With her legal problems swarming like avenging dust balls, I find I dislike Martha Stewart less now. Perhaps it's simply because she has been keeping a lower profile so I haven't had to deal with her craft-nazi smugness, or perhaps she is less smug now with the prospect of prison and ruin hanging over her matricianly mane.
Nonetheless, she is laying low and as such Publishers Weekly sees a chance for interlopers to snag her well-burnished crown of domestic propriety:
- Stewart has canceled her annual CBS Christmas special and won't appear in Kmart's holiday ads, although her voice will be featured. For those who are
wondering if her invisibility during these crucial book-buying months will give an up-and-comer a chance to break out, here's a survey of the contenders.
Leading the pack is Sandra Lee, author of Semi-Homemade Cooking (Talk/Miramax). In her first cookbook, Lee subverts her classical culinary training with recipes that rely on gussied-up packaged goods, such as a raspberry trifle made with Sara Lee pound cake, jam and pre-fab pudding.
....Lee has also absorbed some lessons from Stewart's multimedia model, although she has taken a reverse course. Where Stewart expanded from books to magazine publishing, a TV show, and then a mail-order business and branded product line at Kmart, Lee got her start by hawking curtain kits on the QVC shopping channel in 1994.
....There's also Colin Cowie, who began his career as a celebrity wedding planner and now hosts Everyday Elegance on the Women's Entertainment network. He's also been filling some of Stewart's cancelled spots on The Early Show. Cowie has just published his fifth and latest book, the tongue-twisting Dinner After Dark: Sexy, Sumptuous Supper Soirees (Clarkson Potter).
....Another contender is Katie Brown, who hosts her own show on the Style Network and just published Katie Brown Decorates (HarperCollins), the follow-up to Katie Brown Entertains (HarperCollins). Targeting a Generation X audience, Brown makes regular appearances on Good Morning America and offers recipes and decorating tips on her Web site, www.katiebrownworkshop.com.
Maybe Stewart will have them whacked.