Get Like: Martha Stewart

I applied for an internship with The Martha Stewart Show my sophomore year of college

After passing the Chelsea studios while on a high-profile production errand for The Jeremy Kyle Show buying Marlboro Reds for an unnerved Floridian man awaiting paternity results.

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I stayed through the summer as a production intern for Martha Stewart's Cooking School, a PBS series based on her cookbook and kitchen guide geared towards culinary beginners.*

My stint with Martha Stewart pre-dated political warfare with Goop nation, so I have no loose tea to spill, however I can share some facts about Mo-Mo* and everyday tips that will help you live prettier than Martha's Chow Chow at Plaza brunch.

"Some truffle oil for your kibble, sir?"

"Some truffle oil for your kibble, sir?"

*If chiffonade and julienne were your favorite contestants on Ru Paul's Drag Race, might I suggest you check out clips from Cooking School on her website. 

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"Mo-Mo and Mi-Mi”An Off-Broadway cabaret about our unexplored friendship and hijinx.


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1. Betches love Martha. Girlfriend is still regarded as the lifestyle maiden by the majority of Americans after nearly thirty years of potting pies.

As of 2013, her publication reached 66 million consumers each month and was the first name to be associated with the home and lifestyle industry. Know your place, Blake Lively.

2. Metches love Martha. Most assume that the men in Martha's audience were dragged to show on a hand-knit leash by their wives. FALSE. Dudes totally drilled an extra hole in their tool belts to accommodate butterflies of excitement that brewed from within their beer bellies during their precious time with Ms. Stewart.

3. Martha loves Seth Meyers. I never realized this until it was specifically pointed out to me, but Martha totally has a crush on Seth Meyers you guys! She becomes a flirty little vixen in interviews with the Late Night host, evident in this romantic segment featuring "Dirty, Dirty" Valentine's Day Cocktails:

WHAT'S YOUR BEEF WITH OLIVES, SETH? Hmm?

4. Eggs are High-Maintenance Divas.

As cameras prepared to roll on a Cooking School segment about  poaching, Martha's eyes glazed over when noting the prop eggs' chilly temperature. She called the entire set to attention as she cracked one and dropped it into simmering water, demonstrating to producers that the poach was a bust.

Apparently, an uninformed Production Assistant accidentally refrigerated the farm-fresh eggs, harvested directly from Martha's Connecticut compound, Turkey Hill. While the P.A. probably spent the rest of the morning hidden beneath a decoupaged rock, their mistake taught us all a lesson in egg etiquette.

Eggs put up a humble front like they're just some little breakfast food, but man, they are more complicated inside than a Brooklyn Royal stripped of their trust fund.  A body of scientific research is dedicated to egg cooking temperatures due to their complex chemical structure as a protein.

Like, relax eggs! You're only eggs.

Poaching is a delicate process that requires attention to detail and patience. Cooking the eggs for too long or at too high of a temperature will result in demi-boiled blobs that look sad on toast.

For a happy hollandaise pillow, use fresh eggs at room temperature in a pot of unsalted, simmering (NOT boiling) water. Swirl the water to create a whirlpool and delicately lower your eggs in using a spoon or ramekin. The goal is to create minimal ploppage, like an Olympian diver.

Runny eggs take about two minutes, while firmer eggs take closer to four. If your eggs are from the fridge, they can be remedied by placing them in warm water for 10-15 minutes beforehand.  

I won’t tell. Pinky swear.

5. Mise-en-place is an Important Culinary Term You Should Know.  

Mise-en-place is a French phrase that means 'put into place'. It is used in culinary lingo to describe the process of preparing all components of a recipe before you begin cooking to ensure a  silky-smooth kitchen and a fabulous end product.

Mise-en-place begins with a list of individual items, meticulously categorized and re-categorized until all items are organized into optimally chosen ‘homes’. It is a preparative process that places importance on cleanliness and efficiency from start to finish.

