September 4, 2008

Pot & Kettle Actual Speech and Photos



Martha Stewart

Pot and Kettle Club

August 24, 2008


Thank you, Gerrit [Gerrit Lansing, President of the Pot and Kettle Club], for the lovely introduction and, as president of this distinguished club, for hosting me here today. I would also like to thank the Pot and Kettle Club and its members. I’m delighted to be with all of you this afternoon. When I spoke here in 2001, it was before the gentlemen of the club at their weekly Thursday luncheon. I’m honored to be back—and to have the opportunity to speak to a wider audience.

I understand that for the past two years, Zbigniew Brzezinski has spoken to you about the state of the world. I wish I’d been here as I’m sure it was fascinating and illuminating. Today, I’ll be focusing on a subject a little closer to home: the beautiful state of Maine, its magnificent landscape, the businesses and artisans that give this community its unique character, and my own home, Skylands on Mount Desert Island.

Maine as Inspiration

Maine has been an inspiration to writers as diverse as Sarah Orne Jewett, Robert McCloskey, E.B. White and, of course, Stephen King. It is also an inspiration to me and the subject of numerous stories in our magazines and segments on our television shows.

We have featured Maine in 50 or so magazine stories.

The state has also been the setting of 79 of our TV segments since the launch of our first TV show in 1993.

On our website you’ll find a fabulous recipe for a Maine Boiled Lobster. I’m sure you all have your own tried and true methods but I can assure you that ours is a very good one! You’ll also find a recipe for what I think is the most delicious Maine Lobster and Corn Chowder, which we featured in the August 2008 issue of Martha Stewart Living.

I’ve learned countless fascinating facts about Maine life from our stories and from the time—never enough—that I spend at Skylands.

For Skylands section:

In her 1896 Maine novel The Country of the Pointed Firs, the novelist Sarah Orne Jewett wrote, “In the life of each of us… there is a place remote and islanded, and given to endless regret or secret happiness.” It’s no secret that Skylands is a source of great happiness to me. It is a refuge where close friends, new friends, and great food merge into a lovely and relaxing environment.

For E.B. White, Maine was a different kind of refuge. An exceedingly private man, he discouraged visitors. So much so that when Herbert Mitgang of The New York Times interviewed him back in 1977, he wrote, “To discourage visitors, we hereby report that [Mr. White] lives in ‘a New England coastal town,’ somewhere between Nova Scotia and Cuba.”

Cadillac Mountain

Do you know that Cadillac Mountain, named after Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac, an emissary of Louis XIV, is, at 1, 532 feet, the loftiest coastal peak north of Rio de Janeiro? It is also the site where you can observe the sun’s first rays in the continental United States, at least during the winter. [I was fortunate to celebrate the start of the new millennium alongside friends watching the sun rise on Cadillac Mountain.]

Wabanaki Baskets

At our company we appreciate--you might even say we venerate—artisans and craftspeople. And Maine has a rich history of crafts. Consider the Wabanaki Indian tribes and their beautiful handcrafted baskets, which were first made more than 400 years ago.

Among Maine’s four Wabanaki Indian tribes, it is said that the first men and women emerged from the bark of ash trees after a mythic giant shot arrows into their trunks. Generations of Maliseet, Micmac, Passamaquoddy, and Penobscot have honored that legend by weaving splints of brown ash wood into baskets.

Raye’s Mustard Mill

At our company, we fell very strongly about celebrating age-old crafting traditions. We feel just as strongly about family businesses like Raye’s Mustard Mill in Eastport, Maine, which has turned out their version of the spicy condiment for more than one hundred years. Raye’s is North America’s last remaining traditional stone-ground mustard mill.

Founder J. Wesley Raye first marketed the condiment in 1900 to local sardine companies, which packed a portion of their catch in it. After the sardine industry declined, J. Wesley’s granddaughter Nancy Raye resolved to make and market artisanal mustards. Today, they sell more than 4,000 barrels of mustard a year.


The potato industry has contributed to the economy of Aroostook County and the state of Maine for more than 200 years. It is the state’s biggest farm crop. According to the Maine Potato Board, Aroostook County is home to approximately 380 potato farms spanning some 53,000 acres. It produces more potatoes than any other county in the United States. It is also one of the last areas in the country where schools are closed for “Harvest Break” so kids can help farmers bring in their crop. A 300-acre farm can yield eight million pounds of potatoes in a single harvest.

Sea Glass

Richard LaMotte, the author of Pure Sea Glass, says it takes at least twenty years for a sea glass, which is also called “mermaid’s tears,” to be transformed into a sufficiently polished specimen.

Lisa Hall, whose designs are featured in this “Sea-Glass Jewelry story,” has been collecting sea glass since she was a child summering on Little Cranberry Island and studied jewelry-making in Florence Italy. She’s a resident of Mount Desert Island and has a gallery and studio in Northeast Harbor.

The best time to comb the beach for sea glass is after a strong storm, which churns up the water and sends waves to batter the shore. Low tide is best as a greater expanse of beach is exposed.

Sea glass is less plentiful today than it was years ago. Beach erosion and the wide use of plastic and aluminum packaging are factors, as is the fact that more people are recycling glass. That said, you can still find sea glass along the coast of Maine on the Cranberry Islands, Monhegan Island and Mount Desert Island.


Another important Maine crop is, of course, blueberries. Do you know that wild blueberries are one of the few fruits native to North America? Maine’s 60,000 acres of wild blueberries stretch from Downeast to the Southwest corner. Native Americans were the first to use them—fresh and dried. It wasn’t until the 1840s that wild blueberries began to be commercially harvested.

Wild blueberries are not just delicious. They also have a very high level of cellular antioxidant activity. Antioxidants are believed to protect against cancer, heart disease and aging. Anthocyanin, which gives blueberries their magnificent blue color, is the main compound responsible for the blueberry’s health benefits. And because wild blueberries are more intensely blue than cultivated varieties, they are even higher in this beneficial compound.

Whoopie Pies

Last September, the owners of Cranberry Island Kitchen in Northeast Harbor joined me on The Martha Stewart Show. I met them right on the streets of Northeast Harbor where one of the owners was walking along with a bucket of the cutest baked goods—a shortbread lobster, buttermilk-cake clams and whoopie pies. If you haven’t had the whoopie pies from Cranberry Island Kitchen, I urge you to do so! They are the most delicious whoopie pies I have ever tasted.

And the owners Karen Haase and Carol Ford are wonderful. They told me about the origins of whoopie pies. A woman in Bangor was making a chocolate cake. It was during the Depression and this particular baker was a true Mainer and, by definition, very frugal. She had some leftover batter and dropped it onto a cookie sheet. Then she used some extra icing to create a kind of cookie sandwich. When she put them together she said, “Whoopie.” The rest is history.

Karen and Carol were kind enough to share their recipe with me. You can find it on