Yesterday, while I was getting ready for the day, I saw an old Martha Stewart magazine on the shelf. One would not guess by looking at my home, but I went through a short-lived obsession with her, in about 2005, at the height of her over-exposure. Back to the magazine on the shelf. I grabbed it and thumbed through. I thought, “Wait a minute. Is she the most brilliant living American?”
Since WWII, advertising has sold us everything from automobiles to household appliances with ease, convenience and time-savings as the buzzword. “Less work for me? It must be good. Let me pay you more than it would cost to do it myself.”
But wait. Where was our attention when Martha snuck up and built an empire off selling American women (mostly) “Doing It the Hard Way and Paying More For It”?
My grandma ran a tasteful home where people wanted to be. She grew her vegetables and her beef. It was considered turncoat to eat chicken. She did her tasteful home decor herself. She preserved food for the future. She cooked and hosted and considered it an achievement to have more people than last year. She passed along those skills to her daughter, my aunt. I sneaked them when no one was watching.
Martha’s way is always harder and more expensive than Grandma’s way. Grandma’s way makes my people feel loved in a way that Martha’s way couldn’t. Grandma’s way is free; every time I do it Martha’s way, she gets a cut.
Is homemaking (or keeping) a lost art? Does a generation who may have come up without seeing Thanksgiving dinner made (or the sheets changed) need someone impart to them skills that used to be handed down in the family?
Or is she just selling back to us what used to belong to us by rights?
Who taught you to take care of your home? Mom? Aunt? Grandmother? Dad?
What is your cleverest homekeeping trick?