On the schedule for the PBS portion of the current Television Critics Association’s press tour was a session with Martha Stewart giving a cooking demonstration. She showed how to make a simple omelet. Because she did it with such ease, style, and humor, I see now why she is so revered as a lifestyle expert. Even I could learn something from Martha, although my idea of a gourmet meal is still a hot dog with sauerkraut.
Stewart wasn’t preachy when it came to talking about making basic changes that would make meals healthier and more eco-friendly. And she is looking forward to sharing her skills in the kitchen for PBS’ new Martha Stewart’s Cooking School series. It is a culinary master class for American home cooks, and she had the editor of her magazine Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food Sarah Carey and executive producer Dalton Delan to help her with the launch.
The new show will premiere in October, and it’s just the latest addition to her namesake company Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, which does everything.
Recently I was walking around Macy’s and Jo-Ann Fabrics with my wife, and I told Martha I saw all sorts of things with her name on it. But the biggest surprise was to see a whole line of Martha Stewart Home Office products at Staples. “Don’t you love that stuff,” she said, knowing the scope of her empire. “That’s really good stuff to help you organize your home. Thanks for noticing.”
The “fine living” entrepreneur runs an impressive empire that doesn’t leave a lot of time for hobbies, but she told me she has plenty. “I have lots of hobbies, lots. And right now they’re centered on babies because I’m crazy about my grandchildren. You would probably think I spend an inordinate amount of time with them. But babies are another business, so I’m learning everything I can about babies again,” Martha revealed.
Another area that has her interest is the Maine Coast Heritage Trust. “I’m very involved with that and a few other environmental kinds of things that I care very much about.”
Stewart also finds time for a cause that’s very important to her. She said, “I try very, very hard to be as giving as I possibly can. And you should know about it because we’re all getting older each and every day. I started a Center for Living atMount SinaiHospitalinNew York. We established the hospital about five years ago in honor of my mom. It is a geriatric outpatient ward in the hospital with its own facility. It’s a very beautiful, wonderful facility that the hospital’s using as a prototype for all the redevelopment in their hospital. It’s a place where anybody can go to consolidate your medical records. It’s so that you can learn about diet, nutrition, exercise to extend your lives as gracefully and as nicely as possible.”
Speaking passionately about her efforts with the center, she explained, “What we’re trying to do is a whole geriatric medicine group there. It was the first hospital inAmericawith a geriatric facility, and that’s why I went there. It’s so well thought out and well done, and the doctors were so diligent.”
When she was researching the field of medicine, Stewart found out that, previously, statistics showed there was only one geriatric doctor (geriatrician) for every 800 people. It seemed the doctors were going into plastic surgery and dermatology “because it’s sexier and nicer,” she said.
Now all of a sudden the tide has turned this past year, she happily reported, “and a lot more doctors are starting to think of geriatric medicine as a good place to practice.” She believes that’s due to personalized medicine and the reading of the DNA and being able to treat diseases in a more comprehensive way. “So we’re working very hard on that.”
Back with a reference to her upcoming Martha Stewart’s Cooking School series for PBS, she said that eating healthy with fresh vegetables, maybe from your own garden, can improve the quality of your life at any age. I don’t know when she finds the time, but Martha said thanks to her large farm complex inBedford, “I grow pretty much everything I eat.” Even the eggs for her omelet demonstration came from her farm. And only three eggs got broken at airport security.
Obviously she never does anything half-baked, but the final thing I wanted to know was if she ever takes vacations? “You’re really worried about me,” Martha replied very kindly, “Yeah sometimes.” But I can’t picture her relaxing anytime soon.