Look at what my awesome brother Dave found for me at a yard sale: Martha’s first book!
I had heard of this book but never seen it, and boy does it deliver. It’s giant, hardbound and loaded with some fantastic Me Decade party ideas. I can totally picture Reagan-era people saying something like, “Won’t you please come to my Kitchen Salad Party for Thirty?” “Don’t forget to RSVP for the Midnight Omelette Party.” “What should I wear to Cindy’s luau next week?”
I’m not making this up. These are Actual Party Ideas, printed in this book, and they are pretty amazing. Who wouldn’t want to attend a “Neoclassical Dinner for Eight to Ten?” She covers buffets, desserts, even at-home weddings, AND you get to see her gardening in skimpy shorts.
1982 Martha is noticeably more humble, even though she already was massively wealthy, and she even gets a little folksy.
“…I hope to show that there are many ways of entertaining and that each ultimately depends not on pomp or show or elaborate technique, but on thought, effort and caring, much like friendship itself.”
Awwwww. Back atchya, 1982 Martha! (This book was ghostwritten, but I’d still like to believe that Martha personally threw in that line.)
Entertaining became a New York Times Bestseller and really put Martha on the map. Many more books followed. In 1989, she kicked her husband to the curb and got down to some serious empire-building, launching Martha Stewart Living the following year, etc.
I’m super fond of 1982 Martha, with her broad, genuine smile and innocent eyes and ruffles everywhere. She had no idea what lay ahead of her at that point. She simply wanted to share some knowledge, show off her newly renovated farmhouse, and make a little money. Her life was what every early-80s woman wanted. This is Martha before everything came crashing down, and she had to build it all back up again, before she became a brand name, before she realized how kick-ass she is, before Kevin Sharkey was even born.
I’m stoked to recreate these retro parties, starting with the Russian Buffet for Twenty Four of course, and will let you guys know how they turn out. Thanks, Dave!