new York state of mind(s)

Sorry for the lack of posting lately, but you see, I have been away.

To The MARTHA Show.  

As in THE Martha. You know who she is. We all love to hate her, we all hate to love her.  It’s the truth, and you know it. It’s just that no one really wants to admit it. We are all, men and women alike, jealous as hell of that woman. She’s like Andy Dufrain in The Shawshank Redemption – she was rich, had an unfortunate vacation in a place we do not discuss, then crawled through the crap to come out clean and richer on the other side.  Except Andy crawled through half a mile of sewer, and Martha just had to wear a prison poncho knitted with a couple of shivs. Well, I am here today to say it out loud. No fear. Okay, maybe a little bit of fear.
Being invited to come to the show was a real treat. There are what? Half a billion people in America? And they ask ME to bring a pie? That’s pretty amazing. Probably a mistake, but amazing nonetheless. So the real prize is that I was asked to come. Now that that has been said, I’m going to release the inner Angel and Demon and let them both speak. The Hate to Love’r and the Love to Hate’r, both on display. I’ll let each one speak as they want, often in the same sentence. You’ll know who’s who.

This could get ugly.
So. We show up to the studio in Chelsea, not knowing at all what to expect. It is of course, clean and very…pastel. Crisp. It is a big B because once you are inside, there is apparently some iron magnetic substance from the future lining the brick as your iPhone is rendered absolutely useless, and you are one of the many snappy dressers sitting in a holding pattern until being shuttled off to the set. You may purchase many of Martha’s medium quality products at full or above MSRP prices, so feel free to do that and forgo your child’s tuition or braces.  God knows everyone needs a $60 hoodie with a pastel patch on the sleeve to wear while sprinkling $20 worth of Martha glitter on Christmas cards you’ll never really make.  It’s almost like buying a timeshare. You want to check the prices on Amazon, or maybe have your sister back home go in Halvsies on that Glitter Kit and tote bag, but damn if the Twitter won’t work and you can’t write on her FaceBook wall either. Total Suckage. So you pretty much just sit there and shake.

About the time you are considering leaving because it is awfully hard to breathe without use of Tweetdeck, the little headset folks come to give you your 32nd reminder to USE THE BATHROOM NOW OR ELSE and then you get the Happy Man Billy to instruct you on how to clap, how to say yum, how to giggle speech.  Good thing, too, because the pressure? It’s disconcerting.

It was in this stuffy holding pattern recession free shopping room that I first noticed HER. Little old lady, feeble, hunched over, sweet as a newborn kitten, mewing to her younger counterpart two rows up from us. How sweet. She has a cookbook. With her picture on it. Ah Shiz…the crew all know her by name. She is smiling at them, I never hear her utter a sound higher than her kitten mew. I think perhaps she may need some kind of IV drip to make into into the show. Precious, really. Poor little thing. She is the Martha Charity Case. This Martha is a smart lady. This is going to be Shiv Poncho Martha’s finest moment.

Now it s time to go upstairs, finally, after waiting around for over an hour. First impression? Holy nuts.  We walk into the set and right away we are bombarded with the gravity of a Martha Stewart Pie Competition…there are 170 pies, all laid out on two gigantic farm tables set beneath some pretty fall trees and a not handmade handmade Country Pie Bake Off Sign, straight out of The Long Hot Summer except without Paul Newman.  Our seats are fantastic…second row off the floor. Should have been great.  Not  a bad seat in the house. However, with 8 cameras, a boom, 42 assistants and enough McCoy Pottery to  feed a third world country, there was also no good seat in the house. (Let me add one stipulation to that…the Stage Manager. It was fine if he was in the way. Sexy McDenim pants and his army hat had the backside of a NFL quarterback.)

So we are waiting. In our seats. Do not move from your seats. Ever. That’s a no-no. And turn off your cameras and phones and pacemakers, as these will upset the Martha. she is coming. (no, she isn’t. Yes she is. No, she isn’t.) Then YAY! CLAP! Here she cooooomes! STOP CLAPPING NOW. (Okay? Is it just me? This woman is drunk…AND she has “I just needed a little nap” hair in the back. But that’s okay. The back doesn’t get Air Time.)

