So, have you heard of Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution? Of course you have, it's on the tee-vee. But, have you signed his petition to bring real food to America's schoolchildren? Really, go check it out. I know this is an easy sell for some of you, myself included. I love real food, relish the chopping, the stirring, the cooking. Sitting down at a real table for a real meal. I eschew processed crap and I, frankly, adore Jamie Oliver. Done.
But, for some of you: perhaps your focus is elsewhere. This may not be on your radar. I wasn't always into cooking -- like at all*. Still, take a moment to read what he's up to. It's pretty basic. Just like the common-sense simplicity of knowing how to cook straightforward, good food for yourself and your family, his idea is simple. Kids, like all growing beings, should be given wholesome nutrition--not pizza for breakfast washed down with sugared milk (huh?)--and should be shown (by our example and demonstrated priorities) that eating real food is something valuable. And also normal.
Normal? The fact that COOKING is such an exotic, "difficult" and scary concept to many people is something worth changing. Food is culture. And the wrong food, eaten over a lifetime, can be deadly. In my opinion, no kid should go through life knowing only obesity and over-sugared hyperactivity. This terrible trend needs to be reversed.
A little more reading, if you're interested:
- Some pretty right-on, impassioned writing from Michael Ruhlman (here, here and here, for starters) on why we should bother to cook. It's not hard, and it's not about "super easy ultra quick non-scary recipes." It's about how second-nature real food can be. How it can be integrated into your life.
- One more Jamie Oliver fun bit: great video with my other boyfriend, Mark Bittman, preparing a dead-simple, delicious chicken dish that we're totally making this weekend.
* My come-to-food moment: My last year of college, just weeks away from graduation. Trying to pull out of a 10-day long mysterious illness during which I was nauseous, bed-ridden and not eating at all... I was waiting at Walgreens for some magic meds. Presciption was taking forever... I looked up at a wire rack of paperbacks and spied the Frugal Gourmet Cooks Italian. Sounds cheesy, but that book kinda rocks. I thumbed through it, and hungrily eyed some roasted eggplant antipasti, lemon olive oil, and chicken cacciatore. My first foray into real cooking. I hadn't eaten in more than a week and I was SO up for it. As you may guess, I didn't eat very much of this delicous spread--frankly, I was still pretty delirious--but I was hooked. I could make good stuff! I still have this cookbook within easy reach. Simple, delicious stuff.