to visit her website just to see the instructions in print? Oh yeah, because it’s all still part of a cold corporate entity, hell bent on crushing your soul, no matter how homely the kitchen set looks.

The audio and video are television show quality, and that’s all that is needed. The cover art features a cookie I can’t recall Martha even making. It’s an impressive looking cookie, sure to grab the eye of any amateur uptight perfectionist baker.

Mi boca es en fuego!
Martha’s long lost Telemundo audition tape.

4 out of 10