Martha Stewart appeared in a segment on Thursday’s Today Show called “Martha’s Tips To Stay Healthy.” That would not, under normal circumstances, be considered sports. Even by my very loose guidelines, it doesn’t make the cut: There’s no competition involved, you can’t write about it on a sports website without people asking you why you’re writing about it on a sports website, it doesn’t require physical exertion, and you can’t really choose sides. However, we are living through an unprecedented time of quarantine thanks to a novel coronavirus, and sports have been cancelled, so we must make do with what we have. And what we have is this absolutely bats— video from our pal Martha.
Look, before I go any further, I have to be upfront with you: I am not an unbiased reporter in this situation. I have been obsessed with Martha Stewart since she posted a 43-picture slide show about refitting her tennis court for the summer four years ago. Her content is so unabashedly privileged, so completely, obliviously tone-deaf to the world around her, that it’s actually pure. There’s a level of shameless honesty that accompanies her Instagram post in which she’s wearing a short dress and has written, “Horseback riding weekly is very good for ones legs.” Well, yes, Martha: eating caviar weekly is good for the circulatory and immune system thanks to its omega-3s and Vitamin B12. But not all of us have the means. Her health tips segment did not disappoint, so I’m going to break it down as though we were watching game film.
The piece starts at an anchor desk where Savannah Guthrie welcomes Martha to the show. Guthrie says she has a sore throat, so she is in her home, which is impressive, because the set looks professional. Most of the video content coming out of famous people’s houses has been exciting, because we get to see how nice their home offices are (as a millennial who lives in New York City: LOL, what’s a home office?). But Savannah has a standard news desk set-up with a blue background. And while I’m writing this wearing a pair of 12-year-old sweatpants, a large Mötley Crüe sweatshirt, and leopard-print slippers, Savannah has put on a real shirt and makeup.
So has Martha. She’s wearing a white button-down under an orange sweater which appears on screen as an orange blur, because whoever is holding the camera is having trouble keeping it still. At first I wondered if Martha was filming during a seismic event or had set up a makeshift tripod by, like, taping her phone to a candlestick or something. But at one point a thumb appears in the corner of the shot, so I am sure someone is holding the phone—at a social distance—for her.
The first recipe Martha teaches us about is a tonic for sore throats that she claims will boost immunity. To make this, one needs a hunk of fresh ginger, and one needs to procure it quickly, because ginger is running out. I find it hard to believe that we’re in a ginger shortage when no one can find a roll of Charmin anywhere, but I don’t know why Martha would lie to us, so let’s continue. She tells us that we are supposed to slice the ginger and add it to a quart of boiling water (no one actually knows how much a quart is, so I say just eyeball it). The next step is to put “the juice, and the pulp, and the rind of two beautiful lemons” into the water as well. Beautiful lemons are a lot to ask for during the apocalypse—I’d settle for just “good-looking with the right haircut” lemons. But I’m worried the tonic won’t work if the lemons aren’t perfect 10s, so please do your best to find some. Procuring gorgeous lemons is not a problem for Martha, because she has a citrus greenhouse where she grows them herself. If you weren’t a useless peasant, you would, too.
This is around the time the thumb appears in the shot, as whoever is filming this moves in closer to get a good look at the potion. Martha gave up sugar for Lent this year, but times are tough, so she puts some into the pot anyway. Once she’s boiled it for a while, she stores the mixture in pitchers and drinks it either hot or cold, which makes sense, seeing as those are the two most popular temperatures at which to drink things.
Then Martha tells us that another nice thing to do right now is juice, as she puts her hand on top of the industrial-looking Squeezo-2000 sitting on her counter. Everyone should have one of these—it’s the size of a small playground slide and absolutely essential in home kitchens. Martha shoves a bunch of celery into the juicer, because celery is full of antioxidants. “I just juice everything, a whole cucumber!” Martha exclaims, as she shoves a whole cucumber into the machine, followed by spinach that she grew in her vegetable garden. She says that the Chinese believe in using the whole peel of an orange as well, so she shoves one in, even though it’s a bold statement to say that an entire nation of people believe one thing. She also mentions that the virus originated in China, which she definitely could have not said, because that isn’t relevant to juice.
This is the point in the video where Martha seems to have gotten out over her skis a little bit, because the cup she’s been using to collect juice begins to overflow. Green liquid spills all over her counter.
As someone who often forgets to put the mug under the coffee machine and brews coffee all over her counter, I relate to this part the most. So does Savannah, who is laughing in the split screen, and says, “Martha, you’re human! I didn’t think things like this happened to you!” Martha patiently explains that it’s simply because the juicer is new, and she forgets that it has a smaller carafe than her old juicer. “This happened on Jimmy Fallon, once,” Martha tells us. I am now wondering how many times Martha has juiced on national television, but that’s a blog for day 35 of quarantine, so I’m going to wait to look into it.
Now we get to the baked potato portion of the segment. Martha says this is a good, healthy lunch for children, and then proceeds to take a potato out of the oven and slam it onto a cutting board from about three feet above the counter. This startles me, but she explains that it breaks up the fibers.
She then loads up the spud with cottage cheese (????), butter, sour cream, and some chives that she grew in—you guessed it—her garden. She plunks a soft-boiled egg on the side (“the pièce de résistance”) as she keeps repeating how healthy this lunch is. I’m not a health expert, and I try not to assign value judgments to food, but I vaguely remember nutritionists suggesting that maybe you want colors besides beige on your plate, and I’m not seeing that here. But then Martha breaks out a sweet potato and proves me wrong.
I want you to know that the camera has been shaking the whole time. Martha won’t stop talking about potassium and vitamin-C as she holds the sweet potato, which is a problem for Savannah, because she is out of time and has to kick Martha off television. But don’t worry—all the recipes are online. Martha smiles beneath the chandelier of copper pots and pans hanging above her head. “Thank you for being with us, Martha, you cheer us up,” says Savannah. Yes. Thank you, Martha, indeed.