Modern Girl's Guide to Life, The
The Only Thing You Should Ever Fake ... Being a Domestic Goddess
I'll admit it: The words "domestic goddess" give me a panic attack. Maybe it's because I consider myself a twenty-first-century career chick who's better at making spreadsheets than folding bedsheets. Or maybe it's because the idea of spending eight gazillion hours of my (nonexistent) free time fashioning swan-shaped souffles and embroidered his-and-hers laundry bags just doesn't sound like a party to me.
The problem is I want to revive the traditions that made me feel at home as a little girl. I want my mother-in-law to know that her son isn't living one step up from a hostel, my children to realize that dinner doesn't have to come from a delivery boy, and my houseguests to enjoy staying with me, rather than balking, "No, really, Jane! We'll just stay at a hotel!" But the more I try to make my house the perfect example of domestic goddestry, the more befuddled I become.
Meanwhile, so many of my friends seem ridiculously "together" on the home front. Take my friend Brooke, for example. Every time I walk into her home, there are tuberose Diptyque candles burning, fresh flowers in clean glass vases in every room, and freshly folded towels in her bathroom ... rolled in a basket, just like the B&Bs do it. The second I sink into her (vacuumed) couch, she always offers me something freshly baked or freshly squeezed from her kitchen. Her pantry, medicine cabinets, and closets are perfectly organized (I snooped, sue me). And she doesn't just go into Martha mode when she knows company's coming over -- her abode has looked equally abundant when I've dropped by unexpectedly. On top of that, she holds down a demanding nine-to-seven job at a law firm. I admit, all of that je ne sais quoi she had for chic living started making me feel resentful... and increasingly horrified to invite her and her husband to my own messy digs. That is, until the night I got it out of her over cocktails: She has a housekeeper. Twice a week. Who cooks. Everything.
So there you have it. Not all domestic goddesses are quite as savvy as they seem. It's fairly reassuring, no? Sure, some women are more naturally adept at keeping house than others (surely Brooke surpasses me). But what I've recently learned is that being a modern (aka "mock") domestic goddess isn't about doing it all: it's about taking shortcuts to give the impression of having it all. And all you need to do is get a little more organized, learn some kitchen basics, and cut a few corners here and there. Not only will these tips and tricks streamline your life, you'll probably feel just a tad more in control of your day-to-day. Because while a girl's identity doesn't revolve around playing little miss homemaker anymore (thank God!), knowing that you can do a flawless load of laundry, whip up a fabulous dish fast, keep your palace in order, nip a vino stain in the bud, and play hostess like a pro will give you confidence that you've got your entire act together (and will impress everyone, especially you). Here's your crash course in domestic goddestry.
Welcome to the Scariest Room in a Modern Girl's House ... the Kitchen!
Let's face it: Our purses often contain more items than our fridges do. And when we do go to the kitchen to make a meal, our grub tends to fall within the four basic Modern Girl food groups: booze, baby carrots, microwave popcorn, and leftover takeout. Now, there's a legit reason for it all -- we're just too busy to cook up something elaborate. But if you know what to stock up on beforehand, and can get it all in one time -- saving trip to the market, you may find yourself more inspired to let your inner chef come out to play.
Things You Need in Your Kitchen
No need to outfit the room like Williams-Sonoma or a five-star restaurant, but certain props and utensils will make a difference:
You Really Should Have
- Blender (skip the dicer-slicer-blenders can do most things)
- Dish rack
- Manual can opener
- Toaster oven (comes in handy if you need to cook two things at once at different temps)
- Timer (but many ovens and microwaves have them built in)
Modern Girl's Guide to Life, The
- Cheese grater
- Chopping board
- Cookie sheet
- Garlic press
- Kitchen shears
- 6-inch chefs knife (and ideally also a 4-inch pantry knife and an 3-inch knife, but it depends on how violent you get)
- LSerrated bread knife
- Measuring spoons
- Meat tenderizer
. Copyright © by Jane Buckingham. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.