Our 4 esteemed judges are introduced, then one of them, Karen DeMasco, pastry chef at Robert DeNiro’s restaurant gets in the kitchen with The Martha and they set about to making a Butterscotch Pie. Don’t test the caramel with your finger, Martha tells us (well, bloody hell, M, it’s 300 degrees, that’s a given.) or you’ll end up with scars all over your hands just. like. her. (Why did it take her so many times to figure that out? I think she has no Pavlovian responses.)  It is also at this point, Big M tells us, for no reason whatsoever, that she was in her office floor doing yoga positions before the show.  However, I may have mis-heard that, and she MAY have said Jaeger positions.  Does Jaeger even come in a keg? Hmmm. That could explain the hair thing. I won’t tell you what my sister called it. It’s not a nice word to say out loud.

Anyway, the rest of the show proceeds at an almost wormhole in time pace, and the judges continue eating a bite or two of each and every one of the 170 pies. (Hey! That’s cheating! They are picking up the pies and looking underneath to see who made them! Something is smelling fishy in Chelsea and it ain’t the yoga positions if you get my drift. Something’s brewing…) By the way, the Martha is eating her fool ass off over there. Double dipping. It’s NOT a good thing. But anyway.

Then there is a segment where 5 pies are brought to the table to be discussed.

Fork, fork, forkity fork.  Martha makes a small racial comment to a little Asian girl in the front row, suggesting that her Apple Pie was probably very difficult to transport all the way from…Asia. Dear Lord. That girl lived in Queens and took the Subway to the studio. Her apples came from Whole Foods. God knows, there are NO ASIAN LOOKING AMERICANS in AMERICA. They all come here from ASIA. On a plane. With Fuji apple pies.  That little clip may be edited. You’d see me in that one, as I was in view behind Miss Fuji Queens. Orange sweater, scarf, blondish and fat. You’ll see.

Then she asks for Marjorie. Who is Marjorie?? asks the Martha.

I swear, there is the sound of someone pulling the string on her Chatty Cathy Doll and all of a sudden, IV Drip Granny from the waiting room is 4 feet 8 inches of No Doze and Red Bull, squealing about how much she loves candy and toffee and Pecan Pie and Crisco. It was perhaps the scariest thing I have witnessed in New York to date. The rest of us, well, we were holding back giggles, as Happy Man Billy hadn’t told us we were allowed to laugh, and besides, he was too busy not peeing in his pants himself to tell us what to do. The whole staff was in complete Sweet Jesus Mode. “Where did that woman COME from??” they wondered? She was on her death bed 5 minutes ago! And then, her Chatty Cathy string runs out and back down she sits, meow, meow, meoooow.

Was it any surprise that in segment 7, our final segment, that Grandma Methuselah was declared the winner? Um, no. Come to find out, she’s been on The Tonight Show several times. Rosie. Conan. Numerous radio shows.  And that’s just the Talkies, people.  God knows what all she did back in the days before motion pictures.You see, according to her website where she promotes her cookbook, she has won over 2500 Ribbons for her pies. Twenty. Five. Hundred.  Let me explain to you the gravity of that.

That is one pie PER WEEK,  EVERY WEEK, for 50 years.  But you see, there aren’t county and state fairs every week of the year. So, perhaps she enters 10 contests a summer, during fair season. That would be A LOT.  That would put this dear old lady at just about 250 years old.  There may even be pictures of her in Lascaux.  (Google it, folks, it’s a funny reference that only makes sense if your parents spent a small fortune on your Art History degree.)

She looks pretty good for her age.  See for yourself on Monday, when you are first introduced.  Then see her again on Tuesday, when she and The Martha make her Pecan Toffee Pie.  I’m not saying it was rigged. I’m not saying the woman was pre-determined. I bet she can make a mean pie. She might even be the person who invented pie for all I know.  I haven’t made 1% of the amount of pies that she has.  I am also not immortal, nor do I have a long elastic string hanging out of my Spanx that needs pulling every so often to wind me back up, but I hope to one day. Yes, one day, that could be me.

