I would like to have dinner with Georgia O'Keeffe

A review of Dinner with Georgia O'Keeffe: Recipes, Art, & Landscape by Robyn Lea

There is not an easy way to classify this gorgeous, gorgeous book. It's cataloged and shelved with the cookbooks but there's a lot more going on here.  It's an art book, a photography book, and a study of an artist.

International photographer and writer Robyn Lea wrote to the Georgia O'Keeffe Research Center in New Mexico to request access to approximately fifty of the artist's recipe and garden books. Her plan was to go through each book looking for annotations or notes that might share more information. When Lea arrived in Santa Fe and settled in to begin her research, she was surprised to receive a large, rectangular black box instead of the books she had requested: Georgia O'Keeffe's recipe box!!! The box contained dozens of handwritten recipes by O'Keeffe and others, and recipe clippings from newspapers and magazines. The recipes included cakes and breads and healthy dishes like sprouted wheat pudding. There were clippings of Christmas dishes and "Rainbow Sauces" by Toulouse-Lautrec. After Lea had a chance to study the recipe box, she was given the books she initially asked for and found dozens more recipes.

Lea compiled a list of the recipes and started cooking. She adapted the recipes for a modern kitchen. Her parents, family and friends back home in Melbourne, Australia tested them. Then the recipes and their ingredients were photographed along with props and still-life shoots inspired by O'Keeffe's style. The photograph for the "Brightest Borscht with Sour Cream & Fresh Dill" made my heart stop. I copied down the recipes for "Creamy Carrot Soup," "Banana Bread with Pecans & Buttermilk," "Golden Baked Southern-Style Spoon Bread," and an incredible multilayered crepe dish called "Isadoras."  It's all sublime. Lea shares that her kids also tested, tasted, and loved one of O'Keeffe's favorite summer drinks and a recipe for French vanilla ice cream. That tidbit charmed me!

Final analysis: I want this book for my birthday. That's the caliber. What an exquisite gift this book makes.

The author has also written and photographed Dinner with Jackson Pollack: Recipes, Art & Nature.