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Jamie Oliver's "Food revolution" on ABC. Watch it if you are concerned about the obesity epidemic.

There is room for lots of respect for Jamie Oliver. He has for several years had mine, in his efforts to simply shift us away from the processed food syndrome.

He's done great work in his native England, and is now dropping in to a US city that is statistically the worst/fattest/unhealthiest US city, to offer changes in their school menus.

Give it a check.

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  1. I was over the show before it even aired, thanks to the incessant promos for it. I don't want to listen to that guy yelling his head off, and I only need to hear "We're Not Gonna Take It" once or twice a year. Did you watch it, by any chance? Because the ads did not make it look like quality programming.

    3 Replies
      1. re: anonymouse1935

        I think you intended to respond to the OP, not to me.

        1. re: small h

          I thought I had. Sorry.

          My point is the same.

    1. I am currently watching the premiere episode online and I find it a bit didactic, but sometimes you have to use outrageous rhetoric in order to get people to pay attention. I don't want my children eating pizza and "potato pearls" for lunch at school; if this gets people rattling the cages of the people who regulate school lunches, then I'm all for it.

      1 Reply
      1. re: bookgrrl72

        Your post brought to mind a flashback, if you will. Some years ago...back in the early 90's, my sons attended St. Margaret's School in the Riverdale section of the Bronx.
        The kids had the option of either bringing a bagged lunch or purchasing lunch at school. One of my sons, who was rather fussy and liked his routine just so, took a BBJ sandwich every day. I kid you not--every day!!!! My other son wanted the purchased "hot"lunch. The hot lunch was amazing because all these grandmotherly types of neighborhood women who were active in the parish would make the lunch. The kids would get entrees like pot roast, mashed potatoes (real--not from a box), veggies one day; roast chicken another; pasta and meat sauce--everything home made. It truly was amazing. The Catholic schools may not be the greatest in science but I'll tell you as far as the nutritional values of the food--no processed garbage for those kids! Sweet! Jamie Oliver is doing an amazing thing for our children. Bless him for his actions--however they may be!

      2. I remember reading a piece in the NYer on this a few months ago, so I zapped in and out a few times yesterday.

        The problem, of course, is not just with what these kids are fed at school, but what their parents are feeding them. The one example I caught was pretty disheartening: frozen pizza, burgers, and fried shit. They can change the cafeteria food to salad and fruit all they want - as long as the parents are feeding them garbage, they will be fat & unhealthy regardless.

        1. Is this a "made for America" programme or a re-cut of his two UK series?

          Certainly if the latter, then I can understand why folk find it a switch off - the first (Jamie's School Dinners) convinced me I didnt want to watch the second (Ministry of Food).There's only so much you can take of multi-millionaires patronising poor people.

          52 Replies
          1. re: Harters

            It's made for 'murrca. And no, JO did not come across as patronizing, even if the cafeteria workers seemed annoyed, because hey -- they've been serving this crap to kids for years, and nobody ever complained. Ugh.

            1. re: Harters

              Yes, the condescension (both of the students' families and the cafeteria workers) in the UK shows were enough to keep me away too, Harters.

              "Afflicted with the kind of warm-hearted caring that requires the constant presence of a TV crew . . ." sums it up for me (link to Washington Post article below). Why can't we just recognize that the only reason he was in W. Virginia was to garner the much larger US market (pop of around 300m compared to around 60m[?] of the UK), hence more lucre for Oliver? And woo hoo, think of the book sales, free publicity and links to future TV projects on top of it all! Is his missionary work in the UK really done? It's necessary to cross the pond?

              The author also touches on the (inadvertent) cultural insensitivity of choosing Appalachia, for decades the target of opprobrium. Even though the CDC has named it the nation's unhealthiest region, to barge in w/o bothering to learn any of the cultural context is callow - if not callous. (Albeit, this was as much ABC's failing as Oliver's.) Good for the locals for refusing to happily join in the lining of J.Oliver's deep pockets.


                1. re: cinnamon girl

                  So should we all just accept the fact that Appalachia is lagging behind economically (and thus 'gastronomically') and not bother trying to change things?

