Real Simple My A$$


How much do we love our home magazines? It’s porn. I read anything I can get my hands on.

Oh God, and the catalogs! Tell me you haven’t squealed just a little on the inside each time the Pottery Barn catalog turned up in the mailbox.

I can’t bear to throw them away. I once had 10 years of Martha Stewart Livings stockpiled until I finally parted with them. I tore out pages for future reference. Hey, there are important ideas, recipes, tips, and crafts I will never use in there! What if I suddenly need to make Croquembouche? What if I need to create a cosy for the blender out of linen and raffia? Years of accumulated knowledge from the Queen of Homemaking cannot simply be discarded, even if she doesn’t do any of it herself. I want Martha’s gourmet twist on the classic grilled cheese at my fingertips, or somewhere among thousands of magazine pages.

Want to know how anal I am? I organized all the recipes in 3 ring binders and categorized them. Yes I did. Thank you Martha.

Then along came Real Simple. Finally, a magazine that was more accessible, less fussy, more relatable.

My ass.

There is such an overwhelming amount of information in that magazine, that I had to go back on Ativan to prevent a nervous breakdown over the Holiday issue.

Also? I challenge you to find one recipe in there that can be served to an entire family, including kids. Somewhere among the quinoa, bamboo shoots, broccoli rabe, and the halibut with grilled eggplant, there has to be something an 8 year old won’t fling at the wall in utter disgust.

I have gleaned some valuable information from its pages that I can actually use if I can remember where to find it. I should have studied the Library Arts so I could catalog it all efficiently. Maybe they’ll do an article on how to organize and catalog the insane volume of information they’re churning out. I know that somewhere between the avocado/cilantro quesadilla recipe and new uses for bottle caps, that recipe for fingerling potatoes in a juniper berry demi gláce is waiting for me.

I have actually gone out on a limb and tried some of it. If any you have, I’d like some feedback on the reaction from your family and friends. Because I know people are visualizing me in a thin vacuum sealed layer of Saran wrap.

You know what I think? I think people just want to eat, drink, have a good time, sit down for an hour or two and just chill. I don’t think they’re particularly bowled over by hand embroidered sustainable napkins repurposed from grandma’s old drapes. And if The Barefoot effing Contessa, (who, by the way, has never been barefoot) thinks for one minute that any of us are out in our splendiferous gardens clipping hydrangeas in assorted colors as some sort of “earthy” enhancement for our brunch tables, then she’s been sniffing the “good” vanilla extract.

Let’s face it, when we see all these great ideas on TV shows and in magazines, we feel somehow inadequate, like we’re not reaching our full potential, being and doing all we can to make our lives and the lives of our loved ones that much better. But mother of pearl, if this Spring, I can put together a couple of Easter baskets, get dinner on the table, and bake something, all while stopping to get drinks, snacks and meals for every living being in this house at 5 minute intervals and still manage to scrape the dog shit off the floor in the dining room, I consider that a victory.

It’s time to call bullshit on the media! Norman Rockwell set us up. The Today Show be damned. You think Hoda Kotbe ever mussed a manicure to so much as open a carton of greek yogurt, let alone cook a five course meal? I love it when anchorwomen flinch during a cooking segment as if they’re being asked to handle human feces, when they’re only stirring pancake batter. They’re so perplexed. They’ve never been faced with the unfathomable possibility of having to do anything homey that didn’t require four inch heels and business attire.

Let’s keep it REAL. Let’s keep it SIMPLE. For real.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to finish this wreath I’m making out of bottle caps.

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