The October Issue

I picked up the October issue of Martha Stewart Living on one of the warmest September days I can remember. Wearing shorts and a t-shirt, I lunged for it on the newsstand. I NEEDED a dose of fall. The magazine dispensed it perfectly. It is not your average Martha Stewart October cover and that, as she would say, is a "Good Thing." I like Halloween, but occasionally it's nice to give the autumn season itself a bit of love - ghosts and goblins aside. The cover, with its multitude of shapely and colourful pumpkins and gourds, tucked somewhere gray at Martha's farm, is the perfect mix of joy and restraint: a photo by Ngoc Minh Ngo.

True Halloween devotees will be a tad disappointed with the scarcity of ghoulish content, but do keep in mind that we're in the midst of a pandemic and that trick-or-treating will look extremely different this year - if it happens at all. My assumption is that the editors are being cautiously moderate when it comes to presenting a host of ways to celebrate a holiday that essentially involves going door-to-door to strangers' homes. Still, the Good Things section of the magazine is entirely devoted to Halloween fun - and fun should certainly still be had, albeit with a small circle of friends and family.

A new section in the magazine is always fun, and this issue has one! The column is called "Potluck" and is situated in the Everyday Food section of the magazine: each month a chef or talented foodie will share cooking lessons from their own lives. This month's is written by Clair Sullivan who touts a new cookbook on Somalian cookery called "Bibi's Kitchen." The dish she shares is called beef suqaar, a kind of stew/stir-fry that is simple to make and looks absolutely delicious. I'll be trying it for sure! 

To kick off the well of the magazine, there's a glorious article about saffron growers in California, filled with beautiful photographs by Gentl and Hyers. I believe this is the first time a feature has been written in Martha Stewart Living about this most refined of culinary treasures, and it was nice to see that MSL alum Hannah Milman produced it. Martha's upcoming book Cake Perfection is given a delicious preview with six recipes from the book to try in advance of its publication on October 13th. The cover story looks at ways to integrate strange foliage, peculiar flowers and odd branches into fall displays at home that use bumpy gourds and pumpkins as the base - this is the only Halloween-ish content you'll find here, folks. A young design couple in California is profiled as they steadfastly update their desert home while living in a stylish RV, overseeing its completion. The magazine closes with a tour of a vast Vermont garden in full fall splendour.

As the cooler weather finally settles in, I know I'll reach for this issue more and more to gain inspiration. I'm sure you will too!


Favourite Good Thing: Googly Peepers, on page 19.

Favourite Recipe: Beef Suqaar on page 58.

Favourite Find: ANK Ceramics, page 28

Favourite Feature: "Extra Terrestrial" by Peter Guglielmetti, Naomi Demanana and Ngoc Minh Ngo


Nick said...

I have to say that I was quite disappointed in this issue. As soon as I opened it up, I exclaimed "October! The Halloween issue! Yes!" and flipped through it eagerly like someone had hidden a hundred dollar bill inside. I was looking for that special section devoted to the most fun day of the year and found...nada, zilch, nothing. No ideas for carving pumpkins, no black and white party theme, no monster craft projects, no fun severed finger foods. I was utterly disappointed. There was one page in Good Things devoted to children's costumes, but that was it. I get your point about Halloween looking different this year for Trick or Treaters, but that doesn't mean the inside (or outside) of our homes have to look any different. I've already started decorating my house for Halloween and was looking for some inspiration in the pages of Martha Stewart Living and found absolutely none. I'm glad you liked it, Andrew, but I was quite let down.


I totally get it, Nick. As I said, people who really love Halloween will not like this issue. I'm not personally a huge Halloween junkie - I watch a scary movie, eat some candy corn and call it a night. But I know other Martha fans go ALL out (no matter what) and want that inspiration. What I do miss, wholeheartedly, are the special Halloween issues. They are treasures to me and I'd love to see another one - with Martha dressed up on the cover. I am sure next year Halloween will be back in the saddle at MSL. I really do think they purposely downplayed it this year because of the pandemic.

Elizabeth Graves said...

Sorry to hear it Nick! It was a different year, and a different year to shoot. Naturally I stand by the issue and think the team did an awesome job during a pandemic! But I hear you.

Maya said...

Not a big fan of Halloween as well, but I personally was disappointed by the lack of step pictures in the only craft section there was! Those wonderful illustrative step by step and ingredient pictures were classic MS Living, and to only see the final result without any clue as to what the ingredients look like... well... that’s not very martha. I wanted to make that cute puppy as an art mural for my daughter’s nursery but there is no way in heck i would know what kind of ‘paper bowl’ or ‘poster board’ to use. They may as well have used a store-bought prop. Boo!

I do love gentl & hyers though...

Anonymous said...

This issue is beautiful for autumn but is not a Halloween issue.

I am waiting in anticipation to see read the December issue and see Martha’s Christmas party last year with all the cookies!