                  I'm not arguing against JO wanting to create a larger market for his books/TV shows, even tho his work might be worth the means?

                  1. re: linguafood

                    The program came off like Super hero Jamie came in to save poor helpless America/Appalachia from its poor uneducated self.

                    Very imperialistic, very arrogant. I think the main problem is that they try to do it all in such a short time, he never get to talk to these folks or make their case in a cogent way. People are less likely to get defensive if others talk to them rather than shout at them. But then again, it wouldn't be a reality show the rational way.

                    1. re: Phaedrus

                      No, TV shows won't solve the world's problems, for sure. They do, however, raise awareness of shit that goes down in front of our doorsteps, at least in this case.

                      I'll take the Food revolution over another season of the Bachelor "series" anytime.

                      1. re: Phaedrus

                        "The program came off like Super hero Jamie came in to save poor helpless America/Appalachia from its poor uneducated self."

                        Even as a Brit, I have some awareness that Appalachia is an economically disadvantaged area - and suspect that the area will have been shrewdly chosen with the intent of being instantly recognisable as a "problem area" to the viewers.

                        In similar vein, the two UK shows featured similar areas of the country. The "ordinary folk" were also instantly recognisable by their accents as those who needed the great man's "guidance".

                        No, I don't like it all - as you might have guessed. And I'm disappointed that this is what we've exported to you.

                        1. re: Harters

                          But lots of excellent exports Harters! "The great man's guidance" . . . made me laugh; it does come off like that.

                          1. re: Harters

                            This show could have taken place 'anywhere' in the USA.

                            Obesity in children is Nationwide and if you go into the grocery stores, it's ailes are full with semi-homemade food. Most of middle class Americans are falling forl the 'healthy' pre-made advertisements, because they are overworked and looking for a way to cut the stress from preparing a home-cooked meal after work each day.

                            The school cafetarias (in general) are heating up over processed food, instead of cooking lunch. And most of these school kitchens are well equipped and well staffed, to make it from scratch.

                            And I for one, am thankful for anyone 'shouting' from the rooftops, that we have to change it! JO, didn't need to come here to do this show. I'm betting that he is a very, very wealthy man already!
                            JMO, of course.... ;)

                            1. re: mcel215

                              "The school cafetarias (in general) are heating up over processed food, instead of cooking lunch. And most of these school kitchens are well equipped and well staffed, to make it from scratch."

                              As a former K-12 Director of Food Service in the State of CA, I can tell you this is not a true statement. Very, very few of the schools in the Districts I worked for had kitchens as well equipped as the school on Jaime Oliver's show. Many lacked ovens and sometimes even ranges. None had tilting braising skillets, and very, very few schools had deep fryers. None had walk-ins, most had double door refrigerators and a single door freezer.

                              Staffing? Not hardly. In every school district in which I worked - and there were 4 - all the food service employees were union employees with full beneifts. NONE of them had much in the way of professional training, and few of them could actually cook. I had some schools with exactly 1 employee; someone who would come in to receive a food cart trucked in from a central kitchen or another school, serve the kids, clean up and go...all in under 3.75 hours so a temporary employee could be hired to which the District didn't have to pay benefits.

                              Cooking from scratch? Hard if you don't have employees that actually know how to cook, period, let alone cook in quantity. Harder still when the message that comes from District administration is "thou shalt not infringe on the general fund" . School food service employees are making more than minimum wage - in some cases substantially more - and receiving full benefits. This often amounts to 60% or more of the entire food service budget. Districts save money by having positions that are less than 4 hours so that they don't have to pay benefits, thus saving payroll expense. That worked great in the 50s and 60s when there were plenty of stay-at-home moms who had husbands with jobs with fully loaded health plans. The staffing and equipment in the school on Jaime's show boggled my mind.

