30 Things Martha Thinks Everyone Should Know
Paint a Room
In theory, we all know how to paint a room. Dip a brush or roller in a color and spread it over the wall. But painting neatly and efficiently is a skill most of us could brush up on. This basic guide has the essential tips and techniques you need to get the job done.
Flower arranging is an art, but the art is easy to master when you follow a few simple techniques.
Design a Fruit Centerpiece
Fruit has a long history of being used as an adornment to grace a tabletop: A first-century fresco in Pompeii depicts a lavish table with a fruit centerpiece, and the French later raised this table decoration to a high art. Try using these easy-to-find fruits and nuts to transform your own table.
Make a Bed
We spend almost one-third of our time in bed -- whether we're conversing with our pillow or cocooning under the covers. A bed spread with crisp linen offers solace at the end of the day -- a broad, cool plain on which to relax and unwind -- proving that luxury can be as uncomplicated as a pure white linen sheet.
Set the Table
Knowing where everything goes on the table streamlines the process of serving dinner and also makes dining a breeze for guests, who will have the utensils they need at their fingertips. That is why we have come up with this handy primer for what items go where.
Prepare a Green Salad
While a green salad is a staple at the table, mixing the perfect blend of greens and dressing is harder then it sounds.
Mix a Margarita
A good margarita depends on the quality of its ingredients; always use the best tequila you can find.
Make a Bolognese Sauce
Everyone should know how to make a delicious Bolognese sauce, an Italian classic that you, your family, and your guests can gather around the table to enjoy.
Eat a Lobster
Be sure to get the most meat with the least effort out of your lobster -- have nutcrackers and small forks or picks on hand, and follow these simple guidelines from Martha.
Make Chocolate Chip Cookies
No kitchen is complete without a great recipe for chocolate chip cookies, a bona fide American classic. This recipe produces cookies with just the right edge and sweetness; it gives outstanding results every time.
Carve a Turkey
While a whole roasted turkey is an impressive sight, so is a well-arranged platter of sliced meat -- and carving the bird before placing it on the table will make serving easier.
How to Roast a Turkey
From preparing the bird to serving slices of it doused in gravy, here are 12 steps to the perfect turkey.
Make a Grilled Cheese Sandwich
The grilled cheese sandwich is a perfect example of why we cook our food. By itself, a plain cheese sandwich might not always be an exciting dish, but once it's placed in a hot skillet or grill pan, it becomes a Sandwich Reborn.
Make French Toast
Good cooks in many cultures have found delicious ways to revive stale or leftover bread. But the French take first prize with their simple recipe for pain perdu, literally "lost bread," which we have come to know as French toast. Once you've mastered the basics -- coating slices of bread in an egg-and-milk mixture and sauteing them -- a range of possibilities opens.
The Perfect Omelet
Omelets are nervy things; they threaten to tear, stick, and brown, but try as they might to be your enemy, they always end up being sumptuous, simple, and elegant -- in other words, the perfect food. They make an economical and nutritious meal for one, an often seductive dinner for two, and casual, nonchalant fare for a crowd.
Cook Fluffy Rice
Rice is a staple food for almost half the world's population. Nevertheless, many of us have trouble cooking rice without burning it and having it stick to the bottom of the pot or having it absorb so much water that it turns into mush. But here's a technique that can help you achieve great results each time.
Bake a Chocolate Cake
When it comes to all-American desserts, chocolate cake towers over its competitors; it's always a show-stopping finale. To show off the cake to best effect, present it at table; slice it in front of your guests.
Assemble a BLT
Prepare this American classic with the finest ingredients, such as Comstock bacon, plump Jersey tomatoes, fresh crusty bread, garden lettuce, and homemade mayonnaise. Enjoy a BLT when tomatoes are at their peak in late summer and early fall.
It's something many of us learn at a very early age: There is breakfast, and there are pancakes. And on special days -- holidays and weekends if we're lucky -- the griddle comes out, the batter gets mixed, and soon we're tucking into a steaming stack of hotcakes, preferably dripping with pure maple syrup and melting butter.
Crudites -- fresh, crispy vegetables -- make a satisfying hors d'oeuvre perfect for any party.
Tie a Bow and Necktie
Every gentleman needs to know how to tie a bow and a necktie, and with this handy, illustrated guide from Martha, it's so simple, you won't believe it.
Load a Dishwasher
Most of us give little thought to our dishwashers -- we just load the dishes, add the detergent, and turn it on. But a bit of planning goes a long way toward keeping your dishes and utensils in their best shape and getting them as clean as possible.
Do the Laundry
There is nothing more satisfying than a basket of freshly laundered clothes. And there is nothing more depressing than a favorite piece of clothing that emerges from the washer or dryer ruined. We have all the answers to make your washing tasks simple and keep your clothes coming out perfectly clean every time.
Remove Stains on Linens and Clothes
There is no single technique or product that takes care of every spot and spill. But, there are some easy-to-follow guidelines that can help ensure your clothing and linen receives the best possible care, no matter what the stain.
Iron a Shirt
It's a chore that most of us would rather avoid: Maneuvering an iron around buttons, tussling with pockets that only seem to get more wrinkled. But with these tips, ironing a shirt doesn't have to be difficult.
Open a Champagne Bottle
No other drink seems better suited to a celebration than champagne, but when those special moments arrive, you want to be sure you can open the bottle without any trouble.
Brew a Cup of Tea
Though a perfect cup of tea requires only a few simple steps, getting each step just right is an art form.
Take a Good Photograph
Your photographs are important -- they capture moments, and memories, that you never want to forget. And with these handy tips, you can be sure to always take the very best picture possible.
Pack a Suitcase
Never stand apprehensively over an empty suitcase again -- here are a few simple ways you can pack efficiently for your next trip.