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And while we're still on the subject of food....

Remember Graham Kerr, the exuberant Englishman who charmed housewives in the 1960s as the "Galloping Gourmet?" He used to open his show with a sip of wine--and generously imbibe as he raced through his cooking presentation. He would then pound two portions of beef tenderloin with a champagne bottle before frying them in a great glob of butter and subjecting them to a Dante's inferno of cognac and sherry. Finally, he would serve them with green beans that had been submerged in egg yolks, coated with bread crumbs, and fried in deep fat.

The program always seemed to end with a leering, lurching Kerr dragging an all-too-willing lady from the audience to join him in tasting these presumably delicious--but incredibly high-calorie, high-fat--concoctions.

When the series ended after 500 episodes, Kerr seemingly disappeared into oblivion. In 1971, he and his wife were seriously injured in an automobile accident. Their marriage, unsteady during the "Galloping Gourmet" heyday, was on the rocks. His beautiful wife, Treena, was heavily into Valium and Darvon, and Graham himself was eating and drinking too much.

In 1974, their housemaid introduced Treena to born-again Christianity, and the change this made in her eventually caused her husband to make the same commitment. For a time, they lived in Colorado, where they ministered to couples with marital problems, in a program built around the preparation of tasty, nutritious meals.

They have since moved to the Pacific Northwest, where he has again created a highly successful cooking show--but with a totally different approach. "About every 43 seconds, someone dies of a food-related disease in the U.S.," he recently told a reporter. "And there are about 124 million people who would like to change their diet, but haven't successfully managed to do it. They're stuck on one side of a raging river of contradictory impulses and information, desperate to get over to the other side where there's food that's both healthful and flavorful--but only 10 percent make it.

"In the West, we are increasingly the victims of our own wealth, while in the undeveloped world, people die for lack of food and resources. It seems so obvious that by simplifying our own diets and the rest of our lives, we could reduce our problems and simultaneously aid the hungry."

With Graham Kerr's Minimax Cookbook, due this month, and a new TV series, "Graham Kerr's Kitchen," planned for PBS, the Galloping Gourmet is determined "to help bring people across that river."
COPYRIGHT 1992 Benjamin Franklin Literary & Medical Society, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Graham Kerr's cooking show
Publication:Medical Update
Date:Nov 1, 1992
Words:409
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