8 Unbelievable Things You Never Knew About Martha Stewart

Time to pull out your trivia cards!

Photo: Marcus Nilsson

Here's what you already know: She's a cooking, crafting, homekeeping wonder-woman. Since her humble beginnings in rural New Jersey, Martha has dedicated her life to providing the masses with the tools, techniques, and (drool-worthy!) cake recipes they need to enrich their lives. Over the years, she has worked to become the best-selling author of 80+ titles, the founder of her own company (Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia), America's first self-made female billionaire, and the face of a trusted household brand for families around the world. (How's that for girl power?)

But as anyone in her inner circle will tell you, that's not the whole story. Here are a few surprising secrets you never knew about America's homekeeping maven:

1. Some of her favorite snacks include pickles, buttermilk, and liverwurst.

(But not necessarily together, of course.) According to her coworkers, she's been known to stand in front of an open refrigerator and drink buttermilk straight from the carton, or eat pickles right out of the jar. And above all? She lives for liverwurst.

2. She babysat for legendary baseball players.

Like say, Mickey Mantle and Yogi Berra! In her high school years, Martha babysat for their children. (And if you ask her, yes, she is a die-hard Yankees fan.)

3. She catered a dinner party for Paul Newman… and almost ruined it.

In her early days as a caterer, Martha was invited by her Westport neighbors at the time –- Paul Newman and his wife Joanne Woodward -– to cater a dinner party they were hosting. Thrilled, she said yes. She had just returned from a trip to Morocco and was eager to recreate a buffet inspired by the sweet and savory dishes she encountered in her travels. One dish, in particular, was a pigeon pie called bisteeya. In preparation for the party, she baked eight of these pies, but left them in the oven a little too long. They all came out burned! Thinking on her feet, she cut the pies, disposing of the burned sides of the crust, and served them plated as individual wedges. The guests and hosting couple were none the wiser. (And in retrospect, it makes for a great story.)


4. She has a house dedicated to her basket collection.

Okay, a small house, but a "house" nonetheless. Her love of baskets -- and her passion for collecting them -- can be traced back to her childhood. Growing up as a little girl, Martha remembers putting baskets to good use around the home, whether it was harvesting vegetables from the garden with her father or gathering loads of laundry with her mother. Today, her vast collection of woven vessels are kept on her Bedford farm -- either hanging from rafters or lining shelves.

Bryan Gardner

5. She plays classic movies for her dog Francesca.

Franny's favorite? "Black Beauty" circa 1946.

6. She color-coordinates her pen ink to her books.

For book signings, Martha always matches the ink of her pen to the book -- black, brown, or blue, depending on the color scheme of the cover.

7. She climbed Mount Kilimanjaro.

Yes, that Mount Kilimanjaro: Africa's tallest mountain. And in true Martha fashion, she even helped cook a meal of fresh vegetable soup, chicken risotto, and tomato salad mid-hike for her fellow climbers.

8. She has a secret technique for making a chicken fall asleep instantly.

Snake charmer? More like chicken charmer. Sorry, but we can't tell you anything more! Just watch:

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