                              I left K-12 food service 11 years ago when it became pretty clear to me that the system was broken and I had a snow balls chance in hell of making any kind of difference. I think Jaime Oliver's show is fabulous and it's right on target. Kids know nothing about food and their parents are worse. We've raised 3 generations now of people that don't cook, don't care about cooking and have no clue about where their food comes from, how it's grown or how it's handled. And yes, many students do NOT know how to use a knife and fork. I discovered that back in 1992 and worked with 2 principals at elementary schools with at risk kids to do mini "etiquette" classes to teach some of their kids how to use utensils. America needs a wake-up call, even if it is by a Brit dressed up as a pea.

                              Here are some other general observations about the school lunch programs

                              * Child Nutrition programs are not about feeding children, they are agricultural support programs designed to remove excess farm production from the market in order to stabilize prices.

                              * Not all USDA commodites are "bad" and to revile and castigate them shows a lack of understanding at best. The vast majority of the commodities I saw and used were actually quite acceptable and often pretty good. The acceptable far outweighed the unacceptable.

                              * The system of end processing of commodity goods by authorized manufacturers is a multi, multi billion dollar business. Once again to support business and agriculture interests, not feed kids. Franco Harris, former Pittsburgh Steeler and Super Bowl hero has a company - Super Donut - that processes commodities into donuts and other goods for government feed programs. Like Franco, hate his product.

                              * A case of USDA commodity product cost $1 or $2, it also substantially reduces the price of finished goods. No school district could afford to pay full price for the same items. A 40# case of USDA ground beef cost $2, it would probably be soemwhere between $75 - 90 through normal distribution. A case of tater tots costs $2, I paid $23.25 through Sysco San Diego last week for their private label (but actually Lamb-Weston) tater barrels. USDA commodities make school lunch affordable, the challenge is how to make it good. And while the bulk commodities are usually pretty decent, if employees don't know how to cook it's not practical.

                              * Many school administrators resent having to deal with providing breakfast and/or lunch to students. I can't tell you how many times I had a school principal say "it's not the school's responsibility to feed students, we're here to educate". Yes, that's true, but hungry kids don't learn. Kids living at or below the poverty line, with parents that may or may not be employeed, may have substance abuse issues, be victims of family violence or a myriad other social problems, often live in homes where food isn't available. When parents either can't or aren't feeding their children, for whatever reason, who does?

                              * Child Nutrition programs are one of the most OVER REGULATED programs requiring ridiculous levels of certification and compliance. Many comments have been made on this thread about Alice's attitude on the show. I acutally chuckled, because I understood where she was coming from...she was talking about the compliance paperwork she'll have to do. Fail to complete or turn in the compliance paperwork, and there is no reimbursement.

                              * School Districts must verify student eligibility for Free or Reduced price meals every year. For a large District, this could mean having to gather and verify income data for several thousand randomly selected families. God forbid, someone get a shred of commodity food to which they are not entitled. The banks can rip us off blind, but a schoool get penalized if they serve a french fry to someone who isn't eligible?

                              There's more, a lot more. The school lunch system is broken (and the K-12 education system not far behind). The Child Nutrition act is up for reauthorization right now in Congress. If you are concerned, or if Jaime's show struck a chord - or simply grossed you out - I urge you to write to your Congressmen and women. Express your concern and your outrage. This *is* a grassroots concept that can make change if it gathers enough steam. Newt Gingrich and his Compact with American got "school lunched" back in the mid-90s by a bunch of school lunch ladies. A lot has changed in the program since then, and not for the better. Perhaps it's time for Congress and the USDA to get school lunched again, only this time by the consumer.

                              It's not about the kids, they can't vote. Adults need to step up to the plate and make their voice and their displeasure with the present system known. If ever systemic change was needed, it's needed by NSLP.

                              Okay, off my soap box. Thanks for listening...back to you regular CH programming.

                                1. re: DiningDiva

                                  Thank you. You are far more articulate than I could ever be on this subject.

                                    1. re: DiningDiva

                                      Thank you...And please...allow me to be the first to place you not on a soapbox, but on a pedestal!

                                        1. re: DiningDiva

                                          It's a very good post, but other than saying that I love what JO is doing, why is this directed at me?

