Monday, March 22, 2010

Jamie Oliver's Revolution

Did any of you watch the sneak preview of Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution last night? I did. You may know Jamie from his series on the Food Network, The Naked Chef.

The premise of the show/series is confronting current eating habits and food trends.  He went to Huntington, WV, which was declared the unhealthiest city in America by a recent USDA study (here's an msnbc article about it) to see what, if anything, he could do about it.

A thread in Jamie's cooking and projects is stripping food down to basics. Getting to know the basic, raw ingredients, so that you can make good food, from the foundation up.

The one-hour sneak preview focuses on school lunched (and breakfast). He met varying amounts of resistance from the community, administrators and the lunch ladies themselves. It seemed to me that he was going out of his way to explain himself and not step on the toes of the administration. He encountered tons of red-tape when he was trying to put together a menu. He was misrepresented in the media, which didn't help his credibility at all.

He did spend a bit of time harping on the ingredients in the food being served the elementary school children. As an obsessive label-reader now, I get it. And I'm right there with him. One of the cooks kept pointing out that the first ingredient listed was chicken or beef, or whatever the product claimed to be. (That is cool - but what got me was the fact that half of a side of the box was taken up with the rest of the ingredient list - some very scary, hard-to-pronounce stuff. I remember my mom telling me that if I couldn't pronounce it, I shouldn't eat it. She is a smart lady. I really should have listened more growing up, huh?)

His entire 3+ month long experience in Huntington wasn't shown in the one-hour long program, or else it would not have been a teaser, sneak preview! In good TV form, he's facing a problem, and questioning his ability to conquer it. While I suspect they wouldn't have bothered airing the pilot if it didn't succeed to some extent, I am anxious to see what happens next.

He did this sort of thing  in England, already. So, he's not trying to pick on us Americans or anything. (Really, though, if you see the example of what that one family eats in a week, or what the children are actually eating from their lunch, and you don't think that something is at least a bit off, well, then, you and I will just have to agree to disagree, and move on. Also, I suggest you just click through the rest of this blog. I'm trying to combat my own food laziness, cook more, cook better, and eat a greater variety of good-for-me foods. That is sort of what is going on here.)

So, did you see the show? What are your thoughts on it?


Tanzania Peaberry said...

Due to that same rule by my own mother I was unable to eat Sarsaparilla until I was 46-1/2.

swiggett said...

Tanzania - is that just a mom-thing? I've found it to be pretty handy, however ridiculous I may have thought it was.

Cam said...

One of my Facebook friends has been going on about school lunches for a while seems like something's in the water;)

Seriously, I've gotten two recommendations for "Food Rules" by Michael Pollan.

Everyone is complaining about the pizza. I remember I couldn't wait to buy pizzas in the cafeteria. All my friends hated it (and used about 10 napkins to soak up the grease), but because I never got it, it tasted SO good.

swiggett said...

Cam - thanks for the recommendation.
And, I'm right there with you on the pizza. Even though I knew it wasn't great pizza, I still relished the chance, since we never had it at home.