On Tuesday this week I met Martha Stewart. The encounter lasted about two seconds, and I’d hardly said, “I’m Erin, it’s great to meet you…” before I was shuffled away. But it made me happy all the same. Notice tiny Martha in the background below. (Photos were quite difficult there!)
She was at the Dallas Sur La Table signing her new book “Martha Stewart’s Cooking School.” I bought a copy there a few weeks ago as soon as they announced they’d give a ticket to the signing with purchase of the book.
It was not the first time I’d seen her in person. About six years ago, during my short-lived career as an investment researcher in New York, I saw her up close at a conference the bank was sponsoring. She looks the same today as she did then — tall and striking. She has a presence in a room that is magnetizing. I feel like she’s in that category of people who can draw attention and respect just by their stature and looks and mannerisms. I think the same is true of Bill Clinton. I can think of a few nonfamous people I know who can captivate attention in that way. Everyone probably knows someone with that sort of charm.
I estimate that there were about 250 people in line. When I first arrived, the small circle of people around me chatted a bit about their thoughts on Martha. I was surprised that the lady in front of me immediately mentioned Martha’s experience in prison. It struck me as odd because I never really associate her with her time in prison. It seems she’s more fabulous now than ever, so perhaps that’s why it surprised me.
The prison topic also raised this thought: what situation would we all be in now if the financial regulators who came after her had instead poked their noses into those who were creating and peddling credit default swaps? Or the bankers pushing loans to those who couldn’t afford them? I wonder if Martha herself has wondered this as the economy crumbles.
It was especially interesting when her team of helpers arrived in a big black suburban. I watched from the line in the parking lot as a sharply dressed woman with a black bag full of big round brushes rushed inside the store. How fabulous to travel with a stylist! Martha does have great hair.
I considered bringing Martha one of my huge nearly ripe tomatoes as a gift, and it turns out I should have, because those who brought gifts were rewarded with lengthier conversations.
Instead she politely told me it was nice to meet me too and slid the signed book across the table. No handshakes.
I’d like to eventually cook my way through the entire book, and so far have done the following dishes the Martha way: chicken stock and grilled T-bone steak. Both were great, and the book is very clearly written and loaded with nice magazine-like photos. Tonight I am planning to cook stir-fried shrimp with Asian black bean paste. Thanks Martha!