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Cookbook Obsession: Martha’s American Food

To introduce her newest cookbook of all-American recipes, Martha Stewart shares what makes a classic along with a few desserts to try.

We ask Martha: What makes a dish a classic?

“It’s using ingredients that are at hand, and a recipe
indigenous to the people in that area. That’s really what
American cuisine is,” the famed food icon tells us. “As a melting pot, there are so many things that come from other countries. For example, we have enchiladas and a spiced
pumpkin flan in the book, because they’re made in an American style, with American ingredients.”

That emphasis on fresh ingredients, combined with a respect for American
culture is key, especially in summer when so many foods are at their peak. “Summertime to me means using what’s fresh from the farm, fresh from the
earth, fresh from the tree,” she says. “If you have berries, make things out of the
berries—like Strawberry Shortcake. Or serve a
big bowl of berries, with heavy fresh cream from the farmer’s market and a
sprinkling of natural sugar. I mean, nothing’s better than that! That’s
the kind of stuff that I think is very inspiring.”

Next: 3 delicious dessert recipes from Martha’s American Food.

Courtesy Clarkson Potter

Martha Stewart’s Tennessee-Style Marshmallow Cookies

Based on the original Moon Pie—introduced in 1917, and still being produced by the same family-owned business in Chattanooga—Martha’s version of the graham-cracker cookie sandwich is filled with homemade marshmallow-cream filling, dipped in chocolate, and topped with salted nuts.

Courtesy Clarkson Potter

Martha Stewart’s Iced Sugar Cookies

These sugar cookies go patriotic with a burst of red, white, and blue Royal Icing (learn how to make this fantastic swirl pattern in the recipe, below). Martha’s tip: Make special cookie shapes by cutting out a piece of cardboard, laying it on the dough, and trimming around the edges with a knife.

Courtesy Clarkson Potter

Martha Stewart’s Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Where does this classic come from? As the legend goes: Dole sponsored a recipe contest in 1926, and of the more than 2,000 submissions, a version of this syrupy-spongy cake  was a clear winner. You can definitely go with canned pineapple, but Martha says using fresh fruit is worth it. “It makes the cake,” she says.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest