Martha Stewart asked Elizabeth Hawes to help her write her book. “We would sit down and talk for an hour or two, and I would write up what she and I talked about,” Hawes said. They talked about Stewart’s life growing up and the meals her family members loved to make. The experience proved to be stressful for Stewart. She had never written a book before and had no idea how to end it.
She was also very concerned when the publishers suggested the cookbook be in black and white. “A lifestyle book has to be in color. You have to show people the beauty,” Stewart said in a clip. Nowadays we expect to see pictures in cookbooks, showing us what the dish we’re making should look like, but in 1982, most cookbooks had recipes, but no photos. Even though Stewart was feeling anxious and frustrated on the inside, those around her didn’t see it. “Martha was always a person that could just put it together, put it out there on the table and it was beautiful. She never got flustered,” Michael Skott, the photographer for “Entertaining,” said.
The book was a hit, becoming the most successful cookbook since Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” was released in 1961. It even surpassed Stewart and Hawes’ expectations. “We had no idea how successful the book was going to be,” Hawes said.