The One Thing Martha Stewart Would *Never* Serve Store-Bought at a Dinner Party

published Nov 13, 2023
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Martha Stewart on colorful background
Credit: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

If there’s one thing multi-hyphenate cooking icon Martha Stewart knows how to do, it’s make a proper dinner party spread. She’s helped fans perfect their hosting with recipes for everything from steak tartare to the iconic Martha-tini, plus tips on how to get the smell of garlic off your fingers and easily remove meat from lobster tails. And now she’s telling us what not to do — or, at least, what she would never do while hosting (and what she thinks hosts should steer clear of).

In an exclusive interview with Martha, who currently has a partnership with Pure Leaf, she told us the one thing she would never get from the store to serve for her guests, whether it’s a casual dinner or a holiday gathering: “I would never buy a dessert, ever, because homemade desserts are infinitely better.”

Seems fair enough, and we tend to agree that homemade is superior — although we’re not sure she’s tried Costco’s peanut butter chocolate pie, Aldi’s Dutch apple pie, or Trader Joe’s cranberry pie — but she’s allowed to be firm in her stance. But that’s not all she had to say.

“I don’t care what it is — it’s better if you make it yourself,” Stewart said. “And I never buy a Thanksgiving pie. Just don’t do it, no matter what. And don’t have pie if you don’t make it yourself. I’m very strict about things like that. Don’t have pie unless you know how to make a pie — so you better learn.”

The message is loud and clear, Martha! She even said she tries to make the brioche for her stuffing instead of buying it (but that’s the one thing she might buy if she doesn’t have time). Of course, not all of us are at Martha Stewart’s hosting expertise level, but thankfully there are plenty of store-bought desserts you can serve guilt-free to your guests — whether you tell them you made them or not. 

But if you want to listen to the queen and need a little help mastering your baking skills, don’t worry. There’s still time! We’re here to help you with the basics, and share some of the simplest recipes that will wow your guests. Here’s a good place to start.

And at the end of the day, Martha says, “You don’t have to serve as much food as some people do (sometimes people overdo it). Just serve really good food.” So don’t overthink it — and if you do choose to buy your desserts the next time you host, we promise not to tell Martha.

Read the full Burning Kitchn Questions interview with Martha Stewart here.