new York state of mind(s)

Sorry for the lack of posting lately, but you see, I have been away.

To The MARTHA Show.

As in THE Martha. You know who she is. We all love to hate her, we all hate to love her. It’s the truth, and you know it. It’s just that no one really wants to admit it. We are all, men and women alike, jealous as hell of that woman. She’s like Andy Dufrain in The Shawshank Redemption – she was rich, had an unfortunate vacation in a place we do not discuss, then crawled through the crap to come out clean and richer on the other side. Except Andy crawled through half a mile of sewer, and Martha just had to wear a prison poncho knitted with a couple of shivs. Well, I am here today to say it out loud. No fear. Okay, maybe a little bit of fear.
Being invited to come to the show was a real treat. There are what? Half a billion people in America? And they ask ME to bring a pie? That’s pretty amazing. Probably a mistake, but amazing nonetheless. So the real prize is that I was asked to come. Now that that has been said, I’m going to release the inner Angel and Demon and let them both speak. The Hate to Love’r and the Love to Hate’r, both on display. I’ll let each one speak as they want, often in the same sentence. You’ll know who’s who.

This could get ugly.
So. We show up to the studio in Chelsea, not knowing at all what to expect. It is of course, clean and very…pastel. Crisp. It is a big B because once you are inside, there is apparently some iron magnetic substance from the future lining the brick as your iPhone is rendered absolutely useless, and you are one of the many snappy dressers sitting in a holding pattern until being shuttled off to the set. You may purchase many of Martha’s medium quality products at full or above MSRP prices, so feel free to do that and forgo your child’s tuition or braces. God knows everyone needs a $60 hoodie with a pastel patch on the sleeve to wear while sprinkling $20 worth of Martha glitter on Christmas cards you’ll never really make. It’s almost like buying a timeshare. You want to check the prices on Amazon, or maybe have your sister back home go in Halvsies on that Glitter Kit and tote bag, but damn if the Twitter won’t work and you can’t write on her FaceBook wall either. Total Suckage. So you pretty much just sit there and shake.

About the time you are considering leaving because it is awfully hard to breathe without use of Tweetdeck, the little headset folks come to give you your 32nd reminder to USE THE BATHROOM NOW OR ELSE and then you get the Happy Man Billy to instruct you on how to clap, how to say yum, how to giggle speech. Good thing, too, because the pressure? It’s disconcerting.

It was in this stuffy holding pattern recession free shopping room that I first noticed HER. Little old lady, feeble, hunched over, sweet as a newborn kitten, mewing to her younger counterpart two rows up from us. How sweet. She has a cookbook. With her picture on it. Ah Shiz…the crew all know her by name. She is smiling at them, I never hear her utter a sound higher than her kitten mew. I think perhaps she may need some kind of IV drip to make into into the show. Precious, really. Poor little thing. She is the Martha Charity Case. This Martha is a smart lady. This is going to be Shiv Poncho Martha’s finest moment.

Now it s time to go upstairs, finally, after waiting around for over an hour. First impression? Holy nuts. We walk into the set and right away we are bombarded with the gravity of a Martha Stewart Pie Competition…there are 170 pies, all laid out on two gigantic farm tables set beneath some pretty fall trees and a not handmade handmade Country Pie Bake Off Sign, straight out of The Long Hot Summer except without Paul Newman. Our seats are fantastic…second row off the floor. Should have been great. Not a bad seat in the house. However, with 8 cameras, a boom, 42 assistants and enough McCoy Pottery to feed a third world country, there was also no good seat in the house. (Let me add one stipulation to that…the Stage Manager. It was fine if he was in the way. Sexy McDenim pants and his army hat had the backside of a NFL quarterback.)

So we are waiting. In our seats. Do not move from your seats. Ever. That’s a no-no. And turn off your cameras and phones and pacemakers, as these will upset the Martha. she is coming. (no, she isn’t. Yes she is. No, she isn’t.) Then YAY! CLAP! Here she cooooomes! STOP CLAPPING NOW. (Okay? Is it just me? This woman is drunk…AND she has “I just needed a little nap” hair in the back. But that’s okay. The back doesn’t get Air Time.)

Our 4 esteemed judges are introduced, then one of them, Karen DeMasco, pastry chef at Robert DeNiro’s restaurant gets in the kitchen with The Martha and they set about to making a Butterscotch Pie. Don’t test the caramel with your finger, Martha tells us (well, bloody hell, M, it’s 300 degrees, that’s a given.) or you’ll end up with scars all over your hands just. like. her. (Why did it take her so many times to figure that out? I think she has no Pavlovian responses.) It is also at this point, Big M tells us, for no reason whatsoever, that she was in her office floor doing yoga positions before the show. However, I may have mis-heard that, and she MAY have said Jaeger positions. Does Jaeger even come in a keg? Hmmm. That could explain the hair thing. I won’t tell you what my sister called it. It’s not a nice word to say out loud.

Anyway, the rest of the show proceeds at an almost wormhole in time pace, and the judges continue eating a bite or two of each and every one of the 170 pies. (Hey! That’s cheating! They are picking up the pies and looking underneath to see who made them! Something is smelling fishy in Chelsea and it ain’t the yoga positions if you get my drift. Something’s brewing…) By the way, the Martha is eating her fool ass off over there. Double dipping. It’s NOT a good thing. But anyway.