                                          I also know that the system is broke and needs to be fixed.

                                          I wish that the all the red tape and politics would be taken out of the
                                          system and provide the children with the healthy meals they deserve.

                                          And thank you for the information about the Child Nutrition act, I will plan on writing my Congress person and tell all of my friends to do the same.

                                          1. re: mcel215

                                            I originally was just going to address the one quote you had that I referenced at the top of my post. I kind of got on a roll and just kept going. Sorry about that, the post was not really directed at you.

                                          2. re: DiningDiva

                                            great post.

                                            In the olden days when I was just a teen, (late 60s/early 70s) our high school of about 600 girls provided us with a cooked lunch. The kitchen had about 10-12 dinner ladies who cooked everything from scratch. I remember seeing 2-3 just peeling potatoes, others chopping cabbage or other fresh vegetables. If we had chips (fries) they were hand cut from real spuds.
                                            Yes of course we hated the dinners, who wanted to eat Lancashire Hot Pot with lumpy mash and boiled to death cabbage? salad with flies not really washed out, rubbery liver and boiled bacon, puddings with lumpy custard (they were good though), fresh apple or rhubarb crumble were also good. By golly we had to eat every mouthful. The stern teacher on duty stood over us till we ate the lot.
                                            But, they were proper dinners. Fresh cooked daily, fresh meat, fish, vegetables. And then we went out to play or run about for about 45 minutes. I don't believe that even happens any more.

                                            1. re: smartie

                                              Smartie, no, not in public schools :-).

                                              Many schools have facilities that are inadquate to feed all their children. It's not that uncommon in large districts for lunch to start at 9:30 or 10 am so that the kids can all be rotated through the available space.

                                              Those kids that have to have lunch before recess are fidgety and don't want to eating lunch, they're rather be running around playing. The kids coming to lunch after recess are usually calmer and (perhaps not surprisingly) tended to eat more of their meal, whether it was home packed or from the cafeteria.

                                              The teacher unions here in California have negotiated a "duty free" lunch for their teachers to give them a break from their students during the day. It is rare to see a teacher in the dining room with their classroom.

                                              1. re: DiningDiva

                                                DD I also loved your post! I don't think most people realize what goes on in the school systems. The timing of lunch can be crazy, especially for the little ones who need to eat more frequently. I agree that exercise before eating would be he smart thing, but I never see that happen.

                                                1. re: DiningDiva

                                                  DD I so agree, when my kids were in high school here in the US compared to the UK I was amazed that their school day started at 7.28 (duh?) and that they were expected to go for 4 hours without a break until a 22 minute lunch break with a 26 minute recess at 11.28 or 12.04 then back to class for another 4 hours with no recess.
                                                  In the UK kids get a 15 minute break around 10.45 after starting school around 8.30 and almost an hour for lunch at about 12.30 or 1pm and still finish at 3.30.

                                                  1. re: smartie

                                                    Smartie - when in grad school my friends and I would get punchy, silly and even giggly by the end of the evening. We were a group of late 20/early 30 somethings who understood that if we couldn't handle sitting for 3-5 hours straight, how could we expect our 6-10 year olds to sit all day and still be productive?! It's ridiculous.

                                                2. re: smartie

                                                  I'm a little older than you, smartie, and by the late 60s I was working for the local Education Department (as a clerk). At that time, the Schools Meals Service in each borough or county staffed the school kitchens. The main difference between then and now was that, then, there were nutritional standards to be observed by all kitchens so whislt the meals weren't that good, they were "good for you". Of course, all these nutritional standards and so on were thrown out by the government we elected in 1979.

                                                  1. re: Harters

                                                    Harters, the changes actually predates 1979. The real decline in the program began in 1968 with Richard Nixon. The school lunch program was originally established in 1947 as a part of the *Department of Defense*. This was due to the large number of men of eligible draft age who were unable to serve in WWII for various reasons. Most of the reasons for that 4F status were directly related to the poor nutrition that had been prevalent during the 30s and the Great Depression. The DOD needed all bodies, so took on the task of ensuring that hunger and malnutrition didn't deplete their eligible pool of soldiers. The original school lunch program was designed on a model Great Britian had put into effect after WWI when it, too, had been afflicted with too many men being ineligible to serve because of results of diet related deficiencies.

