Martha Stewart ( via AP Images)
Patrick McMullan—AP
October 14, 2014 10:45 AM EDT

The Gwyneth Paltrow/Martha Stewart feud had seemed to simmer down when Paltrow, the actress-turned-Goop-newsletter-publisher, said she was “psyched” that Stewart “sees us as competition.” It was a canny reply to months of snide comments by Stewart about Paltrow’s domestic-icon aspirations, most recently a claim that if Paltrow “were confident in her acting, she wouldn’t be trying to be Martha Stewart.”

But the new issue of Martha Stewart Living contains a shocking new slap in the face — as shocking as a pie in the face.

The photo spread, entitled “Conscious Coupling,” features a caption describing a picture of a pie as “a long-married pair who bring out the best in each other, are completely enamored despite their differences, and leave every other guest thinking, I’ll have what they’re having.” The fact that the “couple” the article is describing are, nonsensically, the crust and filling of a pie only serves to emphasize just how gratuitous the slam is: As connoisseurs of celebrity gossip will recall, Paltrow used her newsletter to describe her divorce from ex-husband Chris Martin as a “conscious uncoupling.”

To be clear: It was more important to the Martha Stewart Living editorial team to shoehorn into their Thanksgiving issue a food-article-length subtweet at Paltrow than to make any coherent sense.

We’re now to the point where a mere act of flipping through a lifestyle magazine or opening up an email newsletter is now fraught with the tension of an openly derisive rivalry. What seems clear is that Stewart is the one running scared. These are wince-inducing defense tactics, and only make Paltrow’s self-awareness seem more appealing. We will have what she’s having.

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