I just watched Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution on ABC. Ohhhh boy.
Can I just say that I am really pretty scared to send my daughter to school? I went to a private school and even those lunches were so revolting that I ate white bread, orange juice and pickles most days. I remember finding a band-aid in my tuna once!
Mass produced food is pretty disgusting, and Jamie Oliver shows people food in massive quantities to SHOCK them into eating better.
He enters the town of Huntington West Virginia. Apparently, it is the most unhealthy town in the country. His first stop is the local radio station. He was met by a bull DAWWG of a man who seemed to be as ignorant as he was stubborn! I mean, seriously, “I want to teach kids how to eat healthier and make better choices.” Should that statement be met with CONTEMPT in America in 2010? Who in hell would say, “NO THANKS, GET OUT!” to that? Huntington would.
Next stop, a local elementary school where there is pizza being served for breakfast by a staff of women who are a force to be reckoned with and frankly, look like the lunch ladies of my memory though they balk at the moniker.
(I just want to include that there are commercials for processed food throughout the programming, one by Ragu that shows a child feeding the dog his broccoli, BUT WAIT, if you serve him Ragu pasta sauce instead, he will get his veggie servings of the day!)
Next, the lunch ladies show Jamie their lunch. They take the time to make bread from scratch, but they defrost chicken nuggets, slop a pile of sludge (beans) onto a plate and throw on some canned fruit salad. Oh, yes, there is chocolate milk as well.
Now, I see nothing wrong with chicken nuggets, or pizza. I feed my daughter breast-only chicken nuggets made by my butcher all the time. I eat pizza too. But from the looks of that food, I really cant believe that it even tastes good!
The entire school board is very concerned that the children will not eat or like the food. This is one of the main conditions of Jamie’s stay. He notices that the children toss the homemade bread, and the fruit and zero in on the chicken nuggets. Duh. I really don’t think that children “liking” the food should be a qualification. Kids will eat whatever they are used to. I know plenty of kids that eat sushi, with raw fish. Who woulda thunk it? I also noticed that whenever my husband and I eat dinner with my daughter she eats whatever we eat: salmon, olives, asparagus… You name it! Kids will eat what their parents teach them to eat. This is the route of the problem in America.
Anyway, back to the show, the second day Jamie goes head to head with the lunch ladies’ lunch. He serves roasted chicken legs and wild rice, they serve pizza. Apparently his meal doesn’t have enough carbs. HUH? Its rice!! Pizza counts as two carbs and a vegetable, but wild rice and roasted chicken is not seen as a balanced meal. The lunch ladies, lead by Alice, a woman as stubborn and spiteful as the radio host, laugh as the children all flock to the pizza station and the chicken goes in the garbage. Now, I didnt really think that was a fair contest. Pizza is a universally liked food and when prepared with fresh ingredients can be a decent meal. They were serving defrosted pizza to a group of kids who will inevitably choose the familiar. They should have done Jamie’s pizza versus their pizza… or Jamies’ idea of chicken nuggets. Jamie isn’t about feeding kids “diet food” or “lettuce” as the radio show host claimed, he was simply creating meals out of fresh ingredients! He served them pasta and cole slaw one day. (Which kids spit out. I never met a kid that didnt like cole slaw!)
Next, Jamie meets with the woman who is in charge with the lunches for the entire district, and lo and behold what he discovers: Red tape. Formulas. The school lunch is in the hands of the USDA. The government has been in cahoots with industrial processed food companies for decades and they are the reason why Americans have totally lost the ability to discern quality food from crap. Case in point: the kindergarten children Jamie talks to don’t recognize a tomato, or a potato, or an eggplant. DO THEIR MOTHERS NOT BUY VEGETABLES? Holy crap this is bad!
Another group of children witness a raw chicken being butchered and the bones and guts food-proccesed into mulch, and then cut into chicken nugget shapes. When asked if they would still eat it now that they knew what it was made from, guess what they all said? Yes. And they ate it right then and there with the raw chicken breasts and legs still sitting out on the counter.
Now, I dont know about you, but when I handle raw chicken it makes me want to PUKE! Plucking the feathers is sickening. Looking at it whole like that really sickens me and its why I don’t eat it. Im an adult. Most kids I know dont really associate chicken with the chickens they see running around farm books, if they did they wouldnt want to eat it. Right? WRONG. They loved it just as much.
Finally, Jamie serves the children meat fahitas at lunchtime. He insists they eat them with a fork and knife, which is a good lesson, but one that was wasted on fahitas! Who eats a wrap with silverware? THE SCHOOL USUALLY ONLY SERVES THEM FOOD THAT THEY CAN EAT WITH THEIR HANDS. They have to scrounge around for knives but eventually the principals and teachers get on board, and success! The kids are eating the fahitas! (Why wouldnt they, its the same as sloppy joes, which they love, just freshly made!) Jamie has been granted a few more weeks to work his magic in the school. Obviously, or their wouldnt be a show!
Jamie is a bit goofy but HELLO who could say NO to this message? Better food in schools! UM, HELL YEA! If you send your kids to school it is basically like sending them to McDonalds for 2 meals a day. SCARY.
Now, the cost: Yes, it is more expensive. But that is only because the government put us into this crappy position in the first place by subsidizing corn and making it SO hard for the local farmers to make it in the food industry. I also say F U to the people who say it is too expensive. You are liars. Vegetables may be expensive but they aren’t as expensive as sodas, which cost a dollar each, or fruit roll ups, or chocolate! They just have less calories, but thats a GOOD thing!
Go watch the show and support it, so that hopefully our government will get behind REAL FOOD, or get out of the food industry. Whichever is easier.