01 April 2010

My food soapbox

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.
So, what do you all think about this? Jamie's campaign seems ridiculously sensible to me, and I totally get the socio-economical barriers (perceived or very real) that are sometimes in the way of engaging with real food. But, I'm just shocked at the crap that is fed to kids in the name of cost-savings. Budget cuts are real, especially in California, but where are our priorities? I know not every kid can attend the Edible Schoolyard (sigh), but we should really try to give regular kids a little more equity.

* 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.


  1. I'm planning to write a post about this, but until I get around to it...

    This show really opened my eyes to start my own food revolution -- beginning at home with my ultra-picky children. Even though we eat healthily, they only eat about 5 different meals and frankly, I've allowed them to dictate what they will or won't eat for long enough. Things are a changing!

  2. Oof, picky kid eaters. I'm holding my breath that my relatively enthusiastic/compliant toddler will evolve into a good eater. I wish you luck! Any chance your kids joined you in the Week of Vegan?? :) I know, I'm funny.


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