Garlic

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Georgia O’Keeffe’s cookbooks in the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum Research Center

Oh, this is very good. We can learn a lot about each other by peeking into the kitchen, our kitchens won’t lie. They tell the story about how we relate to the earth, nature, and our own bodies.

I have made your secret garlic salad dressing from Weekends with O’Keeffe by C.S. Merrill. There are 8 references to garlic in this book, by the way. You were a believer of garlic.

The one about the dressing must be shared because of it’s efficiency and elegance.

:Miss O’Keeffe showed me the secret of the salad dressing: garlic chopped into a large spoon, salt sprinkled over with the garlic crushed into it, olive oil poured over, then lemon juice or vinegar. Then [this is the best] you pour it drippingly over the greens and toss with the same spoon.:

This dressing creates such a vivid salad experience. I love using one spoon to make and dress a salad. Because I hate doing dishes.

By the way, one of the other references to garlic is the rumor that mosquitos didn’t bite you because you smelled of it. If this is true, this must be why we wear garlic to ward off vampires.

This picture of your cookbooks reminds me of the time I made my father consomme, a type of clarified broth. It was my first visit after learning that he was in hospice care. I wanted to make him something special and heard him mention consomme. It may have been just a passing comment but I latched onto the idea and set about making it. The funny thing about consomme is that in presentation it totally belies the sweat, ooze, funny smells, dirty frothiness and sheer effort of the preparation. The stock is boiled several times with all kinds of impurities rising to the surface. The egg whites are added and as they seek to collect in one mass, they further clarify the broth. Once the broth is strained great pains are taken to remove any remaining fat, including at the end skimming a clean paper towel over the surface of the liquid. THEN you simmer the liquid again and add tiny perfect cubes of carrot and celery to float in the broth when served as a start to an elegant meal.

We drank our consomme out of tea cups sitting in front of the tv. My father seemed pleased and I felt comfort that a whole messy dirty situation could boil down into something so clear and precise.