Last evening’s launch party was the official introduction for Martha Stewart’s new cookbook, One Pot.
It could’ve just as easily been a victory lap.
While re-introducing myself to the doyenne of all things entertaining, cooking, gardens, and decorating (This Examiner enjoyed working with Martha and her team while on staff as director of communications at the New York botanical gardens), it was her long-time publisher, Clarkson Potter, who fairly percolated with unconcealed jubilation when telling Martha that they’d “sold out” in pre order, shot up to the top spot – “For all books, not just cookbooks” Martha clarified – before hitting lucky #13.
It is now an Amazon #1 Best Seller!
It was a happy aura party. Everything looked airy, crisp, ordered, and purposeful.
Macy’s Stella 34 Trattoria restaurant is all white and gleaming stainless steel.
Martha’s food recipes were prepared by the Stella 34 kitchen team in their very open kitchen; the delicious treats passed by the wait staff.
There were three cocktail selections, including champagne.
This Examiner was enjoying a Ginger Caipirinha refreshing drink and chatting with Susan Ungaro, president, The James Beard Foundation, when Martha came over to say hello.
Martha was keen to show off her very own Robert Risko caricature that is part of the art filled wall featuring Macy’s designers and “culinary consultants,” including Marcus Samuelsson, Whoopi Goldberg, and Tommy Hilfiger.
Later, from the stage, Martha told the guests that the food being served were recipes gleaned from the One Pot cookbook (see below) and she added that while the cocktails are not in the cookbook, they are available on her Cutting Edge Cocktails App available for the iPad and iPhone.
There were appropriately-timed (as in brief) formal remarks from Macy’s, Clarkson Potter and Martha.
Macy’s SVP saluted Martha and the growth of the brand, adding Martha Stewart Living (MSL) “Epitomizes the epicurean lifestyle. “
Donna Passannante, Clarkson Potter/Crown Publishing’s marketing director remarked, “In this space, no one can hold a candle to Martha.”
Passannante said she’d been with Martha a long time, having worked on 23 of Martha’s 82 published books.
All that time must’ve clouded her memory as from offstage Martha corrected her, saying One Pot comes in at #83. (not 82)
Either way, a truly remarkable achievement.
Afterwards, during her own remarks, Martha said One Pot is her newest “baby” which would bring her total technically to 84 – because she has to count her real baby: her daughter, Alexis.
Before turning the stage over to Martha, Passannante noted One Pot hit the market at #3 and is now at #1.
Now all the guests knew.
Martha said she cooked all the recipes in the book.
Martha explained the One Pot cookbook is a solution. “It fulfills a need and a want and offers healthy and nutritious meals that are delicious and gratifying – and made in one pot.”
She predicted this cookbook will be one of the best selling – ever.
Bet on the lady.
One Pot Cookbook – 120+ easy meals from your skillet, slow cooker, stockpot, and more
The One Pot Cookbook delivers on Martha’s description that it is a solution. It is indeed.
This Examiner has the privilege to review scores of cookbooks. In fact, the home library is stacked with autographed cookbooks – most of them from The Beard Foundation’s fabulous series: Beard on Books.
Some are lookers – their layouts and cooking steps are the stuff of dreams.
Some are odes to a culture with family stories and homage recipes.
But this cookbook is one you will USE ALL THE TIME. Cross my heart.
“Let me count the ways.”
Because it offers delicious food for everyday meals and for special occasions.
The recipes offer that exhilarating food discovery that only hold-in-your-hand cookbooks can offer.
Yes, the recipes are easy to make but that’s not the dealmaker for this Examiner. Cooking good food should take time and effort – but that’s just me talking.
Most folks do need quick and easy and One Pot offers plenty of timesaving gems.
Make no mistake, though, this is not a fast-meal cookbook.
What it is, is real recipes, real cuisine, exciting curated recipes that are savory and sweet, with a new, fun way to cook the food.
In one pot or pan.
Most of the dishes are cooked on the stovetop – which for anyone with a small apartment kitchen can really be appreciated.
(Or like someone dear to this Examiner, uses the oven for storing pretty bags…)
One Pot, Two Pot, Three Pots, Four
Don’t know your Dutch Oven from a Slow Cooker or a Pressure Cooker?
First up: a primer on the pots is probably in order.
And that is precisely what Martha provides – for all six of the pots employed in the cookbook.
The Table of Contents is arranged by pot:
Dutch Oven, Skillet & Sauté Pan, Slow Cooker, Roasting Pan & Baking Dish, Pressure Cooker, Stockpot & Saucepan, and Desserts. Yes, Desserts!
Martha’s Introduction reads like a pep talk.
And here too, the information gets right to the point.
She describes how the recipes make use of the six different types of cookware and what each one is best for. She says you probably have the cookware in your kitchen. (If not, Macy’s is the go-to place to stock up on kitchen provisions, including the Martha Stewart Collection
Each chapter in the soft-cover cookbook features one of the six pots, an image of a prepared dish in that pot, and on the opposite page, the specific pot heading and all the recipes for that pot, with corresponding page numbers. Easy to understand and follow layout.
The lead-in to each chapter starts with a description of the pot, The Basics – including what it’s used for, how to use, followed by bullet-pointed Cooking Tips.
The facing page has a photo of the chapter’s pot with arrow-pointing bubble-like tips on the key pot parts to look for and what they do, as in “A Note about Size (for the Dutch Oven): A six-to-eight quart model is a good bet – big enough for a whole chicken or a big batch of stew, but not unwieldy. Round versus oval is a matter of personal preference.”
Every chapter includes a pot icon at the bottom of the recipe for easy reference; every recipe is no more than a full page, the directions not more than four paragraphs – most are merely two; with prep time—both active and total time included — and serving metrics, too.
These are must-haves for a good cookbook.
The facing page to the recipe is of the prepared dish. Also a must-have.
One wants to see what the finished dish is to look like.
Besides, “the eyes eat first” and this helps the cook select the food for the mood…
The piece de resistance is that for each pot, Martha offers a “One Pot, Four Ways.” This is a sure-fire roadmap to say, creating a signature dish and then trading out the vegetables with seasonal ingredients.
The suggestions are featured with graphics. The corresponding directions are bullet-pointed in two to four steps.
Recipes (and their pots) served at the One Pot launch party:
Carnitos Tacos – Dutch Oven
Macaroni and Cheese – Skillet
Pulled Pork – Slow Cooker
Stuffed Tomatoes – Baking Dish
Corn and Shrimp Chowder – Stockpot
Peach Crumble – Baking Dish
Chocolate-Chip Cookie – Skillet
Chocolate Mousse – Blender