Thursday, April 15, 2010

How TV Superchef Jamie Oliver's 'Food Revolution' Flunked Out | | AlterNet

How TV Superchef Jamie Oliver's 'Food Revolution' Flunked Out | | AlterNet

I was going to include this in my next Linky Love post...but I had too many things I wanted to say.

This article claims that Jamie's Food Revolution has failed, flunked, gone kaput.

Forgive me while I vent for a moment. (This is an uprising afterall!) Did anybody ever say that Jamie was going to single-handedly change the nation's school lunches with a reality television show?! No. Nope. Never. What he did do, with his over-budget, over-the top television show was to highlight an issue. School food is nasty. Kids have been saying it for decades, chefs have been saying it for years...and now parents have been saying it for weeks. Now, what are we going to do about it?

The reason that so many kids are buying lunches at the elementary school highlighted in the show is that their parents provide for the family at a level so close to poverty, the students need the school lunches to ensure that they are receiving the proper nutrition during the day. The author goes on to say that the federal reimbursement for these meals is so low, it could barely buy a Snickers bar.

While that might be true, I propose that the parents could feed their children wholesome meals at home, with a little effort and planning, for $.60 if needs be. I know I sound pretentious saying that, but I believe it. Homemade yogurt and granola is a perfectly acceptable breakfast, and would just take a little bit of time to prepare.

What do you guys think? Did the Food Revolution fail, or is it just beginning? My vote is that this is just the beginning. And kudos to ABC for funding the show, and (yes, even) paying the difference for the kids to have healthier lunches for two months. Good on them. Now, let's continue the revolution!



  1. I vote that it's the beginning--well, sorta. I think this is a movement that's been on the way for quite awhile, but Jamie Oliver has done a lot to raise awareness. And I agree that parents can feed their children for less than the cost of a candy bar...I do it all the time! But the problem with that is that you have to make the food yourself, and a lot of parents aren't willing to commit to that.

  2. The parents, in many cases, CAN NOT do better. They don't have the faintest idea how to begin- they're working 2 or 3 jobs, the kids eat more meals than they do, and certainly the kids meals are more nutritionally sound. You've worked with women- you know what some of them are up against.

    If you're talking middle-class kids, eating too many chicken nuggets after soccer practice, that's one thing. If you're looking at single-parent kids, latch-key kids, kids that come to school on the early bus so they can have breakfast, ANY breakfast... it's a tough row to hoe, you know? Not everyone has the benefit of reading these blogs, of growing up amidst RS ladies who COOK, or at least know how to cook. Not everyone is participating in these conversations- they're just trying to get by, and have to trust the schools to take care of their kids during the day because they can't do it.

    Schools can definitely make a concerted effort to provide better nutrition, but often I think they have a contract with a food service like Cosco (not costco). If you see something wrapped in plastic, it was ordered from an order form. It means they don't have to spend scarce or non-existent funds training kitchen staff, they can get their deliveries farther apart (the goods are either shelf-stable, frozen, or storage fruits like apples and oranges.) There's little chance of spoilage- a highly efficient kitchen. ALSO, the kids eat this food. We have very little faith in a child's ability to eat vegetables (and little wonder, considering the pathetic veggies most people serve!)

  3. I agree with Myrnie. It's about education and means. I think some schools could do a better job teaching the children about nutrition (which that one school on the show obviously hadn't been doing until Jamie came). I've seen some amazing nutrtion programs in schools where they actually plant and care for a school garden and use the food in the lunchroom, and some of these programs are happening in low income schools. And it would be great if there were community classes that people could take for free that taught them how to make quick, easy, cheap, healthy food, though the people that need it most still might not have the time or wherewithall to get to the classes.

    This is one thing I love so much about Relief Society and I really miss about the monthly Enrichment nights. There was such a lot of learning and sharing on those nights.