Sometime this week, Martha Stewart likely will sit down at her Bedford, N.Y., farmhouse to a dinner of boiled silver queen corn and peach cobbler with produce she bought from the Chattanooga Market. And on the ride home Sunday in her private plane, she and her staff enjoyed some Southern home cooking from Bea's Restaurant.
During her brief visit to the Scenic City for her appearance at She: An Expo for Women, Stewart made sure to savor a taste of the town.
"What a wonderful market, what a great place for it," she said at the start of a moderated question-and-answer session Sunday afternoon at the Chattanooga Convention Center. "I would have bought more stuff, but I have a garden at home. But I don't have corn or peaches yet."
During the third annual She Expo, rows of hundreds of vendors lined the inside of the convention center, offering women everything from discounted tooth whitening to free chocolate and chair massages.
But everyone was there for one person, and when Stewart took the stage at 2 p.m., she received a standing ovation.
MARTHA STEWART TRIVIA
• As a teenager, Stewart baby-sat the children of Yogi Berra, famed New York Yankees baseball player.
• She loves rap music.
• Right now, Stewart is reading "The Brother's Gardener" by Andrea Wulf; she just finished "Cutting for Stone" by Abraham Verghese.
• Stewart has about 800 people working for her, 100 of whom have been with her for 10 years or more.
• Her current obsession: Watching movies in bed on her iPad
Stewart, who was born and raised in New Jersey and currently splits most of her time between New York City and her Bedford farm, said she has taken much inspiration through the years from the hospitality of Southern women.
"I've gotten lots of good ideas from Southern hostesses, and from Tennessee hostesses, too," she told the Times Free Press, sponsor of the expo, in an interview before her appearance. "I think that their buffets are second to none. ... I like tasty, good, simple food, and that's what Southern food is."
Stewart, who blogs on her website daily, said she hunts for inspiration everywhere, and has set a goal to learn something new every day.
"Sleep is a waste of time," the 69-year-old said.
After Stewart described the food she feeds her dogs (fish cooked in water with rice and vegetables), the event moderator, Alison Lebovitz, said her husband had predicted that "[Stewart's] dogs eat better than we do."
"They do," Stewart quipped.
After Lebovitz had interviewed Stewart for about 30 minutes, the audience was allowed to ask questions.
One woman who stood up thanked Stewart for giving her the guidance in life that her own mother hadn't provided.
"Whether you know it or not, you're my mother ... what you do really affects people," the woman said.
"I've always forever tried to figure out how to get that fitted bed sheet flat and in the closet, and you're the only one that told me. And you also taught me how to tie my turkey. Every Thanksgiving I turn on the DVR and it's you and me fighting this turkey, trying to get it tied," she said.
"I just want to know I'm so grateful for your step-by-step instructions. I appreciate what you do."
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