Seriously though, we had no real Martha time. Kind of a let down, as the show ran so late that she had to run off to her Radio Show (or to the liquor cabinet or both).  Normally, they say, you get to ask her a few questions. Not that I had anything to ask. She’s kind of frightening with that perfect posture and 6 foot tall stance. She’s a giant, I tell you. Really quite a presence.  With presents! We each were given DeMasco’s cookbook, a nice Pyrex Pie server carrying case, and a cool pie crust cutty outty thingy. Oooh, and Chocolate. And 3 kinds of hand lotion, because hello? That makes sense.

By the way, both my sister and I are itching to make the Butterscotch Pie that was featured on the show. It smelled like heaven! Unfortunately for her, it is an Ice Box Pie, and she has no Ice Box. She does however have an X-Box, but getting an entire pie in that thing is going to take some effort… And who knows if it will even set once she DOES get it in there.

I feel sure there are lots of things I am leaving out.  Oooh, like the time when we had to do a retake because Sexy McDenim Manager told Big M that she should just “read what it says on the Teleprompter, it sounds better,” and Big M nearly went postal. Yeah, that was cool. And the…Pomegranate Pie Lady. Dear Lord, please, for the sake of that poor woman, let them edit that out. But because I am NOT National Television, just in case they DO edit it out, here’s the run down.

We were told the WINNER. We were even told the 4 runners up. Everyone else? The other 165 Pies? We had no clue where we stood on a scale of 1 to 10.  All except Pom Pie.

“Who made the Pomegranate Pie?” asks the Martha.
A little hand goes up.
“It would have been delicious, but it was RUNNY. Not Good.”
Damnation. A little head hangs. “I’m sorry.”
“Yes, not good.”

Oh. My. Lord.  This woman was called out by the Martha. And made a fool of. Poor thing.  She should chat with Grandma Yoda. I bet she’d know what went wrong.  I mean, she did bring Pomegranates to America when she came over from Gondwana. She. Would. Know.
And that, my friends, is the true story of the day I went to The Martha Show. I bet I’m never asked back.
Stay tuned for more about my Big Apple trip and the meeting of fellow blogger Martha of CherrySpoon and my new buddy Gail, The Tough Cookie. It was one heck of a good time.  Also, stay tuned for a Pizza Hut Update.  It just keeps getting better. Until then, have a great weekend!!


  1. LOL, I'm dying because I think Marjorie is the woman from here in MN who wins everything every year at the fair!

  2. The Food Librarian says:

    I. can't. stop. laughing. And the bit about that damn Asian girl from Asian (via Queens), too much. I'm sure Martha would say something like that to me. Your pie will always be the winner in my book. By the way, have you peed yet, or has the stage manager scared it out of you? – mary

  3. Holy cow that was hysterical. I have to admit (haning my head) that Martha is one of my idols. I went to see a taping of her show also, although one main differenc- I was not asked to come there!! I was so excited that I could not even sleep the night before. I thought by some small chance that I would get to shake her hand..uh noo!! We had a great time- sat there freezing, watched the show and left with a felting book and a cd. Just think your experience is kinda like not winning an Emmy- it is just an honor to get nominated!

  4. RJ Flamingo says:

    That was a set-up, but good! I've seen Marjorie on Jay Leno's (when he had the Tonight Show), more than a dozen times over the last few years. Though usually, she was "Marjorie the Cookie Lady" who won a gazillion ribbons for her cookies!

    Well, at least now you can say you've had the experience, and you can cross one more thing off your "bucket list". :-D

  5. RecipeGirl says:

    Loved your brutally honest take on your experience at the show. WOW!