                                                    When the program was up for funding renewal in 1968 it was folded into the existing Child Nutrition programs and moved from DOD to USDA. Once the USDA got their hands on the program all bets were off and the program was essentially gutted to suit the needs of agribusiness.

                                                    There always have been, and continue to be, written and enforced nutrition standards for the meals. Back in the DOD and early USDA days it was pretty straightforward - 2 oz meat/meat alternative, 1 serving bread (1 oz), 3/8 cup fruit, 3/8 cup vegetable and 8 fluid ounces of milk. There is actually a USDA yield manual that lists all foods by category and tells you how much of each food is needed both before and after preparation in order to meet the meal "contribution". And you really do have to be a rocket scientist to understand how it all works and how much of each food has to be served in order for it to qualify as part of the reimbursable meal. Not only do you have to show how much you served, you have to be able to show how much you used to prep each item, how much was left over, and how those left overs were used. Oh...and if anyone took seconds (and they do) you have to be able to show those too. And god save your soul, any leftovers better have been taken by an eligible student and not some interloping ineligible person. Not to mention that you can not prep less than the number of students that are projected to eat that day. If you have 100 kids eating that day, you need to have 100 servings of every single component available that day. Have less than that amount, your reimbursement dollars gets docked. There is a formalized audit process and if a school fails they have to submit (and implement) an action plan for correcting deficiences.

                                                    Then the USDA started tinkering. Some schools complained that 3/8 cup of fruit and veg. was too much for some of the younger grades, so the USDA broke those components into 1/4 cup measures. Then came offer vs serve (which wasn't a bad thing since it decreased waste). Then came the commodity manufacturers who began heavily fortifying everything, so the USDA created CN labeling. The manufacturers submitted "price and yield" forms (and formulas) to show that their products would provide the minimum amount of a particular meal component. One of the reasons you see so much processed pizza is because you can take USDA commodity flour, cheese, tomato paste and pork and convert it to a piece of pizza that will meet the meat/meat alternate and bread components as well as providing 1/4 cup of veg., all for less than $.25 a serving; and when your total reimbursement for a meal is only around $2.17, and you still have to pay for labor, paper and other overhead, that $.25 slice of pizza begins to look like manna from heaven. Additionally, that slice of pizza has been engineered to provide less than 30% of calories from fat, or will if the smart director adds a side salad or piece of fruit to finish out the remaining 1/2 cup of fruit/veg that's required.

                                                    All schools receiving reimbursement are required to submit paperwork verifying the nutritional content of their meals and that it does not exceed the thresholds established for the program by the USDA. Unforutnately, it's not necessarily a nutritional profile that is easily understood by the most people. I have never seen a nutritional analysis program as convoluted as that of the USDA Child Nutrition program. It's complicated and not at all straight forward.

                                                    Why do high school students need 2 servings of bread? It's not the carbs. Most commodity processed items - and the regular bread on the grocery shelf - have been highly fortified. High schools are required to serve the 2 servings of bread (which includes all grains actually) in order to ensure the intake of the vitamins and minerals with which these items have been fortiefied.

                                                    I'll toss these tidbits out too

                                                    - Want to know what 2 of the strongest lobbying organizations are in Washington DC...Diary and Beef.
                                                    - Up until the early 80s schools were required to have/serve whole milk or lose reimbursement money (impact of the dairy lobby)
                                                    - Up until about 1968 there was a fat requirement in the meal pattern for the reimburseable meal. It was 1 tsp per meal per day and was satisfied by adding USDA butter to everything. Ever wonder why those canned veggies tasted so good in 50s and 60s? Good old BUTTER :-)
                                                    - Tofu was not recognized as a protein source until the 90s.
                                                    - Nuts and nut butters are not recognized as being equal to meat as a protein source. It takes 4 tablespoons of peanut butter to equal 2 oz of meat/meat alterntive. A sandwich with 4 Tbls. of pnut butter is pretty hard to eat ;-)

                                                    The food manufacturers have manipulated food to the point where it can fit the USDA nutrition guidelines and still resemble the real thing. Those meals many look fatty and unhealthy on the outside, but they will meet the regs because of the chemical stew of fortification. The meals are still "good for you" but do any of us really want to eat them.

