Articles / Sutton Foster and the Beauty of First Tastes

Sutton Foster and the Beauty of First Tastes

Published November 2, 2021

The actress and author talks about coming up in the worlds of acting and food, crafting the blues away, and crocheting for Hugh Jackman

“I grew up with such a limited exposure to food — the most exotic food I had was tacos from the Ortega kit. I think my mom had issues with food; she was rail thin, I rarely saw her eat. It’s not like she was like, ‘Oh, food: it’s delicious!’ She was a very selective, minimal eater. So I wasn’t raised with this example of a woman enjoying the fruits of food. So being a mom — and I have a daughter, and I LOVE to eat — I really want her to be raised in a household where there’s a healthy relationship to food, there’s no restrictions, there’s variety.”

This is something that most people can say, but: I had a complicated childhood. My father was a World War II veteran, and one would have said he had PTSD (had there been “such a thing” in the ‘50s), and my mother was an interesting and in many ways wonderful woman, but a difficult one. I’m not going to get into it, but it wasn’t exactly easy; however, there was a lot of joy, also. There were many gifts, one of which was my parent’s passion for Broadway shows. I grew up in Manhattan, and we’d go to shows on the spur of the moment: I saw My Fair Lady with Rex Harrison and Julie Andrews, and Camelot with Robert Goulet.

I passed my love of Broadway on to my two kids, happily, and that brings us to this week’s episode of Food with Mark Bittman. Our guest today is one of the best-known names on Broadway, and thanks to her endearing role on TV’s Younger, is now well-known outside of Broadway, too. Yes: It’s Sutton Foster, and to bring it full circle, she talked with my daughter, Kate, about complicated childhoods, and Broadway, and her new book, Hooked: How Crafting Saved My Life. We are thrilled to have her.

The recipes featured in the episode are below. Please listen, subscribe, and review! And remember to call us on 833-FOODPOD (833-366-3763) OR email us at [email protected] with all your food-related questions.

Thank you, as always. — Mark

Aunt Mary Anne’s Fudgy Bonbons

“My Aunt Mary Anne won the Pillsbury Bake-Off® Contest in 1994 when the grand prize was $50,000 and a full kitchen remodel!” says Foster. [Fun fact: In 1996, the prize money jumped to $1,000,000.] “Here is her recipe.”


  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

  • 1/4 cup margarine or butter

  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated)

  • 2 cups all-purpose or unbleached flour

  • 1/2 cup finely chopped nuts

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

  • 60 Hershey’s Kisses or other milk chocolate candy pieces

  • 2-ounce white chocolate baking bar

  • 1 teaspoon shortening or vegetable oil


1. Heat oven to 350°F. In a medium saucepan, combine chocolate chips and margarine; cook and stir over very low heat until chips are melted and smooth. (Mixture will be stiff.) Add condensed milk; mix well.

2. Lightly spoon the flour into measuring cup; level off. In large bowl, combine flour, nuts, chocolate mixture, and vanilla; mix well. Shape 1 tablespoon dough (use measuring spoon) around each milk chocolate candy, covering completely. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.

3. Bake at 350°F for 6 to 8 minutes. DO NOT OVERBAKE. Cookies will be soft and appear shiny but will become firm as they cool. Remove from cookie sheets. Cool 15 minutes or until completely cooled.

4. Meanwhile, in small saucepan, combine the baking bar and shortening; cook and stir over low heat until melted and smooth. Drizzle over cooled cookies. Let stand until set. Store in tightly covered container.

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— Recipe from Hooked: How Crafting Saved My Life

Coconut Macaroons

Makes: 2 to 4 dozen
Time: About 20 minutes, plus time to chill

Easiest. Cookies. Ever. Unsweetened, untoasted, ground, or finely shredded coconut is the only thing that works here. Fortunately, it’s commonly available; if all you can find are the ribbons, pulse them a few times in the food processor to get the right texture.


  • 3 egg whites

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 3 cups unsweetened finely shredded coconut (see the headnote)

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • Pinch salt


1. Heat the oven to 350°F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Lightly beat the egg whites with the sugar until frothy, then mix in the coconut, vanilla, and salt until the coconut is evenly coated.

3. Wet your hands and make small mounds of the mixture, each 1 to 2 tablespoons, about an inch apart on the prepared sheets. Bake until golden, about
15 minutes. Cool the macaroons on wire racks for at least 30 minutes before eating. These will keep in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

— Recipe from How to Cook Everything: Completely Revised Twentieth Anniversary Edition