Chalk it up to chemistry, the perfect recipe, or secret sauce. Whatever the magic is that happens between Snoop Dogg and Martha Stewart, viewers lap it up on “Martha and Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party.”
Premiering one day before the 2016 presidential election, VH1’s hybrid cooking show-celebrity hangout became a safe haven for those afraid that Trump’s America would create even more marginalized groups and divisions. Instead, “Potluck Dinner Party” envisions a world where homemaking meets hip-hop and “A Good Thing” lives in harmony with “Nuthin’ But a G Thang.” Martha and Snoop’s friendship and natural camaraderie became a model for the world we wanted to live in.
“It feels good when people appreciate the fact that we’re just two people who love to do what we do,” Snoop said at a small press event to promote the show’s upcoming second season. “There’s no such thing as people not being alike until you sit down and talk to them and see exactly what you have in common. We have a lot in common, we have a lot that we learn from each other, and we’re teaching the world how to be better people at the same time. Not on purpose, but it just happened like that.”
Stewart said, “We got a lot of that. As a merging of cultures, music, serious lifestyle, ghetto and serious suburbs, we had the whole thing. I felt really good about it because that was my instinct in the first place.”
Although the show isn’t overtly political, it can’t be lost on the duo that being a woman and being black automatically makes their collaboration into a political statement. Neither star discussed policy during the interview, but their social media feeds are a different story. Directly before and after the election, both voiced support for Hillary Clinton and disappointment in Trump’s win. Also, in an Instagram photo taken by user Newlin777 at a museum, Stewart appeared to be giving the middle finger to a giant painting of Trump. In a music video, Snoop pointed a gun at a person dressed as a clown version of Trump.
Following those controversies, both have tried to be a bit more circumspect about their opinions, but with varying degrees of success. When asked what happened to a photo he took with Trump that was hanging on the wall of his house, Snoop said, “Yeah, it got a bullet hole in it right now.” Later, publicists emphasized that the comment was purely meant in jest and should not be taken seriously. It’s this kind of caution that reveals just how aware Snoop and Stewart are that politics has become more divisive among ordinary citizens than ever.
“Some of my executive team was a bit worried because I have a lot of different retail partners,” Stewart said. “The Home Depot is a pro-Trump organization, and we don’t talk politics on the show really. And they’re very proper. It’s just a silly thing because I don’t look at any personalities like that. I am very open-minded. I am not a segregationist in any way, shape or form.”
When it comes to food, the two couldn’t be more different. While Snoop lists garlic salt as his favorite ingredient (“something about that sprinkle game”), Martha prefers butter, lemon and “whatever’s fresh.” And while Snoop says he’d bring potato chips to a potluck, Martha of course takes it to another level.
“I raise my own chickens and hens and I have beautiful eggs,” she said. “I went to a wedding recently, an outdoor country wedding, and I took a giant bowl filled with perfectly boiled hard-boiled eggs. I had different kinds of salt and pepper in little bowls around it. That was a huge hit.”
Those eggs, which Snoop marvels over because their shells are different colors, come from chickens that are as international as Stewart’s palate. The birds hail from France, England, South America and even as far as China.
Even their grandchildren reflect their disparate palates. Snoop’s grandson is all about McDonald’s, whereas Stewart’s 5- and 6-year-old grandchildren have never tasted anything from the chain. “They go once a week to EN Brasserie, which is this really good Japanese restaurant in New York, and they know the menus by heart,” she said. “They know all the chefs … and they eat the tuna tartare and they eat the chawanmushi. They have all kinds of sushi and they just love Japanese food. But they’re vegetarians for the most part.”
What makes this partnership work is that the two really do learn from their differences. “I have learned a lot about different kinds of American cheeses,” Stewart said. “I learned a lot about potato chips. They’re very tasty. I had no idea that they’re so tasty. They’re just not a major food group in my world.”
Snoop added, “I turned her on to sour cream and onion. I turned her on to barbecue.”
Stewart also raved about Snoop’s Cornish game hens. “I’m not a big fan of Cornish game hens, but I ate my entire Cornish game hen and a stuffing of dressing,” Stewart said. “It was his mother’s recipe and it is delicious. So that will be in the new season. There were three game hens. He stuffed them and then he also put the excess stuffing in the bottom of the Pyrex dish and he cooked on top of it so even the stuffing at the bottom was so delicious.”
“I couldn’t believe you ate all that, Martha,” said Snoop. “You made me so proud that I wanted to cry.”
As for the rapper, the entire show has been a gastronomic learning experience. Even tasting cuisine like Indian food is a novelty for him: The day before this interview, he ate his very first oyster.
“I don’t eat food like that,” he said. “They fried it and put it on some toast with some tartar sauce. It looked like a shrimp sandwich. They fooled me. It was good. I also had to pick a crab up [on the show]. Remember when they were cutting that big ol’ meat? I was holding [a side of beef]. I’m done a lot of things that I normally wouldn’t never done in my life, but Martha opens me up and it’s hard telling her no. She’s teaching me to open my mind and my stomach up to different menus and different dishes.”
These new experiences has paid off. “Potluck Dinner Party” will return for another season with more celebrity guest stars, and both Stewart and Snoop share a “joint” nomination for Outstanding Host for a Reality Competition Program. That means Snoop could win his first Emmy before he wins a Grammy, for which he’s been nominated 17 times and never won. In fact, the rapper has become so comfortable hosting that he’ll also host the upcoming revamped game show “The Joker’s Wild” airing later this year on TBS.
True to his partner in culinary crime, Snoop credits Stewart for upping his hosting game.
He said, “I think that will be a completely different show, but I’ve learned how to handle myself onscreen being next to Martha as far as reading the lines and all of that. Because I’m just an asshole sometimes, but being next to Martha, she shows me how to control my attitude.”
“Martha and Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party” will return for its second season later this year on VH1.