As a twenty-four year old from Lincoln Nebraska, Margaret Wood became a companion, caretaker and personal chef for Georgia O’Keeffe, perhaps the twentieth century’s most important female artists. In 1992 she published the cookbook “A Painters Kitchen: Recipes from the Kitchen of Georgia O’Keeffe” which forms the basis for this wonderful cooking class.
Ms Wood shares many first hand accounts of Georgia O’Keefe’s philosophy of life and her diet which emphasized garden fresh greens and fruits and was decades ahead of its time. “My workday would start at 5pm and I worked overnight preparing her meals.” I cooked with fresh-from the garden herbs, the most interesting being Heath, Lovage (celery related) and mint tea (herba buena). Purselain is known to contain more omega-3 oil than any other leafy vegetable. Ms Wood told a story of a hike into the hills to pick fresh watercress from a particular stream.
Our menu featured Corn Soup made with fresh corn, milk and minced onion. School of cooking chef Allen Smith said the soup should be served very hot, “You should have to blow on it” he said. The Arugula Salad was as simple but delicious as the soup. Fresh arugula, carefully washed with stems removed was placed in a wooden bowl that was rubbed with a garlic clove. The herb dressing was made from a special olive oil from Southern Spain. The freshest herbs, lovage, tarragon, dill, basil and flat leaf parsley , lemon juice, salt and whole mustard seen rounded out the recipe. Needless to sat the result was delicious. The balance of the meal included baked chicken with lemon, fried potatoes, and Norweigan Apple Pie Cake, baked in a cast iron pie pan with rum sauce, all from Margaret Wood’s cookbook. The School of Cooking chefs followed Miss O’keefe’s directions both in spirit and practice. The class provided a rare insight into Georgia O’Keeffe’s personal life, routine and passions.