Lifestyle

Faithful Living: Galloping Gourmet tells how to pray

Last Saturday I had the pleasure of spending an hour with Graham Kerr. As keynote speaker for the 2011 Whidbey Gardening Workshop, sponsored by the WSU Master Gardener Program, he charmed and delighted but also asked us to dig deep into our own motivations for gardening. Days later, I’m turning over the soil in my raised beds and thinking about his message.

Like millions of people worldwide, I first knew Kerr as The Galloping Gourmet in the 1970s. He and his wife produced over 1,800 shows back then, passing on ways to prepare great food for people to enjoy in the most delightful and entertaining ways. As he tells it, back then food was great if it looked good, smelled good and tasted good.

He was not concerned if it contributed to weight gain, heart disease, hypertension and diabetes.

He made popular TV show appearances, spoke around the world and wrote cookbooks. Theirs was a wildly successful life, filled with high calories, high fat, and even higher personal indulgences.

Then life happened. In 1972 he experienced a near-fatal car accident. Some years later his beloved wife suffered a stroke and heart attack. In response they stepped away from the life they were living, revolutionizing their cooking, their motivations, and embracing Christianity.

The Kerrs call their lifestyle “outdulgence” and in their book, “Recipe for Life: How to Change Habits that Harm into Resources that Heal,” they share the transforming details of a truly good life that trades constant consumption and self-serving for creative simplicity that serves others. It is their response to the love they experience with Christ and His promise that life with Him will be abundant.

Kerr’s latest book, “Growing at the Speed of Life,” taps into the current trend of sustainability, eating locally and organically, and eschewing fast food. He also takes you through the first year in his own kitchen garden, sharing the lessons learned from his circle of local knowledge providers in Mount Vernon where he makes his home. Once the harvest is finished, he takes readers into his kitchen where he provides over 100 simple yet elegant recipes.

I’m perhaps most fascinated by the ways Kerr and his wife have responded to the events of their life together.

There have been fantastic successes and near-death medical crises. They have moved successfully along a path, only to be stopped in their tracks at various times throughout the years. Yet they catch a vision for ways to adjust, move forward in differing directions, and continue to make use of their unique skills and interests.

They’d tell us it’s their relationship with Christ, His love for them, and their response to that love. He touched on the topic briefly last Saturday when he told of a six-week period when he and his wife prayed with their church family, asking God for ways they could pour love onto their neighbors.

Out of those prayers have come a successful community garden, used to gift people with healthy food.

An abundance -— of healthy vegetables and love — will also be my prayer as I plant this spring.

Reach Joan Bay Klope at faithfulliving@hotmail.com.

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