|July / August 1999 issue from KJ's library|
Martha is an important influence for me. Given my family situation, I didn't learn to cook and sew from my mum (and my dad - the physicist who raised three girls on his own - was well versed in the periodic table but not so much in the bain-marie).
In the 80s, I would watch the "young" Martha on PBS and take notes. In the 90s, I would purchase back issues of Martha Stewart Living at thrift shops and garage sales, and in 1999 when I finally had a real job (post law school) I subscribed (i.e. above). I have well over a decade of issues (as well as the cookbooks, craft books, sewing books, etc.) which I cannot part with (her Thanksgiving brine turkey has been a tradition for years as well as her banana bread from the Baker's Handbook).
While most of Martha's talk focused on the path she took to create her company (growing up in New Jersey, modelling to get through university, marrying Andrew Stewart in sophomore year, the birth of Alexis, purchasing and restoring the Turkey Hill property and the start of the catering business], there were also many unscripted moments. I jotted down tidbits of what I found interesting.
- There were less than a dozen men in the audience.
- Her biggest regret - Not having more children
- Martha is a grandmother now. Her granddaughter Jude was born on March 8th.
- About her mum, Mrs. Kostyra - appeared on the show 40 times and her mother's meatloaf recipe is one of the most requested recipes
- What Martha is reading now - Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
- Her "recipe" for success - be passionate. She spoke of her passion for craft, gardening, cooking, photography, and holiday celebrations. Her mum taught her to sew and cook. Her dad taught her to garden and take photographs.
- She takes hundreds of photographs. She always carries two cameras with her.
- Her fence at Bedford and the four friesian horses are from Canada (Brantford, Ontario).
- Her next book: a new version of Martha Entertains (the original and her first book was published in 1982 when she was 40), this next one will come out in November 2011 and features photographs taken over the past five years. She wrote the content this past December.
- Her signature dish - simple delicious fresh food, for example, a soft boiled egg.
- Sleeping is "not that important." She does not bring her blackberry upstairs.
- Martha Stewart Kids is an example of a project which did not work out. She loved that magazine, but couldn't get any advertisers to keep it running. [How sad, I loved that magazine].
- Eggs - she has 200 chickens which lay 100 eggs per day. She brings many of the eggs to the office for her employees. Limit 4 eggs per day.
- Her love of food, makes weight a "constant struggle."
- 2002 to 2005 was a particularly difficult time for her and her company. The magazine kept going (with little advertising), but the readership remained strong. She said prison was a terrible place. She spent five months at Alderson Federal Prison. She thought of it as a "vacation" to read books and try to do things she had not done before. In reality, it was a horrible place and a sobering experience.