                                                    1. re: DiningDiva

                                                      Harters is in the UK, and he was talking about the election of Margaret Thatcher, who removed the requirement of school meals to meet any nutritional requirements. She also removed the right to free school meals for millions of children and opened up school kitchens to competitive tendering. The result was a big decline in the quality of school meals, which is what Jamie Oliver tried to address, with some success, in his British TV programme, Jamie's Dinners.

                                                      1. re: greedygirl

                                                        Maggie also stopped our free school milk. She was known as Margaret Thatcher Milk Snatcher

                                                        1. re: greedygirl

                                                          And, indeed, in 1980 the still Tory government removed the obligation on Local Education Auithorities to provide lunches - except for those children still eligibale for free school meals. Some of us have long memories however cuddly that party might now try to portray itself.

                                                          1. re: Harters

                                                            Harters, I didn't realize you were in the UK. I didn't know Margaret Thatcher had done all that to school lunches in your country. Isn't it interesting the parallels between what has happened in both countries though. Once the government starts messing around with programs that are (more or less) working they seem to turn them into ineffective functions.

                                                            Several years ago I was at a small (non-food related) conference in Florence, Italy. One of the women I met and spent a lot of time talking to was the chancellor of a college in London. She also happened to be a great support of Jaime Oliver. Her college had an established working relationship with him. At that point he was just starting his program with at-risk kids and the woman I met had high hopes for his success. We also spent some time talking about the sad state of school lunches in both countries. She told me som horror stories I found hard to believe though I knew she was right.

                                                            Since that time, my opinion of Jaime Olive changed dramatically. I think some of the criticism that's been here on this thread of him has been a little unwarranted but I understand where it's coming from.

                                                            Once again sorry for the misunderstanding on my part of where you were located. I certainly wasn't at all upset or angry with you, just the system in which I used to work <sigh>

                                                            1. re: DiningDiva

                                                              No worries, DD. I tend to stick to general threads where my nationality is not relevent.

                                                              And, yes, it's interesting how both countries have developed similarly by government. It's difficult with a board like this to know where a discussion about national food policy goes from being a discussion about food to a discussion about politics (and therefore off-topic here). But food policy, like many others, is about whether we want our governments to be broadly interventionist or non-interventionist. In the 60/70/80s, Britain faced something of a choice about which direction to go in. Either high tax/high interventionism along the model of most European countries or the low tax/ low intervention model of America. We had what I would consider to be the misfortune to elect a rabid non-interventionist government in 1979 and the choice was made. The trend has continued over the last 30 years and not for nothing do many of us regard Britain as the 51st state. I'm rarely at all comfortable with how my country now is.

                                                              1. re: Harters

                                                                Too true. Food policy is all too relevant.

                                                                Funny, I'm not at all comfortable with how my country now is and am plotting my escape South to Mexico ;-)

                                                                1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                  EEK! They're cutting people into pieces in Mexico!

                                                                  1. re: RedTop

                                                                    No, they really aren't. I am not a narco-trafficker and associate with anyone in the business. Toursits and ex-pats are safer than the press and U.S. government would lead the general public to belive.

                                                  2. re: DiningDiva

                                                    Amazing post, DD....thank you so much for the education! I agree with everyone - damn good post!

                                                    1. re: DiningDiva

                                                      I suppose this question may be hard to answer since it may be governed by the states, but do you know if charter schools have to follow the same regulations as "regular" public schools in regards to lunches or are they allowed leeway in what they offer?

                                                      1. re: Jen76

                                                        Charters schools have evolved since I left school lunch, so I can't really answer that question. What I can tell you is that every year school districts must renew their participation in the Child Nutrition programs for each school in the district. It is possible (but not common) for a single school, or selected schools, to be excluded from participating in the program.

