Mary Stuart Masterson Moves From the Garden to the Director’s Chair

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Photo: Melissa Hom

A self-proclaimed “multitasking workaholic,” Manhattan native and actress Mary Stuart Masterson — best known for her roles in Fried Green Tomatoes and Benny & Joon — makes her directorial debut with The Cake Eaters. The title refers to haves and have-nots, and while “the people in the story believe they’re not cake eaters, hopefully by the end, they get a little taste themselves,” she says. The movie opens at Cinema Village and Cobble Hill Cinemas on March 13. Masterson didn’t have cake this week, but see what else she ate for her New York Diet.

Saturday, February 28
I had cereal — I like some of the Kashi ones — almond milk, and Hawthorn Valley organic yogurt, non-fat, plain. I drink decaffeinated green tea, sometimes Tazo Lotus, if I can find it.

For lunch, I often go to a place called Nectar in Brooklyn that has great smoothies and food of all kinds. I’ll have an apple-ginger-strawberry juice, and have them add frozen blueberries; it’s really good.

For dinner, I went to Buttermilk Channel, which is a new restaurant in Brooklyn. I loved it. I had a delicata-squash-and-ricotta tart, a really tiny little appetizer, and some herb-crusted hake on a cranberry bean and kale stew, very delicious. The table had oatmeal cookies that were warm and really good. Just this week I wasn’t drinking; I just had water. Normally, I like wine occasionally.

Sunday, March 1
For breakfast we had scrambled eggs. I use olive oil, pepper, and fleur de sel. If I have them, I’ll put in fines herbs, not dried herbs but fresh herbs, but I didn’t have them that Sunday.

For lunch, I don’t remember. Maybe we didn’t have lunch.

For dinner, I made a tomato sauce. I’m just running out of tomatoes from the summer. We live upstate part of the week and have a vegetable garden. The goal, the dream, is to have something from the garden until you plant the next season. But that’s ambitious.

I tend to freeze things cause it’s easier than canning. I grow beans and dry them for the winter. I had butternut squash until January. Usually I can tomato sauce and have it until December. I’m fresh out. I used canned San Marzano tomatoes — very important — olive oil, garlic, fresh thyme, fresh basil and, of coarse, salt and pepper. I used fresh Parmesan, but I usually also use pecorino cheese. And I made an arugula salad with julienne Granny Smith apples and a lemon-olive-oil dressing, just a little bit of garlic.

I just learned to cook over the years from all the great restaurants, loving food, cookbooks, just kind of enjoying it, enjoying the taste of it.

Monday, March 2
Monday I had yogurt, a banana, and live-grain Ezekiel cereal. It’s basically Grape-Nuts but extra natural. It’s fermented, or I don’t know what it is, but it’s pretty tasty. I don’t think I had tea that morning.

We stopped by my sister-in-law’s house to pick something up for another member of the family, and she had just made the most insane banana bread. It was good. We also had pears and Cheddar, just like a snack.

For dinner, we went to our friends’ house and they made some kind of one-pot dish, a chicken chana masala, with chickpeas and chicken and cauliflower in it, with rice. It was just last-minute. They did something delicious and Indian and it worked.

Tuesday, March 3
Tuesday for breakfast, I had eggs and spinach. I usually have a healthy breakfast. I often skip lunch or don’t have a traditional lunch and then have a snack late afternoon and try not to eat too late. My life is so changeable, it’s hard to get into a real routine.

Later I had a green juice — Mango, banana, greens, spirulina, that kind of stuff — from a juice bar on 14th Street and Ninth Avenue.

Then at s'Nice I ordered the broccoli salad they make that’s sort of caramelized, but I didn’t finish it. I’m pretty sure it’s roasted in olive oil, sea salt, and garlic, but mild, not heavy garlic. And then I had salad, they make a quinoa salad. If I’m getting a grain I try to get quinoa, and they have it every day. The salad has quinoa, black beans, corn, avocado that’s perfectly ripe and good, an avocado dressing, little strips of tortilla, and mixed greens. It’s really good and healthy. And I had rooibos tea. When we were doing the film Tickling Leo, we did our sound mix near s'Nice. It’s a great meeting spot because it’s got such healthy food but a really mellow atmosphere and you can just kind of settle into the place. And even the naughty stuff is good. They have vegan cupcakes. If you want a cookie, it has a billion grains in it.

Wednesday, March 4

For breakfast, I had scrambled eggs in a multigrain wrap and then I brought almonds and yogurt on the plane.

I just got into L.A. I don’t know where I’ll go ... I’m hungry, though. Les Deux Café has a beautiful atmosphere and it’s French. It’s been a while since I’ve been here. I used to live out here for six years and I always say, “I did my time.” I live in Brooklyn now. All my friends I grew up with say we got voted off the island.