As Margin Notes approaches its half-year anniversary, it's time for the first of a series of mini-Q & A interviews designed to indulge my nosiness about the things people I admire cook, eat and pursue with passion.
Broadway, film and television actress Stephanie March is the daughter of my dear friend Laura -- and if you could meet the mother, you'd immediately know the source of the daughter's beauty. In the early years of Law & Order, SVU, J. and I used to Tivo each episode and then fast-forward it to the last 15 minutes so we could watch Stephanie -- as ADA Alexandra Cabot -- work her court room magic.
Laura is a terrific cook, but when your son-in-law is Bobby Flay, it does give you a moment or two of menu-planning anxiety. Once Laura e-mailed me: "What do you make for Bobby Flay?" and I replied: "Room in the kitchen for HIM to cook."
I caught up with Stephanie when she was just back from Africa.
CE: My secret source (aka your gorgeous mother) told me you recently were in Africa working with a charitable group called One Kid One One World.
How did you get interested in this particular organization?
SM: I became involved with OKOW through one of my dearest college girlfriends. Her husband is a comedy writer in Los Angeles and his writing partner, Josh Bycel, started OKOW about 3 years ago. The idea behind the organization is so simple that it's brilliant. It is basically this: "What could you and your friends and your friends' friends do to help someone if you all gave $100?" The answer is: A LOT. The organization focuses primarily on girls' education and health and it has been a real honor to participate. I just returned from our trip to Kenya where where we witnessed the completion of the solar power project that will allow the girls to have lights, computers, a library, and a chemistry lab. It was extraordinary to see the first bulb turn on and the looks on the girls' faces at that moment. I'll never, never forget it.
CE: You're married to a chef; your mother's a great home cook and your sister graduated from culinary school. You have access to so much great food; what is your secret shame fare? Little Debbie Snack Cakes? Peanut butter on squishy white bread?.
SM: I have more than one secret food shame and it really is something I have to be kind of cautious about around the house. First of all, I love, and I mean LOVE, the Double Jalapeno Cheeseburger at the Sonic in San Angelo, TX. It is so cheesy, greasy, spicy, mustardy and decadent. I have to eat it in the car by myself so Bobby won't catch sight of me with fast food.
My second secret shame fare is chili con queso....but made the real Tex Mex way with Rotel and Velveeta. Yes. You read that correctly. Velveeta. My sister (who has no shame about this because it's her hometown delight, too) made it once in my apartment and Bobby was mortified. He begged me to throw it out and then went about making his own queso fundido type dish to try to lure me back to "the light."
CE: One of my favorite Food Network episodes is the one where you cook Bobby dinner on his birthday. Is there a story behind that killer peach cobbler?
SM: That peach cobbler is out of the Junior League Cookbook from Jackson, Mississippi. If you are looking for it its proper name is "Peach Cobbler Supreme," and I always insist on calling it by its real name. My Mama made it when Charlotte and I were growing up and even to an 8 year old who generally prefers anything chocolate, it was a pretty spectacular treat.
CE: It's always a treat to see you on Bobby's show, but where else can we see you performing in the near future? Broadway, perhaps?
SM: I would love nothing more than to do another Broadway show, but my accountant would prefer for me to get a job on TV. I just did a spot on Grey's Anatomy and was up for a big show, but now there's this strike and things are completely on hold. I am supportive of the writer's for sure (we are all in this together) but it's making the industry pretty sluggish right now. Cross your fingers.
CE: Fingers crossed.