Oddest of the Odd Couples
No one would think to put Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg together, but it works!
On paper, their friendship shouldn’t work.
He’s a rapper from Long Beach, California, whose career was launched when he was featured on Dr. Dre’s Chronic album. And she is a former fashion model from the East Coast who serves as America’s expert in all things domestic.
Yet somehow, Snoop Dogg and Martha Stewart have found a genuine camaraderie. One that began in 2008, and has culminated in their Vh1 series Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party, which finds the two cooking and sitting down to eat and compare their dishes amongst friends.
With a second season on the way this fall — which will include guests P Diddy, Usher, Wanda Sykes and Terrence Howard — and talk of collaborating on a cookbook, the duo couldn’t be happier about their current partnership. A partnership that makes even more sense when one learns that Snoop has been cooking since he was a young teenager, and has even taught his own wife and kids how to cook.
Emmy magazine’s associate editor Sarah Hirsch spoke with Martha and Snoop about what they’ve learned from each other and what they like to bring to a potluck dinner party.
How did you two originally meet and how did this relationship blossom?
Martha: We must have had a really good celebrity booker on Martha, because Snoop showed up one day and we did a cooking segment. He made brownies.
Martha: And we joked, we had a nice rapport. And then I think you came on again and then we did the Justin Bieber roast.
Snoop: It was chemistry. You could just feel it.
Do you two ever go out to eat together?
Martha: Only once we went out together and we had a room off the kitchen.
Snoop: In the back room we was interviewing and eating. Like a mafia movie, eating in the kitchen somewhere.
When you decided to do this show were you worried that your core audience might not like it?
Snoop: Never. Because Martha has always been respected in our community. She’s always embraced our culture; she’s always been real with our artists.
Martha: It’s just a silly thing because I don’t look at any personalities like that. I’m very open-minded. I am not a segregationist in any way shape or form. It’s fun to mix and match.
Did you hear about the reactions to your show as being a bright light on television in our current political climate?
Martha: Oh, we get that a lot. That it’s a merging of cultures, music, and ghetto with serious suburb. That was my instinct in the first place and I think it was your instinct too.
Snoop: Yeah, it feels good when people appreciate the fact that we just two people that love to do what we do. We have a lot in common and we have a lot that we learn from each other.
What have you learned from each other in the last two seasons?
Snoop: I’ve learned to be a better chef, to prepare my meals better, and to be more of a listener. I like to take the lead, but when I’m with Martha I’m able to listen and learn. I’m just an a**hole sometimes, but she shows me how to control my attitude.
Martha: I learned that our program is quite universally watched. What we’re doing on the show is both entertaining and a learning experience for the viewer. And I think they are taking real facts and real recipes out of the show, which is important to me. And I learn a lot about the music community that I would never have known otherwise.
What’s the process of getting people who don’t have an expert palate to experiment with their cooking?
Martha: Well in the 1960s there was a lady called Julia Child who changed the way that Americans eat. And what we’re doing with this show is changing the way that Americans eat that didn’t change then. We’re introducing them to all kinds of great stuff. Yesterday I made steak au poivre.
Snoop: Oh my God. That sauce. Martha, that was the best meal you’ve cooked, and I’m not just saying that. Did you see me eat everything? I didn’t even eat none of my food. I forgot I cooked.
Martha: Yep, I saw. And we’re trying to get people to eat more healthily and organically, from the garden and the farmer’s market. Snoop keeps reverting a little bit back to government cheese but we’re gonna get him out of that.
Snoop: You got to go to what you know.
What’s your favorite dish that the other person has cooked?
Snoop: Her steak yesterday…it shut everything down.
Martha: His stuffed Cornish game hens. I’m not a big fan of Cornish game hens, but I ate my entire hen. And the stuffing was his mother’s recipe and it was delicious.
Snoop: I couldn’t believe you ate all that, Martha. You made me so proud I wanted to cry.
How has this show helped to expand your palate?
Martha: He ate an oyster yesterday.
Snoop: Yeah, and I don’t eat food like that. These were fried, they put it on toast with some tartar sauce. It looked like a shrimp sandwich. So she’s teaching me how to open my mind and my stomach up to different meals and different dishes. It’s hard telling her no.
What’s your favorite junk food?
Snoop: Remember them chips that you didn’t like? The onion chips?
Martha: That’s another thing I’ve learned. I’ve learned a lot about potato chips. And different kinds of American cheeses.
Snoop: Yes. But you eat all of my potato chips before I put them on my meal.
Martha: I know! Because they’re very tasty. I had no idea that they’re so tasty. They’re just not a major food group in my world.
Snoop: I turned her on to sour cream and onion, BBQ…
And what’s your favorite dish to bring to a potluck?
Snoop: Potato chips.
Martha: Mine’s very silly. I raise my own chickens and hens and I have beautiful eggs. I went to an outdoor country wedding recently and I took a giant bowl filled with perfectly hard-boiled eggs and they disappeared. I had different kinds of salt and pepper in little bowls around it. That was a huge hit, and how simple is that?
Snoop: Her eggs aren’t just one color. I don’t know how she get ‘em to change colors. It’s like an Easter egg hunt with different color eggs.
Martha: Many different breeds of chickens.
Snoop: So that’s what that’s from?
Martha: Yeah, they’re chickens from China, France, England, South America…all different kinds.
What’s your favorite ingredient when cooking?
Snoop: Either seasoning salt or garlic salt. I know Martha don’t like me to say that, but I love garlic salt. She likes the real garlic. I need the salt. Something about that sprinkle game.
Martha: And my favorite ingredient is either butter, lemon, or whatever is fresh.
Have you cooked for your grandson, Snoop?
Snoop: He ain’t ate my food yet. He like going to McDonald’s. What about your grandkids?
Martha: Oh, they have never tasted McDonald’s. They go once a week to EN Brasserie, which is this really good Japanese restaurant in New York. They’re five and six, and they know the menus by heart, and they know all the chefs.
Snoop: Early age. Teach ‘em.
How many recipes would you say you have in your head, Martha?
Martha: A lot. Thousands maybe. But altogether, my company has more than 25,000 recipes in our repertoire. All tested. We have 88 books and we’re working on our 89th right now. And then my 90th book is Martha’s Flowers; it’s a garden book.
Snoop: Can I put a flower in there?
Martha: Which one?
Snoop: My favorite.
Martha: Yeah, I need some.
Snoop: I’ll get you a few.