Did Martha Stewart Really Steal an Employee’s Torte Recipe in the ‘80s?

Did Martha Stewart Really Steal an Employee’s Torte Recipe in the ‘80s?

Welcome to Delicious or Distressing, where we rate recent food memes, videos, and other entertainment news. Last week we discussed Taylor Swift-themed football food.

Martha, oh Martha. She always keeps us on our toes: serving a five-month prison sentence for a shady stock trade one day and gracing the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue the next. The cooking maven and controversy magnet was accused this week, via CNN’s new docuseries The Many Lives of Martha Stewart, of stealing a cranberry nut torte recipe from an employee and crediting it as her own in her cookbook. Where Martha had an opportunity to bring visibility to an employee’s baking chops, she instead apparently went the route of plagiarism—distressing indeed. (Martha’s representatives didn’t respond to a request for comment from the Washington Post)

Also this week, Daily Harvest launched “calorie-conscious” meal kits meant for Ozempic-takers. Love Is Blind, known to feature lots of wine-guzzling, is selling branded Chardonnay so you can partake. Soup-slinging museum protests are back—and the target this time was the Louvre’s Mona Lisa.

Read more below on this week’s food news around the internet.

Martha Stewart is in headlines again—and did she ever really leave them? That’s headlines, plural, because the entire internet is abuzz with salacious stories mined from the new Martha Stewart docuseries on CNN called The Many Lives of Martha Stewart. In just two episodes we’ve already learned that Martha smuggled food into prison, during her notorious sentence, in order to bake for fellow inmates. At one point, Martha even managed to make a caramel flan—allegedly all with ingredients she’d snuck from the kitchen. The other revelation that’s surfaced so far is distinctly less cheery: Apparently Martha plagiarized one of the recipes in her cookbook Entertaining, one of her first publications that helped to secure a national audience. The whole story is that one of her former employees, Sarah Gross, went to work for Stewart, and brought in the recipe for a dessert she’d made, a cranberry nut torte. Soon Stewart’s then-catering company started making the torte often, before it ultimately appeared in her 1982 cookbook. A representative for Stewart didn’t respond to a request for comment from The Post. Technically, you can’t steal a recipe in a legal sense, because they can’t be copyrighted, but this seems like a pretty cut-and-dry case of torte theft to me. I’m giving this a 3.2/5 distressing —Sam Stone, staff writer

I must admit that when I heard Daily Harvest was suddenly billing itself as Ozempic food, I was like, “Wasn’t it already Ozempic food?” I’ve tried my fair share of the brand’s healthy little snick-snacks (cup-sized grain bowls and brothy soups) and have always considered them tasty bases that need some serious beefing up (eggs, bread, a massive dollop of hummus). So, I guess the brand’s latest target audience—people on GLP-1 medications, the drugs designed to treat diabetes that have been co-opted en masse to promote weight loss and stymie your appetite—makes sense.

According to Daily Harvest’s website, the “dietitian-curated collection includes pre-portioned, calorie-conscious meals,” such as a 180-calorie broccoli soup and a 130-calorie dragon fruit smoothie, to “complement your weight management journey.” It reeks of a strategic marketing play to me: None of the meals were specially developed, it appears, and the company instead seems to have cherry-picked particularly low-calorie options from its preexisting lineup, based on a survey of 2,000 people using the drugs. Honestly, though, Daily Harvest is just a cog in the American weight loss machine. Drug makers reap billions of dollars in profit, and the same Big Food companies that are partially responsible for this medical crisis quibble over possibly losing customers who just aren’t hungry any more. Regardless, they’ll all continue finding ways to sell us stuff. I’m rating this one a 4.2/5 distressing. —Ali Francis, staff writer

Those enormous golden wine goblets wielded by everyone on Love Is Blind have been enigmatic ever since the Netflix dating show first aired. What are they hiding behind their gleaming metallic veneer? Wine, presumably. Love Is Blind is one of the most vino-friendly reality series I’ve ever seen; a wine glass is fused to every hand in nearly every conversation. “Is love truly wine?” You might ask. A group of former cast members is in fact asking this very question—on Thursday, they launched a “Love Is Wine” Chardonnay ahead of the show’s Season 6 premiere. Created in collaboration with Cupcake Vineyards, the bottle is bright gold from top to bottom, “pairs with Love Is Blind marathons,” and is already sold out. (Sorry to disappoint.) I can only respect Netflix’s ability to essentially take a $13 bottle of wine that could be found on any corner bodega shelf, spray paint it metallic gold, and sell it out nationwide within 24 hours. You’re doing amazing, sweetie. 2.5/5 delicious. —Karen Yuan, culture editor

Soup became a nouveau protest medium in October 2022, if you remember, when climate activists hurled some at Van Gogh’s “Sunflowers” in London’s National Gallery. A different activist group this week, calling for more sustainable food production in France, took cues from the soup-throwing playbook, their target of choice being Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. Mona made it out unscathed, thanks to her protective glass barrier, but the protesters caught eyes nonetheless. While some have called into question the efficacy of the soup-throwing tactic altogether, the harm to fine art appears minimal, with more visibility to their cause at the end of the day. I only have to wonder, as I wondered in December 2022, how museums haven’t modified their security checkpoints to control for soup at this point. 1.2/5 distressing. —Li Goldstein, digital production assistant

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Author:Li Goldstein | Website:www.bonappetit.com

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