Throughout December, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Martha Stewart Living magazine, I will examine 25 of the most memorable and influential people, moments and milestones at Martha Stewart's company over the last quarter century: the Martha Moments that fans are especially grateful for. I hope you enjoy these reflections on twenty-five years of excellence!
DECEMBER 16: THE RECIPES
Cooking has always been an essential component of Martha Stewart Living magazine. Not a single issue has been published without at least a dozen new recipes in its pages. While I am not an avid cook myself, it is certainly clear to me that the core content area most readers of Martha's magazine respond to is cooking. It makes perfect sense: central to the very idea of "Living" is the food we ingest, the meals we prepare and enjoy with our families and the menus we create for entertaining our friends. I many not spend a lot of time in the kitchen but I certainly enjoy reading about food, learning about ingredients and looking at beautiful photographs of the finished dish. (I have often been found reading cookbooks and recipes in bed before I fall asleep!) Few do food better than Martha Stewart Living.
What makes the food content unique in Martha's magazine is the imaginative and inspirational process behind a recipe's conception. There is a very well-thought-out plan behind the recipe offerings in each issue: they are seasonal, they are grouped by theme or food type and they are often grouped by purpose and function: dinner for four, a holiday buffet, a Valentine's Day brunch. The recipes are rarely just put on the page in a successive series. Instead, they are carefully structured into menus, which I know the home cook so appreciates. One of the biggest conundrums is what to serve with what. Martha usually takes it several steps further by showing us how to serve it, and helps us understand why the menu works so that we can become more confident the next time we are cooking or coming up with a plan for dinner ourselves.
Throughout the issues, Martha and her food editors have always sought to teach, another element that many magazines specializing in food and cooking seem to overlook. Martha tells us about the ingredients and we learn about their history in cooking. She not only shows us the techniques used to make certain dishes, she explains the science behind why it works. I suppose that's why I am so drawn to the food content in Martha Stewart Living. It's the knowledge I am gaining and the learning process that I most enjoy.