Graham Kerr the Galloping Gardener?
Some 20 years ago, having learned that his high fat, high calorie cooking style was killing his wife Graham Kerr changed his approach. Known to the world as the Galloping Gourmet, Kerr was famous for making classic French cuisine layered in butter, cream and fatty cuts of red meat. Weight Watchers actually declared him public enemy #1, an amazing display of hypocrisy when you consider the toxicity of their diet food.
In 1993, he published Graham Kerr’s Minimax Cookbook and in the blink of an eye invented something brand new – healthy food that also tasted good. Prior to that people were faced with either enjoying their food or enduring it. Kerr refused to believe that low fat, low calorie food had to be low flavor as well. “Minimax” quite simply means minimize the fat and calories and maximize the flavor.
Two decades and two dozen books later, Chef Kerr has created a craze. He is almost single-handedly responsible for the popularity of extra virgin olive oil in this country. And a legion of talented chefs have followed in his footsteps like Nathan Lyon, Jamie Oliver and Susan Irby to further explore the world of healthy, tasty food.
However, Chef Kerr has not ceased his own explorations. With the ever deteriorating food system in this country thanks to factory farming and genetically modified foods the next logical step would being growing his own food. These days the fictional world of Mad Max doesn’t seem as far fetched as it once did. It only makes sense to safeguard oneself against the tribulations of hyper-inflation or the fall of western civilization.
More and more people are starting their own gardens. Count Graham Kerr among the lot. “Why?” you may ask. In Kerr’s own words:
In my long career as a gourmet/nutrition teacher I have cooked just about everything that grows, but I’ve never grown a thing I’ve cooked. So I got to thinking about the earth-to-table process. I decided to go back to the starting line and run the whole race from the beginning.
Kerr’s newest work Growing at the Speed of Life: A Year in the Life of My First Kitchen Garden is an instruction manual to taking what you eat back from a corrupt government and the agribusiness giants that control it. Though it contains a hundred recipes it is not a cookbook.
Growing at the Speed of Life shows you with great detail and illustration exactly what Kerr did to construct a garden that is brilliant in its design. The garden is a model of sustainable, organic efficiency. Kerr describes what he did and eloquently explains why he did it.
Additionally Kerr has compiled an extensive catalog of virtually every edible botanical on the planet. He not only describes its flavor and nutritional value but he also suggests pairings and preparation techniques. This is also where the recipes come in; they demonstrate the variety of flavors available to someone with a proper garden. I’ve never scene such a comprehensive guide to fruits and vegetables.
I have been highly impressed by the attention to detail in this book. Each process is described so that you can understand not only how to do something a certain way but why that way works. It has inspired me to try and start my own garden this spring. If I can grown my own produce between that, the fish in the creek and the squirrels in the trees I should be okay should the Mayan prophecies prove true.
If you haven’t already be sure to check put my exclusive interview with Chef Kerr from last fall HERE.