Martina McBride at home in her kitchen
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Martina McBride

is a multiple Grammy© country music artist who has sold more than 18 million albums to date, earning her 14 Gold, nine Platinum, and three Double Platinum certifications. Stimulating sales were six #1 hits and 20 Top 10 singles. A native of Kansas, she began her music career selling Garth Brooks concert souvenirs. Martina lives in Nashville with her husband, John, and their three daughters.

Q&A

Q: Tell us about your new cookbook, Martina’s Kitchen Mix? What made you want to write this book and share these recipes with your fans?

A: Martina: I love cooking and I’m always looking for new recipes to make for my family and friends. I think writing a cookbook and making an album are similar. I’m looking for the best songs I can find when I make an album and I put them on the album so I can share them with the fans. The same is true of a cookbook.

Q: You write that you’re more comfortable with your cooking skills now, tweaking recipes and revisiting ones that didn’t work the first time around. What did you do to feel more relaxed and confident?

A: Martina: Cooking is like anything else in life. It takes practice. The more you cook, the more relaxed and confident you get in the kitchen. Then it’s easier to use your imagination and cook intuitively rather than just being stiff and sticking to a recipe. You start to question why a recipe didn’t work or what spice, herb or change in cooking steps would make it better. One of my favorite things about Martina’s Kitchen Mix is that there are so many variations and ideas on how to make the recipes your own. My goal is for cooks, even if they are on the inexperienced side, to tweak the recipes to their liking.

Q: You compare cooking to singing, explaining that both are an expression of caring and sharing. Why do you feel cooking is an act of giving and love?

A: Martina: Most people love good food and sitting down to a meal or something that has been prepared with care. I feel like the time you put into making a dish or a meal for someone shows that you care. It’s a nurturing thing for me. I always wanted my kids to eat healthy, delicious foods, and making that happen for them by cooking for them was a way for me to nurture them and show them that I care.

Q: Do you always have music playing when you are in the kitchen? What are your go-to tunes right now?

A: Martina: Honestly it depends. If I’m cooking something I’m really comfortable with and have made it many times, it’s easier for me to have music playing. If I’m trying a new recipe and need to concentrate, not so much. The playlist I’ve put in the book has some of my favorite jams to play in the kitchen while I’m cooking. I think I especially enjoy music if it’s the weekend and I’m making a big breakfast or brunch. Then Aretha and Ray Charles come out!

Q: When did you start cooking? What’s your earliest memory of being in the kitchen?

A: Martina: I started cooking in 4-H when I was about 10. One of my earliest memories is making dinner for my family…I was probably 11…and I had this HUGE menu. And I just kept adding things I wanted to make. It was like it was the only meal I was ever going to get to cook and I wanted to cook everything! It was pretty overwhelming to be honest. I still have a tendency to put too much on the menu if I’m giving a dinner party. I’m learning how to simplify. Three dishes done well are better than 6 that you weren’t able to pay enough attention to.

Q: What are five ingredients you always have stocked in your kitchen?

A: Martina: Fresh garlic, good quality olive oil, high quality sea salt (I like Maldon flakes for finishing a dish), onions, and canned tomatoes. With these ingredients you can make a great sauce for pasta in the spur of the moment.

Q: What are your favorite kitchen gadgets/tools? What are your kitchen must-haves?

A: Martina: Whisk, rubber spatula, wooden spoons, good chef’s knife, good paring knife, cutting board, fish turner, cheese grater, good cookie/baking sheets, skillet, saucepan with lid, and a citrus squeezer.

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