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The Holidays with Martha Stewart

Martha Stewart with Dogs

Martha Stewart spoke to us about holiday celebrations & offered tips to make your celebration one to remember.

How can people start prepping for their holiday celebrations early?

I think sometimes people belabor some things way too early and forget that there are holidays in between. I know far in advance that I’m going to have a Thanksgiving dinner and a Christmas open house. I might be thinking all year about something but I’m not really planning it until…you know, invitations have to go out a month in advance now because people are so booked up. You have to think of who you’re going to invite; then I start planning menus and who’s going to help me with it. It’s astonishing how fast people are occupied nowadays. Spur-of-the-moment entertaining is fine if you’re doing it yourself but if you need help, it takes a while to get people set up. If you have a plan, know what you want to do and work towards that. You can overthink a lot of stuff these days and I don’t think it’s necessary. 

What’s Thanksgiving like at your house? 

We always have a giant Thanksgiving. I invite my entire family and my friends who are going to be here that weekend. It’s kind of a lunch at my house. We serve it in the afternoon and we have several different kinds of turkey and the menu varies from year to year. I might get a new idea during the year about how to roast a turkey or how to prepare one; it might be a sit-down one year and a buffet the next; small one year, larger the next. It’s what you feel comfortable doing. But always order your fresh-kill turkey in advance. Make sure you get one from either the local farm that’s known for beautiful turkeys or the butcher who’s known for great turkeys. That’s where you really just splurge.

If you buy part of the holiday dinner, should you own up to it?

Sure! Who cares? If someone says the mashed potatoes are fantastic, just say, “Oh, those are so-and-so’s recipe.” It doesn’t matter! Nobody cares as long as it’s good. People are just happy to be invited to someone else’s house and they don’t have to go through the grief of making a meal. They’re thrilled to be invited. I’m thrilled to be invited! I don’t get invited that often.

Probably because everybody wants to come to your house.

[Laughs] You bet. I make the effort!

Have you ever had to avert any holiday meal disasters? 

I’ve never dropped a turkey on the floor [like Julia Child supposedly did]. Absolutely not. One year, my first turkey actually, my husband had pre-heated the oven for me and he turned it on to broil and I didn’t notice at five o’clock in the morning, and we woke up to a house full of smoke. We had a very dark colored turkey that day. But it was utterly delicious. And afterward I found a recipe in Town & Country for blackened turkey so I laughed about it.

What’s your favorite spin on an old classic holiday dish?

Many of my dishes are “tradition with a twist” I call it. [Things like] chocolate pecan pie instead of pecan pie. Or pumpkin pudding instead of pumpkin pie. Many things like that are changed around in my house. We’re always looking for new takes on the old. 

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