Dear Pioneer Woman,

I know you don’t know me from Adam (my mom says that . . . ), but I think you’re great.  And perhaps you should know that I kinda have this thing for Martha.  As in Martha Stewart? You’ve heard of her, right?  Right. Well, I wanted to be her when I grew up.  Except then she went to jail and is kinda OCD and uptight and waaaaaaay more organized and driven than I could ever imagine being.  I know she has an army of minions and all, but STILL, have you ever read her calendar?  I think she may be on a narcotic or something . . .

That was uncharitable.  I’m not uncharitable in real life.

Okay, maybe sometimes.

Anyway, my biggest pet peeve about Martha is this: her ideas are great and all but 77% of the time (I did the math . . . ) THEY DON’T WORK.  Her recipes in particular flop and cause me to dissolve into tears and say nasty words.

I don’t say nasty words in real life.

Okay, maybe sometimes.

My husband – he’s great – saw my waning enthusiasm in Martha and how I would just sneer and mock her easy steps instead of be inspired and he had an inspiring thought to re-inspire me (too many inspires?): he would get me your book for Christmas.

I love it.

Love it so much I resolved to cook every recipe in it and had, within a week of opening it, made 3 (your homemade ranch on a wedge of iceburg, your mashed potatoes and cobbler) of the dishes.  Soooooooo good.


Then my second son’s birthday was this last Monday.  He’s our Valentine boy and we love him dearly, by the way.  I showed him the Red Velvet cake and inquired whether he thought it looked delicious.  Yes, was the answer and would I please make that for his party with Grandma and Grandpa?

My plan had worked!

After Mass, still in my church clothes, I followed your directions for the cake.  I’m a first born so I am exceptional at rules and rule following.  I measured and added and timed and scraped and poured the lovely batter into the pans.

When the timer went off I had HIGH hopes. Then I opened the oven door. . .

You know that scene in Julie & Julia where she thrashes about the kitchen throwing things and then ends up on the floor in a fetal position crying softly to herself?  I had my own such moment.

How did this happen? I wondered.  Where did I go wrong? This wasn’t how Me and Ree was supposed to go!  I’m not like that whiney, potty-mouthed Julie!

That was judgey. I am judgey in real life.  Me and Jesus are working on that . . .

Anyway, the cakes had fallen or had-not-ever risen in the center.  The edges reached up towards heaven and the middle sagged.  It was a sad, sad sight.

My husband – he’s great, like I said.  You’d think so too if you knew him. . . – googled fallen cakes.  Oven temperature, pans, flour, your aura (okay, I made that one up.) could all affect cakes.

I eyed my flour sack.  Baking flour it said when you specifically listed CAKE flour.  I had sent my great husband to the store for ingredients and he called asking if this was an okay substitute because he couldn’t find cake flour.  My husband, you should know too, is an excellent shopper, fabulous father, talented photographer/designer/guitar player/singer and could give your Marlboro Man a run for his money in the looks department but he is NOT a great finder of things.  But I DID tell him that it was probably the same thing and so I take the blame on this one.

So, I want to know, was that the problem?  Or is it just me?  I’m all in and totally committed to this Me and Ree thing but you gotta help me out.  Tell me the other recipes will turn out better.  Please?  I like you more than Martha, if that helps at all.  And I really, really don’t want to cry over fallen cakes and burned things.  I don’t think my great husband could take it.


That’s all for now.


P.S. I couldn’t serve the cake and had to whip up one from a box.  A doctored cake mix, but still. . . Have you ever had to do that? My son thought it was awesome and ate it for dessert and breakfast 3 days in a row and it made me feel a little better.