Thirty years ago today, in 1982, the world was introduced to Martha Stewart when her first book, Entertaining, was published. At the time, Martha was a homemaker, a working mother, and a successful caterer in Westport, Connecticut. After the book was published, things snowballed and a string of books followed, including Martha Stewart’s Quick Cook (1983), Martha Stewart’s Hors D’oeuvres (1984), Martha Stewart’s Pies & Tarts(1985), Weddings (1987), The Wedding Planner (1988), Martha Stewart’s Quick Cook Menus (1988), and Martha Stewart’s Christmas (1989), and others. By 1989, Time magazine had dubbed Martha the “guru of good taste”, and she’s been going strong since–learning, teaching, and inspiring all of us to work hard and do good things for ourselves and for others. Happy Birthday, Entertaining–and thanks, Martha!
Here’s how it all went down, according to Wikipedia:
Andrew [Martha’s first and only husband, whom she divorced in 1987] and Martha Stewart moved to Westport, Connecticut. They purchased and undertook a restoration of the 1805 farmhouse on Turkey Hill Road that would later become the model for the TV studio of Martha Stewart Living. During the project, Stewart’s panache for restoring and decorating became apparent. In 1976, Stewart started a catering business in her basement with a friend from her modeling days, Norma Collier. Stewart soon bought [Norma’s] portion of the business. Stewart was also hired as the manager of a gourmet food store, the Market Basket.
Andrew had become the president of prominent New York City publisher, Harry N. Abrams, Inc.. In 1977, he was responsible for releasing the English-language edition of The Secret Book of Gnomes series, by Dutch authors Wil Huygen and Rien Poortvliet, which quickly became a blockbuster success and was on The New York Times Best Seller list. He contracted Stewart’s company to cater the book release party, where Stewart was introduced to Alan Mirken, head of Crown Publishing Group.
Mirken was impressed by Stewart’s talent and later contacted her to develop a cookbook, featuring recipes and photos from the parties that Stewart hosted. The result was her first book, Entertaining (December 13, 1982), ghostwrittenby Elizabeth Hawes.