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Test-Kitchen Baby Shower: Behind the Scenes at Shira Bocar's Oklahoma-Inspired Fete

What do you do when your coworker is pregnant? You host a baby shower for her, of course. And if you work in the test kitchen at Martha Stewart Living, you can be sure there will be plenty of top-notch treats at the party.

Senior Digital Food Editor
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When Lucinda Scala Quinn started to plan a surprise shower for test kitchen expert and Eat Clean host Shira Bocar, she thought of doing all sweets. Shira has a sweet tooth and especially favors dark chocolate.

 

Then Lucinda talked to her friend Sara Graalman, who, like Shira, hails from Oklahoma. “Sarah had just inherited her grandma’s recipe box and we had an epic conversation about the recipes." The friends talked about that mysterious delicacy Frito pie, and Lucinda was inspired: “I thought it would be fun to make Frito pies in the Frito bags for the party. That’s when we decided to go Okey chic for our Friday afternoon shower.”



Colorful paper decorations were courtesy of assistant managing editor Paulie Dibner who went "pretty and pink" because Shira was having a "sweet baby girl." Pom-poms adorned the walls and table and Paulie got creative with a circle cutter and craft paper for other table decor.

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Fabulous Frito Pies

The Frito pies, as you can imagine, were the hit of the party. In case you aren’t from Texas, Oklahoma, or parts thereabouts, Frito pie -- also known as Frito chili pie -- is a thing. Fritos are topped with chili, cheese, chopped raw onions, and other ingredients. It’s the kind of food you hanker for, especially when you move far from home. None of the other food editors had eaten Frito pie before, but Shira calls the dish “a national treasure.”



Lucinda made her favorite chili (you can use any chili, with meat or not) and made queso, with Ro-Tel canned tomatoes and chiles and Velveeta cheese, to go on top. “Ah, the magic of that cheese sauce,” sighs food editor Greg Lofts. Pickled jalapenos garnished the top of each pie. “It was so good” says Shira, who noted those “super-duper salty tortillas have the heft to support all the chili and toppings.”

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Super Sweet

And the fun didn’t end with Frito pie. The table was laden with desserts. The food editors all pitched in, baking favorite recipes Shira had developed for the magazine. Jennifer Aaronson  made a test-kitchen favorite: Simple Layer Cake with Vanilla Frosting. Laura Rege baked Dark Chocolate Spelt Brownies and Greg made chocolate-ganache-topped cupcakes using our One-Bowl Chocolate Cake recipe. (Er, did we mention Shira likes chocolate?!)

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Showered with Love

And Shira? She was very surprised. Surprisingly, she hadn’t suspected anything when her coworkers were all baking cakes in the test kitchen -- ones that weren't for upcoming stories, mind you. The shower was full of “all my favorite things,” she gushed, “and there was ice cream!”

 

We think this Okey shindig was a-okay. Hopefully baby-to-be enjoyed it as much as the test kitchen team!