Friday, August 31, 2018

When Graham Kerr Came to Dinner

Graham Kerr at our front door

It began with my husband's simple comment. It sounded to me like a statement of resignation. "Well, I guess I'll never have a chance to be a sous chef for Graham Kerr." Is this a secret dream he harbors? I wondered. 

I knew that his interest in the Galloping Gourmet (what Graham Kerr was called in his early years as a celebrity chef) pre-dated our courtship. When I met Tom I learned that he loved cooking shows and was, himself, a fine cook. In the early years of our marriage we were in the studio audience for four episodes of his program, The Graham Kerr Show, produced by KING 5 in Seattle. What a delight to watch this charismatic man whip up a nourishing, beautiful, and delicious dish or two while connecting so well with his audience. Book signings and public presentations came later. We knew Graham Kerr, but he certainly did not know us.

Graham's newest book, this is a reprint of his first book,
written when he was 26 years old.

An idea began to form in my mind. In a few months Tom would be celebrating his 70th birthday. Perhaps Graham Kerr could come to our home and he and Tom could make dinner together.

I contacted Graham with the help of mutual friends and shared my idea. He agreed to my request and the planning began. The menu was worked out, Tom got his assignments for the meal prep, I bought a crepe pan for the event, and we cleaned the house. I called our friends Ike and Donna and invited them to join us. The dinner was scheduled for August 24.

Our friends Donna and Ike...

...and the beautiful flowers they brought for the table.
Notice the blackberries! Nice touch, Donna!

Tom and Graham made a fine team in the kitchen. Following Graham's own recipes, they created amazing crepes for our main course. Many of the salad ingredients came from Graham's garden and the dessert parfait was a perfect finish to our meal.

Tossing the salad

Arranging the crepes

Adding the sauce and the cheese to the crepes

Oh, so delicious!

Graham calls this The Patriot

When the day arrived, we were ready, but I'm not sure we were completely prepared—prepared to find in Graham Kerr such a charming man.

He is open. He told us about his assignments in the British military when he was a young man, including a stint in the unit's kitchen. "Follow me down this hall," said the cook. "I have your office ready for you." When he entered the room he faced a sink full of dirty pots and pans and he was charged with keeping them clean, a job that lasted for several months.

He's an animated storyteller!

He is adaptable. Before the dinner I had to call him with bad news. Our brand new oven had quit and the repairman couldn't fix it before our dinner. Since nothing on the menu required baking he said to me, "Don't worry! I have a blowtorch and I have been wondering if it will brown cheese as well as melt it." So we had blowtorched crepes!

Blowtorching our crepes!

He is gracious. Graham just seemed to be happy to be at dinner with friends. He wasn't trying to impress anyone, only to serve us.

But what we appreciated the most is his heart for Jesus and for people. He puzzled over a question through the evening. He wanted to know what people seem to be looking for in life—what are they pursuing? If we could put that into words it would make us more effective in sharing the life of Christ with them. He spoke of people he knows who are seeking God. His desire to walk alongside them and love them touched us both deeply.

Graham spoke of Matthew Henry, a pastor and author who lived from 1662 to 1714. He is known for his six-volume commentary, Exposition on the Old and New Testaments. In his entry on Matthew 11:29, where Jesus said, "Take my yoke upon you and learn of me," Matthew Henry tells the reader that "it is a yoke that is lined with love." More than once that evening Graham used that quote to encourage us.

He prayed for each of us, one by one, when it was time to leave, and we knew that we had spent the evening with a dear brother in the Lord. The fellowship that we share as followers of Jesus leaves a sweetness like nothing else.

We'll look back on this evening in the years to come and we'll remember the anticipation, the preparation, and the scrumptious meal we shared together with friends. But even after those memories have faded we will still hold on to the feast it was for our souls.

~ Ginger Kauffman

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