                                                        Not participating in the program means no reimbursement $$$, which for the school, means no funding and no budget back-fill for money spent on the program. Given the whole charter school concept, I strongly suspect that some are electing not to participate in any of the Child Nutrition programs, particularly if they have another funding source for whatever meal program they offer. If a charter school *is* participating in the Child Nutrition programs, in order to receive their Federal and State reimbursements they are required to follow the USDA guidelines.

                                                        1. re: Jen76

                                                          Can't speak to all charter schools, but in California they have to be "sponsored" (if that's the right word) by a school district. Not only that, but most of them are located in schools the district has closed. And the easiest way to feed the kids is to let the district handle the meals. So many charter students end up eating public-school meals in public-school cafeterias. Fortunately my daughter's school has a salad bar, so she gets some fresh veg at lunch every day, even if it is mostly iceberg lettuce.

                                                        2. re: DiningDiva

                                                          Hi Dining Diva, I love your posts regarding your experience in this area. I've managed to only get about 1/2 way through this thread but I wanted to let you know I've put a link for this thread refering to your posts onto the the forums on www.jamieoliver.com. There has obviously been alot of discussion regarding this series on the JO forums, Im hoping our mod (a mate of Jamies) will get a chance to read your post and pass your experience on to Jamie. I have also sent an email to the mod.

                                                          1. re: Mrs_Master

                                                            Mrs Master, Original Poster here.

                                                            Glad to hear from someone with a close connection. Please keep us posted on ways that we can participate.

                                                            1. re: FoodFuser

                                                              I will do FoodFuser. Feel free to jump into the forums at JO and say your thing over there, theres a few wally's jumping in, but you get them everytime Jamie does a new show and gives a little truth. Heaps of people support the revolution though and far out weigh the nay sayers.

                                                              It was Danny the site mod, who directed me to this site near on a year ago as a place to check out when I was looking at good cooking forums and asked in a thread. Im glad I've dropped by. It was was only today when we were told one of our forum members had passed away, I was going through old posts and discovered Dannys reccomendation on the final post in the thread.

                                                            2. re: Mrs_Master

                                                              Mrs_Master...thank you so much. I wholly support Jamie's efforts. Change is much needed.

                                                            3. re: DiningDiva

                                                              "I can't tell you how many times I had a school principal say "it's not the school's responsibility to feed students, we're here to educate"."

                                                              Would it be churlish to point out they don't do a very good job at either of these tasks?

                                                              1. re: FrankD

                                                                No, it wouldn't because you're absolutely correct. Don't get me started ;-)

                                                                1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                  I am so with you both.

                                                                  We have developed a tolerance for mediocrity in our schools and, I am afraid, pay for it as a nation. I am by no means an advocate for home schooling, but rather an advocate for a standard of excellence in how we feed and educate our children.

                                                                  1. re: chicgail

                                                                    So now in addition to the "3 R's (4 if you count respect which most students don't learn at home, but at school) it is up to ALL teachers to teach nutrition? I truly hope that you're not implying that teachers are ok with mediocrity in the schools...
                                                                    And to Frank - I'm not sure where you live, but you've quite obviously never been to my school.

                                                                    1. re: SweetPea914

                                                                      We spend billions of dollars to fight wars and bail out banks that sold us out, but we claim we can't afford to properly feed or educate our kids. I think that's outrageous, but we all shrug and put up with it.

                                                                      My comment about mediocrity related to that all of us expect that some children will fail and that some children will barely get by. Schools are underfunded, their lunchrooms loaded with fried and processed food that benefits no one but Big Ag. And we look the other way. Teachers have a ridiculous burden -- classrooms with up to 35 students; insufficient supplies and books; low pay and little respect.

                                                                      If our children are our future as we say they are, we should make sure that all of them learn and that all of them are properly fed -- at school and at home.