Then there is a segment where 5 pies are brought to the table to be discussed.

Fork, fork, forkity fork. Martha makes a small racial comment to a little Asian girl in the front row, suggesting that her Apple Pie was probably very difficult to transport all the way from…Asia. Dear Lord. That girl lived in Queens and took the Subway to the studio. Her apples came from Whole Foods. God knows, there are NO ASIAN LOOKING AMERICANS in AMERICA. They all come here from ASIA. On a plane. With Fuji apple pies. That little clip may be edited. You’d see me in that one, as I was in view behind Miss Fuji Queens. Orange sweater, scarf, blondish and fat. You’ll see.

Then she asks for Marjorie. Who is Marjorie?? asks the Martha.

I swear, there is the sound of someone pulling the string on her Chatty Cathy Doll and all of a sudden, IV Drip Granny from the waiting room is 4 feet 8 inches of No Doze and Red Bull, squealing about how much she loves candy and toffee and Pecan Pie and Crisco. It was perhaps the scariest thing I have witnessed in New York to date. The rest of us, well, we were holding back giggles, as Happy Man Billy hadn’t told us we were allowed to laugh, and besides, he was too busy not peeing in his pants himself to tell us what to do. The whole staff was in complete Sweet Jesus Mode. “Where did that woman COME from??” they wondered? She was on her death bed 5 minutes ago! And then, her Chatty Cathy string runs out and back down she sits, meow, meow, meoooow.

Was it any surprise that in segment 7, our final segment, that Grandma Methuselah was declared the winner? Um, no. Come to find out, she’s been on The Tonight Show several times. Rosie. Conan. Numerous radio shows. And that’s just the Talkies, people. God knows what all she did back in the days before motion pictures.You see, according to her website where she promotes her cookbook, she has won over 2500 Ribbons for her pies. Twenty. Five. Hundred. Let me explain to you the gravity of that.

That is one pie PER WEEK, EVERY WEEK, for 50 years. But you see, there aren’t county and state fairs every week of the year. So, perhaps she enters 10 contests a summer, during fair season. That would be A LOT. That would put this dear old lady at just about 250 years old. There may even be pictures of her in Lascaux. (Google it, folks, it’s a funny reference that only makes sense if your parents spent a small fortune on your Art History degree.)

She looks pretty good for her age. See for yourself on Monday, when you are first introduced. Then see her again on Tuesday, when she and The Martha make her Pecan Toffee Pie. I’m not saying it was rigged. I’m not saying the woman was pre-determined. I bet she can make a mean pie. She might even be the person who invented pie for all I know. I haven’t made 1% of the amount of pies that she has. I am also not immortal, nor do I have a long elastic string hanging out of my Spanx that needs pulling every so often to wind me back up, but I hope to one day. Yes, one day, that could be me.

Seriously though, we had no real Martha time. Kind of a let down, as the show ran so late that she had to run off to her Radio Show (or to the liquor cabinet or both). Normally, they say, you get to ask her a few questions. Not that I had anything to ask. She’s kind of frightening with that perfect posture and 6 foot tall stance. She’s a giant, I tell you. Really quite a presence. With presents! We each were given DeMasco’s cookbook, a nice Pyrex Pie server carrying case, and a cool pie crust cutty outty thingy. Oooh, and Chocolate. And 3 kinds of hand lotion, because hello? That makes sense.

By the way, both my sister and I are itching to make the Butterscotch Pie that was featured on the show. It smelled like heaven! Unfortunately for her, it is an Ice Box Pie, and she has no Ice Box. She does however have an X-Box, but getting an entire pie in that thing is going to take some effort… And who knows if it will even set once she DOES get it in there.

I feel sure there are lots of things I am leaving out. Oooh, like the time when we had to do a retake because Sexy McDenim Manager told Big M that she should just “read what it says on the Teleprompter, it sounds better,” and Big M nearly went postal. Yeah, that was cool. And the…Pomegranate Pie Lady. Dear Lord, please, for the sake of that poor woman, let them edit that out. But because I am NOT National Television, just in case they DO edit it out, here’s the run down.

We were told the WINNER. We were even told the 4 runners up. Everyone else? The other 165 Pies? We had no clue where we stood on a scale of 1 to 10. All except Pom Pie.

“Who made the Pomegranate Pie?” asks the Martha.
A little hand goes up.
“It would have been delicious, but it was RUNNY. Not Good.”
Damnation. A little head hangs. “I’m sorry.”
“Yes, not good.”

Oh. My. Lord. This woman was called out by the Martha. And made a fool of. Poor thing. She should chat with Grandma Yoda. I bet she’d know what went wrong. I mean, she did bring Pomegranates to America when she came over from Gondwana. She. Would. Know.
And that, my friends, is the true story of the day I went to The Martha Show. I bet I’m never asked back.
Stay tuned for more about my Big Apple trip and the meeting of fellow blogger Martha of CherrySpoon and my new buddy Gail, The Tough Cookie. It was one heck of a good time. Also, stay tuned for a Pizza Hut Update. It just keeps getting better. Until then, have a great weekend!!

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