Plus Tiger's Milk and the rest of the health-conscious artist's balanced breakfast.
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georgia o'keeffe
Credit: Tony Vaccaro / Getty Images

Georgia O'Keeffe is well-known for her nature-forward artwork from the early and mid-Twentieth Century. But the painter also celebrated the wonders of the natural world in her kitchen. O'Keeffe was a health nut, and in her case rightfully so as she died at the ripe old age of 98. It's the artist's connection with food that serves as the subject matter for a recent "Art Cooking" installment of PBS Digital Studios' "The Art Assignment," a series of video essays on fine art, artists and the culture around them.

O'Keeffe grew up on a dairy farm in Wisconsin, no stranger to fresh foods. After living in and around New York for years post-art school, she moved to New Mexico, a landscape that became a major source of inspiration for her, in 1949 after the death of her husband. Throughout her life, but especially in the Southwest, O'Keeffe preferred produce from her garden, grinding her own wheat to make bread, and fresh, local milk. Basically she would have been right at home in today's farm-to-table, locovore-focused food scene.

Host Sarah Green takes you through three recipes, step by step, for a few of O'Keeffe's typical breakfast offerings, including wheat bread, roasted chilies and eggs, and a Tiger's Milk smoothie. Green draws from a couple of sources on O'Keeffe's eating habits, including A Painter's Kitchen: Recipes from the Kitchen of Georgia O'Keeffe by Margaret Wood (who was the artist's cook and companion for five years), and Dinner with Georgia O'Keeffe by Robin Lea.

The bread recipe is simple enough, though Green actually goes through the trouble of grinding the wheat herself as O'Keeffe would have preferred (well, perhaps with some assistance). The rest of the ingredients include scalded milk, yeast, honey, canola oil, salt and wheat germ, followed by a pretty typical breadmaking process thereafter.

The Tiger's Milk recipe is adapted from Adelle Davis, a nutritionist in the mid 1900s whom O'Keeffe followed. The shake includes yogurt, brewers yeast, milk, bananas, raspberries, honey, protein powder and more what germ. So, pretty much every smoothie you've seen in the past few years (perhaps with almond milk and chia seeds swapped in). Apparently O'Keeffe enjoyed forcing the beverage, along with other of her healthy eating predilections, upon her unwitting house guests. Well, she was only trying to help! The final recipe is for baking green chilies to make a delicious addition to fried eggs and, well, pretty much anything else.

The rest of the video covers O’Keeffe’s biography, artistic expressions and movements throughout her life. Take a look. It’s one extracurricular art assignment you won’t mind completing.