Local church’s supper club demonstrates healthy eating

About 80 people attended a new supper club's meeting Tuesday night to eat a nutritious meal and hear a presentation by Hudsonville author JoAnn Rachor. The meeting at the Grand Haven Seventh-day Adventist Community Center was the third for the congregation's Living Healthy Supper Club, and Rachor had attracted a capacity crowd.
Janet Tyson
Jan 11, 2012

Rachor has published two cookbooks that are consistent with the Seventh-day Adventist denomination’s teachings about preparing and eating food that is nutritious and wholesome. One of her books, “Of These Ye May Freely Eat,” has sold more than 175,000 copies, Rachor said.

Rachor began her program Tuesday while Barb Rowe and Carol Brook were still enjoying their meal of split pea chowder, chick pea à la king, honey coconut sweet potatoes and other vegan dishes. In low voices, the two friends explained that they were there because they love to cook and are concerned about the quality of the foods that Americans commonly consume.

“We’ve sold our souls to fast-food convenience,” Rowe said. “We need to get back into the kitchen.”

“Two parents, both working, don’t have time to cook,” Brook added.

Then, as though as she had overheard their conversation, Rachor began talking about how food preparation in slow-cookers can be adjusted to busy schedules. If a meal needs only six hours of cooking, but you’re at work for nine hours, Rachor recommended using a timer to turn the cooker on six hours before you get home.

Because her recipes don’t include animal products, ingredients safely can sit for three hours before they begin to cook, Rachor added.

Laughing often and clearly enjoying the evening at least as much as her audience did, Rachor walked people through recipes for the food they were eating, and recommended tools for slicing and dicing onions.

“How many of you have one of these Vidalia onion choppers?” she called out.

About five hands went up.

“Come on,” she teased, “I should see lots more hands than that!”

A woman in the audience asked Rachor why she used fresh onions in some recipes and onion powder in others.

“I’ve never thought about that,” Rachor admitted. “But onion powder is very convenient. You don’t have to be chopping away with all those tears.”

While volunteers cleared tables, Rachor talked about other ingredients — from yeast flakes to turmeric, olive oil to almonds. She warned newcomers to veganism about getting enough protein, and emphasized the importance of legumes in a vegan diet.

Pat Race, who had arranged for Rachor to speak to the club, expressed satisfaction with the evening’s program. For years, Race said, Seventh-day Adventists presented programs about the dangers of smoking — and now that cigarettes were less of a danger, the spotlight was on good nutrition.

“This isn’t a money-making thing,” Race said. “It’s an outreach for us, but it’s also to help the community.”

The Living Healthy Supper Club next meets Monday, Feb. 6, and will feature a video lecture by Dr. Sanjay Gupta called “The Last Heart Attack.” The Seventh-day Adventist Community Center is at 432 S. Beechtree St.

Rachor’s book sells for $2.95 at health food stores, Amazon.com, via Rachor’s own website and at her cooking demonstrations.

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