Steak Tartare With Ruffles Chips: Martha Stewart on How Simple Things Can Be Refined

·6 min read
Martha-with-ICONIC-BOX - Credit: Frito-Lay
Martha-with-ICONIC-BOX - Credit: Frito-Lay

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“Who says the simple things can’t be refined?”. Martha Stewart has been the queen of hosting for years, from teaching dinner party etiquette, to helming TV specials on how to elevate your home for the holidays, all with the poise of a certified icon. But that doesn’t mean she doesn’t enjoy a good ol’ fashioned potato chip. Maybe just as a canapé topped with tartare.

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This summer, she’s whipping up more hors d’oeuvres and working with Frito-Lay Variety Packs on launching their “Unbox the Icons” campaign, bringing together three people who know a thing or two about how to reach iconic status: Mario Lopez, Mark Morrison, and of course, Stewart herself.

Fans can win one of the limited-edition Frito-Lay Variety Pack “ICONIC Boxes” by heading to Mario’s and Martha’s Instagram posts starting today through June 5. For a chance to win, you can comment with you favorite Frito-Lay snack and use #UnboxTheIcons and #Entry. Stewart curated her own box herself, which includes everything from two different types of sour cream chips, to a Sur La Table canister of gourmet sea salt, a signed Martha’s American cookbook, and a cooking class voucher.

Whether it’s Lopez’s favorite hot sauce and Cheetos, or even Stewart’s steak tartare and Ruffles, though, you don’t have to shell out tons of cash to memorable moments as a party host. Your guests are probably more interested chatting with you, then watching your back as you work over a hot stove in the kitchen for a five-course meal. “The best part about spending time with friends and families is the shared joy that comes with making memories over a delicious snack,” said Martha Stewart.”

Credit: Frito-Lay
Credit: Frito-Lay

Frito-Lay

Buy: Frito-Lay Variety Pack $30.55

Martha Stewart spoke to Rolling Stone about her new collaboration, advice on avoiding outdoor entertaining faux pas, and how hosting a dinner party is not that different from hosting a TV special.

As an icon, I think it’s really interesting that when you hear the name “Martha Stewart”, you picture more charcuterie boards than potato chips in a bowl. So why Frito-Lay?

We do actually use Ruffles chips in a couple orders that we make. This [flavor] is a particular favorite of mine — it’s the base of a steak tartare order. We found that the Ruffles are strong enough to lift up a spoonful or so of this really delicious steak. We also use Ruffles for a kind of caviar sour cream dip. We have some other, what we call “high-low” orders, like with Doritos and salsa. We have a lot of snacks like this that people love and never get tired of. So it’s kind of fun, isn’t it?

Define “high-low”? What do you think it is about pairing something that feels very luxurious, with something that’s as accessible as Ruffles or Doritos that really appeals to people?

Well, you could make a brioche toast point for the base for your steak tartare, which is, you know, a pain in the neck but also a safe choice. It’s pretty easy to make. First to find a brioche loaf and then slice it thinly enough, then to put it in the oven for a certain amount of time without burning it, and doing all of that stuff. But also, it’s so much easier to just use a Ruffles potato chip, right? So that’s what we do instead.

Besides being a hosting expert, you have a wide variety of television hosting credits to your name. So what do you think are some of the qualities of hosting, say, a TV program that you think apply to hosting a dinner party?

We just finished a new special, which is going to air on ABC on May 25th. It’s called The Great American Tag Sale. And I’m really pleased with the with the result, we really had a successful tag sale. Tag sales are fun. First of all, they’re hard work. I had some really good helpers tracing and arranging all of these thousands of items that we’ve sold for the benefit of one of my favorite charities: [The Martha Stewart] Center for Living at Mt. Sinai. So it was a very, very satisfactory hosting, but I worked real hard on it because I conducted the entire tag sale. Similarly, I think hosting a show is just like hosting a dinner party at your house. All those little details have to be attended to, and you have to pay attention to your guests, your customers, whoever. You have to really both pay attention and be a hostess.

What are some of the biggest spring entertaining faux pas that you’ve seen then? And how can you avoid them?

Weather is always a big problem. Always be prepared for bad weather and be prepared to bring people indoors if you’re planning something outdoors, unless you have a tent. Never, never, never plan an outdoor event without having an alternative. That’s a big faux pas, and a real disaster for many people. And just don’t make things too complicated. Make it fun and serve really good food. People notice if the food is crummy. They really do. And they leave on a sour note. You want people to be happy and leave having full bellies, and having had a delicious drink that they’ll remember.

What do you think would even pair drink-wise with these kinds of chips, or anything with salty, crispy elements?

Well, I like serving one special drink at a party. Last time I was at a party, we had a delicious drink — it was Maker’s Mark bourbon, lime juice, and a slice of orange and ice. You don’t expect to mix Maker’s Mark with [those ingredients]. Bourbon is pretty straightforward, but [that drink was] more like whiskey sour, but not quite. It was very delicious. And I like making margaritas, so I oftentimes serve a “Martha-Rita”, which is something fruit-flavored, like a pomegranate margarita, with a salt-rimmed glass and a large quantity of it in a big goblet. Then you can sip that for a long period of time and have a variety of these delicious snacks, and you’re happy. That’s what the whole goal, is to make your guests happy.

Keep it simple. So do you have a specific “party-prepping” playlist, or any music that you like to listen to in the kitchen while you’re prepping for an event or guests?

[Laughs] I’m not a good person to ask about the popular or current day music. I play classical music from early, early morning until late at night. I love it. I have a lot of animals living in my house—canaries, dogs, and cats—and my canaries love Mozart. And they really love Bach.

Bach?

That’s true. They do.

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