  6. Oh wow, what an experience! Thanks for being so honest and telling us how it really is! Still fun you got to go and I am sure your pie was the best:)

  7. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction says:

    Fantastic recap of your experience! I think reading your take on the Martha taping was probably better than actually being there :)

  8. I love this post! So hysterical…I am not surprised with your experience! Thanks for being so honest!

  9. Funniest post ever and totally something I would have suspected being in that setting.

  10. Oh did a great job at describing your "experience".I felt like I was there. But I am glad I wasnt! LOL
    When I went to Oprah, it was NOTHING like this. Very relaxed and nice.
    I knew the whole "martha" empire was too cold for me!!! The poor girl with the POM pie..OUCH.I am much more of a Paula Deen..rough around the edges girl!

  11. Susan @ SGCC says:

    Fabulous post! I'm laughing so hard I think I just snorted coffee out my nose! I guess showbiz isn't as glamorous as I thought. ;)

  12. OMG, one of the FUNNIEST posts I have ever read. Love it.

  13. I'm SO glad that I started reading your – this post almost made me snort oatmeal out of my nose this morning. It's refreshing that you're so totally honest about your experience- and it reaffirms my feelings that Martha Stewart can be one mean lady. Calling out an audience member like that? So not classy, so typical Martha.

  14. amanda @ fake ginger says:

    Omg, so fun to read someone's honest account of meeting Martha! However, I'm scared for you. If you disappear sometime soon, I'll know it was Martha. ;)

    Congrats on making it all on the show! An awesome experience no matter how it went!

  15. That is totally Marjorie Johnson. I laughed out loud when I got to that part and read her name.
    Marjorie's cookbook and a picture of her with ZoeBakes.

  16. FYI, I laughed at the Lascaux reference, without looking it up. :) And – oh my god, this post is…I don't even know the word. Stunning. Hysterical and horrifying at the same time. Priceless! I don't even know what to say. Oh my god! And yeah, I bet you won't be asked back either. At least not until you're 250 with the string thing in the back.

  17. What a crack up. Sounds like a fun if not frightful experience. LMAO the whole post. Thanks for making my day! :)

  18. laughing SOOOOOO hard. Love it!

    I just started reading your blog (At the suggestion of many friends)- would you consider submitting this post to the Golden Haiku over at Mel's Stirrup Queens blog??

  19. Susan, that woman has even been on Andrew Zimmern's show! What a scam. Did you mean Martha was drunk? OMG! I love it!!

  20. Nancy Baggett says:

    Still giggling. Extremely funny post. Confirms everything I'd ever heard, except I'd not heard anything about the drinking.

    Keep up the good work!

  21. What an experience – and a scary one at that. Martha is a character, that's for sure. Thanks for the behind the scenes glimpse!

  22. Uh, it's hardly a competition if the damn PIE LADY is there. That's so dumb. Sounds like fun anyway. :P

  23. Ciao Susan ! I'm sorry it was soo funny for us but not for you !! Terrible !! Baci

  24. Sarah, Maison Cupcake says:

    Hilarious post! What a flipping fix! Reminds me of a time I was runner up in a painting competition where the winner was supposed to be judged by the loudest cheers. They cheered loudest for mine but hey, copies of my work weren't already on sale on the way out.

    One day Susan, you may have your own TV show and you can drag out the Pie/Cookie/Flan lady yourself.

  25. The Double Dipped Life says:

    This is hilarious! Good for you for not bowing down, and telling it like it is! I can't believe that M made some of those comments!

  26. I laughed so hard. This is a riot. It probably helps that I'm not a fan of Martha Stewart '-)

  27. Tracy @ Sugarcrafter says:

    I laughed out loud several times while reading this. I think I would have had the same feelings about the whole thing – thanks for being so honest about it! I can't believe how she treated that poor woman with the pomegranate pie; geez.

    Ah, well. At least you can say you had the experience – and what an experience it was! ;-)

  28. Best. post. ever. I felt like I was there with you. I met her a few months ago when she came to my hometown for a book signing and she scared the small children and old people…she is a force of nature…for good and evil :).

  29. Great post! I was giggling so much even my dog was looking at me funny!

  30. Why am I not surprised? Great write up. There are some people that you just don't ever really need to meet.

  31. HYSTERICAL! I wish you could have secretly videotapped the whole thing. I'll def tune in for the show, but I'll bet they cut out all the "good" parts. Tehe.