NPR framed this organizational method as a mindset and its effective spillover into the everyday habits of chefs. Wylie Dufresne, James Beard award-winning chef and New York restaurant owner shares his mise-en-place process:

"Let's say I had 23 items of mise-en-place I had to do every day. So I'd take a pad and I'd write them all down on the way home. And then I would crumple the list up and throw it out," he says. "On my way to work I'd write the list again. And you become one with your list.

You and the list are the same, because the list is scorched into your head."

Make mise-en-place a part of your weekly routine by unloading all thoughts and to-do items on scraps of paper at the start of each week. Lay them out on your floor, take a deep breath of red wine, and organize tasks into manageable stacks each day to get your work done on time. You'll be thankful when you have an extra marg (or first dibs on the kiln at pottery class) once Friday happy hour comes around.

6. Wearing Jewel Tones Will Make You Memorable Among a Can of Sardines.

 Television audience departments are adamant that audience members wear jewel tones to tapings in order to “pop” on camera. A sure fire way to be memorable in a roster of interview candidates or speed dates is to wear jewel tones like magenta, rich blues, or emerald green.

(Do people still speed date?)

7. "I’m Only An Intern” Is No Excuse to Hang Out Like a Lawn Gnome.

One afternoon during Cooking School, I had Pandora Radio playing softly while wrapping Fiestaware to be shipped to MSLO headquarters. “Bitch” by the Rolling Stones conveniently came on queue when Martha herself dropped in to say hello and check out what I was working on.

After swallowing the nervous vomit that collected in my mouth, I quickly composed myself and explained my task for the afternoon, speaking at a suspiciously loud decibel to mask the soundtrack of my surefire execution. Ms. Stewart was more concerned that my wrapping followed best packaging practices (minimal tape, recycled paper only) and, fortunately, did not notice the music.

Before leaving to continue on her day, I seized the opportunity to introduce myself by name, shake her hand, and thank her for the experience. I took my teacher’s pet tendencies to another level by including Mo-Mo in a batch of thank you notes to my advisers at the end of the internship.

It was probably used as a coaster, but it’s the little things that count.

Whether you’re being compensated in subway fare or a seven-figure salary,

DO YOUR JOB, 
DO IT WELL,
AND WITH A POSITIVE ATTITUDE.

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Show up on time, introduce yourself to employees in the break room, and stick to any playlist safer than my selection, like acoustic covers or Gregorian chants.

8. Buy These MS Workplace Essentials. Now.

So silky.

So silky.

Label your life.

Label your life.

Aloe, herbs, and rosewater for your mug.

Aloe, herbs, and rosewater for your mug.

9. The Early Bird Gets The Best Floral Arrangements.

If you are serious about your flowers, show up at the farmer’s market when it opens. Set decorators would pick up bouquets first thing in the morning to create the most vibrant arrangements for camera.

10. Martha Was A Total Babe

Our High Priestess of the Popsicle Stick began her show-biz career as a model. These pics hung in the studio hallways so that you never forgot it. 

Started From The Bottom,

Now We Martha Stewart.

11. The Crafting Room Was A Wonderland

Infinite yarn, wall-to-wall flatware, antique rod chairs hanging from the ceiling.

The crafter’s room was like the Red Room from Fifty Shades of Grey of your Aunt Joan’s wildest fantasies.

A photo posted by Mia Lardiere (@theoliveeye) on

A photo posted by Mia Lardiere (@theoliveeye) on

12. Polishing Silverware Is Cathartic

Nothing to drop your blood pressure quite like rubbing one out.

...Silverware, that is.

Use an old flannel shirt or a microfiber cloth to polish tarnished silverware with silver polish or these household ingredients. Light a candle and listen to Lana Del Rey for a truly emotional experience.

Stop looking at me like that.

 

Analyze & discuss:

If you were on a speed date with Martha, which pick-up line would you use?