What Food Martha Stewart Eats with Her Eyes Closed (& 9 Other Bits of Wisdom She Shared)

September  9, 2015

Snippets from Martha's interview last night with Geoffrey Zakarian, at Barnes & Noble in NYC.

martha stewart

When I walked into Barnes & Noble to hear Geoffrey Zakarian interview Martha Stewart last night, I kept looking around for the crowd. But it was a quiet night in the looming bookstore, and I rode at three escalators up before I heard the flutter of distant applause. I entered the room (open to the public) to Martha interrupting Geoffrey's intro: "You've got 17 Emmy's, right?" he asked her. "Nineteen," she shot back, deadpan. Then they laughed broadly and the crowd lit up. 

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The pair started off chatting about Martha's new book Appetizers, which is framed as a follow up to her 1984 hit Hors d'Oeuvres. After about half an hour of conversation, there were a few questions. All in all it was a calm evening, but true to her hype, Martha laid out some zingers. Here are some of the bits of wisdom she imparted on the topic at hand: 

1. How to serve expensive appetizers:

"The rules are: Pass the shrimp" because "people like my brother George will stand by the bowl and eat 30 of them."

lemon garlic shrimp


2. How to guarantee your guests enjoy the food you make:

"First, feed them 2 to 3 fantastic, strong cocktails like a big tray of Caipirinhas, which are semi-deadly" and plan on the fact that they'll want another.

blackberry caipirinias


3. Why things go missing in the kitchen: 

"Obviously someone took it," possibly jumping to conclusions when she couldn't find an apple corer in her East Hampton home, one of her 21 kitchens "not including the test kitchens."

apple corer  apple corer


4. How to make a good cocktail:

"The juice must be fresh. No mixers, and no Skinny Girl." You better fresh squeeze the grapefruit juice if you're going to invite Martha over for Greyhounds.

juicing fruit


5. How to act if Martha Stewart walks into your restaurant:

"I like attentive service, but not too attentive, not hovering." It's a fine line and you better find it.

 how couscous saved my dinner party


6. How to accomodate guests with various food allergies:

"I have a personal rule: I never ask." She promises to at least serve some vegetables, but "the gluten-frees can just pick through everything."

vegan queso


7. How to get big in the restaurant industry:

"I don't know when 'starting out' was for me... When I was 10, when I was hosting local parties for the neighborhood?" Just when you were feeling good about your kid's lemonade stand...

genius dinner


8. How to become a better cook:

"Sit as close as possible to the chefs and observe. I learn by example, and get so many ideas from watching and practicing. And I study—I read a lot." Attending a great culinary school like Le Cordon Bleu, she adds, doesn't hurt.



9. How to eat something that tastes terrible:

"If you don't see the whole thing, and if you put a clothespin on your nose, you can eat it." That's how she managed to stomach a durian fruit, known for being putrid.



10. What to make when life gives you...jail time:

"I made crab apple jelly. I made dandelion salad." That was in response to a brazen question during Q&A about her time in West Virginia. She added that "there are some people working hard to improve our penal system and I support them."

dandelion greens salad


What's your favorite Martha one-liner? Tell us in the comments below!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Fredrik Backman
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Amanda Sims

Written by: Amanda Sims

Professional trespasser.


Fredrik B. October 7, 2015
"Gluten-frees can just pick through everything"...?
I'm not sure that's how coeliac disease works.
Estibaliz October 7, 2015
Note that she says "gluten-frees", not people with celiac disease. Those are not the same same kind of people. People with celiac disease usually know how to take care of themselves and take measures not to eat anything that may have gluten, while "gluten-frees" tend to put their "thing" on other people.
Rhonda35 September 10, 2015
I love her style!
walkie74 September 10, 2015 celiac friend and my fish allergy friend won't be eating at Martha's anytime soon... nothing worse than getting to a party and realizing all you can eat are the garnishes and the veggie dish...
boulangere September 9, 2015
And, by the way, what DOES she eat with her eyes closed? All she mentioned is the clothespin trick.
Amanda S. September 9, 2015
Durian fruit!
boulangere September 9, 2015
You've got to love a woman who gets to the point and doesn't suffer fools gladly.
Amanda S. September 9, 2015
Couldn't agree more.