  32. This write up is PRICELESS! I am so marking on my calendar to watch this episode on Monday. Seriously, you made me feel like I was actually there sitting next to you…about to pee my pants.

    Love it.

  33. What a hoot! I love your report from your "undercover" spy trip to the M show. It really does sound suspect if they were peeking under the pies and could see the names!!
    I look forward to the Pizza Hut Chronicles sequel. I know the PHut you speak of and have heard some stories about it myself!!

  34. That was hilarious!! I couldn't believe I was done reading it when it was over. I love how you tell it as it is and not make it one of those perfect, amazing, happy experiences without all the other parts.

    I think I'm going to watch this pie show for the grandma who loves crisco. I'm not normally a fan of her show because I find her condescending at times and her recipes definitely don't always turn out.

  35. Nutmeg Nanny says:

    Hahaha what a great write up. Although I do feel sorry for the pomegranate pie lady…how sad to be called out.

  36. cookies and cups says:

    HAHAHA! I love this ~ seriously. there are so many things I could comment on here ~ your shawshank reference…hilarious, old lady time ~ peed my pants, Asian girl ~ WTF?, and best of all, Martha is a double dipper ~ LOVE IT!

  37. I'm thinking you're right that you'll never be asked back (and possibly someone in The Martha's camp is going to get fired for not screening you adequately) but that was hysterical! Way to go!

  38. This is just so disappointing to hear the way the show went… :(
    I hope you had a nice time in NY otherwise :)

  39. Andrew's Mom says:

    Martha is going to be m.a.d. (or maybe m.a.d.d.)…too funny.

  40. This is like the Wizard of Oz behind the curtain…!

    Did you at least get to snatch back your pie and share with friends? You know the staff ate it and enjoyed every bite.

  41. Can't type. Laughing too hard.


  42. Tracy @ Sugarcrafter says:

    I've awarded She's Becoming DoughMessTic an award on Sugarcrafter! Thanks for being such an inspiration! :-)

    One Lovely Blog Award

  43. It just shows to go ya… .things are never quite the way they seem. She is one mean wo-Man!
    Your writing is absolutely hysterical. You do it well. Also I'm pretty sure you are a darn good pie maker. So we are to assume that there is a fair amount of usage going on in Martha's "Good Thing" world and never never never make a runny pie for The Martha!!! What a piece of work. huh? Glad you had fun in The Big Apple and what an experience. At least you got to share it with your blog world right? Thanks for the fun post.

  44. I thought I had seen that lady Marjorie before-she was a regular on Rosie-Her voice irritates the heck out of me-that's how I remembered-I'm glad you made it to the show safe and sound-loved your "inside view"

  45. I am ROFLMAO as I read this. TOOO funny!! I knew there was a reason I really don't like Martha.

    But glad you got to do THE SHOW!!!

  46. OMG thank you for not telling us this fantastic story about how fabulous it was and how Martha has glittered rainbows and butterflies drifting in her wake.
    I love her because she is one honest bitch but oh god I would be devastated if she told me my pie sucked.

  47. Hi, I was actually at the same show. In fact, I was sitting behind the Asian girl too so we must have been sitting near one another. I was so mortified for that poor pomegranate meringue lady! What was the point in that? I started getting suspicious of Marjorie after Joey singled her out as "the famous Marjorie" several times before the show had even started. When I left the studio, some disgruntled pie contestant was shouting at Joey on the street saying it was rigged-LOL! Oh well, the free baking book was nice…

  48. Well, at least you got a free trip to NYC out of it????
    I want to know what pie you made?

    And GREAT write up. (Yes, I'm a bit behind on catching up with my favorite blogs!)

  49. Hahaha I LOVED this post. I detest MS. Sorry you didn’t win, but I loved your honest opinion :)

  50. this is super funny, but martha stewart is a rude and hateful tramp lol


  1. [...] PS – Yep, that Candy Apple Pie up there is in fact the one I took to the Martha Stewart Show Pie Contest.  The pie that didn’t stand a chance against the…well, you can read about it here if you want. [...]

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