Monday, April 5, 2010

Martha Stewart Living: The Chicken Show

Last week my husband, Mars, and I drove down to New York for the taping of "The Chicken Show" for Martha Stewart Living. Storey had donated some books as giveaways, and we were invited to sit in the audience. Guests included best-selling author Susan Orlean of The Orchid Thief fame, who recently wrote the article "The It Bird" (the humble chicken, of course) for The New Yorker; esteemed children's book author Jan Brett, with her latest gem, The Easter Egg; chef Darius Salko, who made a yummy treat with a single farm-fresh egg; Terry Golson, the mind behind the Hen Cam and recent author of Tillie Lays an Egg; and Traci Torres, founder of, during whose segment the show featured Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens and Pocketful of Poultry.

Over a dozen audience members brought their chickens to the show. The audience managers provided matching Martha towels in taupe to drape over the intrepid owners' laps, since, let's face it, chickens aren't potty-trained. The birds were reasonably well-behaved with a minimum of squawking and fluttering and no Great Escapes. The most vocal was one of Martha's own chickens, who really had a great pair of lungs.

I've never been to a television taping before, and I quite frankly haven't watched television with any regularity since 1989, so it was a bit of a culture shock. I think back in the '80s they used to have canned sound, right? In these here modern times, they have an audience conductor that trains you in advance to obey cues about when to clap, how loudly to clap, how to taper off smoothly, and when to make appreciative noises indicating cuteness or deliciousness. Not that the audience wasn't naturally inclined to clap and appreciate. Everyone seemed so excited to be there and really enjoyed themselves, myself included!

It was a hoot to see Martha in person. She was everything I expected her to be, above all a consummate professional. After the chef had prepared his dish, "The Eggie," and the cameras were off for a short break, Martha started to dig in, enjoying every bite. The countdown to taping began, and she was still eating. The were counting down from five, and she was still eating. They were counting down from one, and she'd stowed the dish away but had a positively gigantic flake of black pepper on her upper lip. I held my breath in horror, but at zero when the cameras were rolling, she was ready, smiling, and impeccably groomed.

Alethea Morrison, Creative Director

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