The domestic goddess has more on her plate than ever before.
It’s the last day of the Sun Food & Wine Festival at the Mohegan Sun casino and resort in Connecticut, and Martha Stewart is running late. A line of her admirers crowds the casino floor; they’re waiting to enter the Uncas Ballroom for brunch to cap off the weekend's festivities, where America’s reigning domestic goddess is set to prepare pancakes and a cocktail for her good friend and cooking show co-host, Snoop Dogg. At almost 11 a.m. exactly, the doors open and the guests begin streaming in and almost immediately form another line for the buffet. There’s a small stage at the head of room; the event’s MC periodically pops up to assure guests that Martha will be arriving shortly, or that “Martha is in the building!”
I’m waiting for Martha, too, alternately nursing a Bloody Mary and a cup of a coffee in between bites of the brunch—bread pudding with leeks, a buckwheat pancake and arugula and avocado salad. At 12:30 p.m., the lights dim and we’re instructed to welcome the guest of honor. She walks on the stage with her signature blonde bob bouncing on her shoulders; the crowd goes wild. Waiters pass around mimosas and glasses of white wine and rosé to stoke the celebratory atmosphere. As if it to confirm that it’s never too early to start drinking at a casino, Martha begins preparing a pomegranate cocktail for Snoop Dogg, explaining as she gathers the ingredients that she was up late the previous night at a pre-Grammys party alongside Jamie Foxx and Katie Holmes, who, she lets slip, attended as a couple.
Moments later, Snoop joins her on stage. Martha juices the pomegranates using a Breville juicer, which she says is the best juicer on the market right now (she assures the audience that Breville doesn’t pay her to say that, either). Later in the day she’ll tell me that she “can’t live without” her KitchenAid mixer (she owns six) and her Vitamix blender.
In the midst of chopping oranges, Martha finds that her knife is dull, which is unacceptable. She implores the audience, “Please make sure you have sharp knives when you’re cooking in the kitchen,” and when Snoop tries to tease her for fixating on the knives, she provides the ultimate comeback.
“You have never been to penitentiary,” she fires back. “I have and they don’t have sharp knives. You can’t even get a spoon.”
While she cooks, she tells the story of one of her first encounters with Snoop, at the Roast of Justin Bieber on Comedy Central, where she “had to sit for four hours with this dense wall of smoke between Snoop and me.” They decided to collaborate after Snoop stopped by her show to make “green brownies,” which ended up being one of the most popular segments on her website. When an audience member asked if she and Snoop will ever collaborate on a “cannabis cookbook,” she confesses that she’s never considered it.
Martha and Snoop clearly share a genuine friendship—their honest affection for each other is part of what makes them such an appealing pairing. Martha now attracts both seasoned home cooks and a younger audience to her appearances. During the demonstration, one young man produced a towel and began whipping it around his head while cheering enthusiastically as Martha cooked the sausages. She still seems to inspire unmatched loyalty from her followers, and with another season of Martha & Snoop's Potluck Dinner Party under her apron, she won’t loss any of her enduring relevance.
“We did twenty episodes for the second season,” she tells me later, in her hotel room after the chaos of the day has died down. “We had great guests, all of whom want to be silly for a few hours and an audience that wants to be silly. It’s silly but the cooking is serious. The information that we give is accurate.”
The latest season of the show featured a crab feast, “huge tuna that dropped from the sky,” and even a guest appearance from a cow.
“People may not know how a cow is milked. We’re trying to educate as well as entertain,” she says.
When she’s not filming that show, Martha is working in New York City on her many other ventures, and she says it's still one of her favorite cities for restaurants. She also praises Los Angeles—calling out Gjusta, in particular, as well as the city’s “great bakeries”—and San Francisco, the location of the original Tartine bakery, where “you just want to eat everything.” One of her favorites, though, is hidden in an unlikely spot.
“I drove four hours to get to The Lost Kitchen [in Maine] this past summer,” she reveals. “It is superb. What a beautiful place, and what delicious food, in the middle of nowhere.”
When it comes to dining in New York City, she has a wide range of tastes: She recently tried out The Grill, The Pool, and the Lobster Club, all located in the Seagram Building, which used to be a Four Seasons hotel. She also enjoyed Sushi On Jones, where “you can’t be more than ten minutes late.”
“It’s all very regimented and military style, which is sort of fun,” she says. “It’s a great place to take children, because it’s a half an hour and you’re in and out.”
Japanese cuisine has been a fixation of Martha’s lately, so much so that she’s been testing out Japanese recipes in her own kitchen.
“I’ve assembled a huge Japanese pantry, and I have my shitake mushrooms ready, my tofu, my miso base. I’m going to make soup tonight, I’m making special organic Japanese rice that I found in Florida of all places, and I’m making miso cod. I’ve had the cod marinating for three days now,” she says.
The recipes come from a new edition of an old Japanese cookbook written by Shizuo Tsuji called Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art.
“Each recipe is ten pages long, so you have to read, digest, and then you have to find the ingredients,” she says. “I want to do them right. I want them to taste as good as Nobu.”
It’s this statement—that she hopes to become as good a Japanese chef as the very best in the world—that reveals what is most captivating about Martha Stewart: It’s her range, and the fact that she’s become so adept at planting her feet in between two different worlds. She can cook brunch with a rap industry icon, in front of a crowd of tispy casino revelers, as well as challenge herself to master the art of a foreign cuisine, and we love her equally for both.