                                                    2. re: cinnamon girl

                                                      This article comes across as wildly more offensive to Appalachia than Jamie Oliver could ever be. The author seems resigned to writing the whole region off as a lost cause, and isn't the least bit self-aware of the hypocrisy in calling out someone for trying to effect change in a public medium while he casually debases the population in another public medium.

                                                      The author is also painfully uninformed, considering he outright states that eating right is a "high cost" venture. In what universe is fresh produce more expensive than frozen, processed shit? This isn't an attempt to force the poor to buy organically farmed local food, this is an attempt to get them to stop eating what will kill them, and the author seems to think it's better to let them " keel over in a puddle of kountry gravy if they like, dead from clogged arteries or scurvy (or both)."

                                                      So what's more offensive? Helping people with an ulterior motive of garnering press, or using the press to disparage helping those people because they're too far gone to be helped in the first place?

                                                      1. re: cinnamon girl

                                                        That writer had an agenda that is as blatent as stirirring up trouble. First, JO did not choose the place for some us-them scenario but it was ranked as the unhealthiest town in America. Likewise the writer totally forgot the scene with the pastor who was very much on the side of helping.

                                                        So jfood's comment on the article is let JO make some good old fashioned fish and chips, use the paper to wrap it in and let the writer eat his words with the fat.

                                                        1. re: jfood

                                                          Wrapping the fish and chips in the paper adds a whole new dimension, and begs a twist of NYTimes logo to "All the news that's fit to eat".

                                                        2. re: cinnamon girl

                                                          I think another article in the same paper 5 days later says a lot more about how Huntington, WV has taken up the cause themselves:


                                                          "Instead of closing their eyes and wishing Oliver would go away, though, many people here eventually warmed to the chef, and have started efforts to improve the health of locals residents.

                                                          "This isn't just a TV show and it's not just a one-time thing," said Doug Sheils, spokesman for Cabell-Huntington Hospital, which was an early supporter of efforts to change the area's health problems.

                                                          Sheils was an early and vocal skeptic of Oliver's effort, and is still seething about a 2008 Associated Press story that used federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data to dub the five-county Huntington metropolitan area the country's unhealthiest.

                                                          The story pointed out that based on CDC statistics, nearly half the adults in the metropolitan area were obese and that the area led in a half-dozen other illness measures, too, including heart disease and diabetes.

                                                          But after meeting Oliver, Sheils became convinced of the Cockney chef's good will, and the hospital has stepped forward with significant donations to two major efforts. "

                                                          Is it going to take a lot of work? Yes. But sounds like many are willing to make that effort. And good for them.

                                                          Another article on March 25th: hhttp://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content...

                                                      2. I only saw bits of it, the part where he was asking the cafeteria food workers to read the label. One lady was going to say just the opposite of what Jamie said just because he was coming off as a pedantic do gooder.

                                                        I get the point, but why is he whaling on the bottom of the food chain, so to speak? The problem is huge and cafeteria workers are not the cause of it, they are just working their jobs according to what they are told.

                                                        This is like boycotting 7-11 because they sell cigarettes. You need to hit it high and low, the consumers and the suppliers, take those two out, and the middle will follow. Even though his heart is in the right place, the whole show seems like an exercise in futility and it just gives Jamie Oliver a place to sound high minded.

                                                        1. I watched most of it last night. He's in for a rough road, with the Department of Agriculture mandating that he has to serve two servings of bread and fighting kids who have been pampered to only get served what they want for the past 20 years. And his tearful soliloqy on the playground seemed a little dramatic.
                                                          I quit buying my kids school lunches when I looked at the menu and it was "pizza, burger, nuggets, tacos" every week. They don't eat that way at home and I'm not going to pay for them to eat that way at school.
                                                          And watching the fat family look at a week's worth of unhealthy food piled on the table and then burying the deep fat fryer in the backyard...we get it, fried food is bad, why waste a week's worth of food to prove it?

                                                          7 Replies
                                                          1. re: podunkboy

                                                            a few years back when we lived in England, where my daughters' school cafeteria sold nothing but carbs, fried food, sugar and sodas, it took the high school kids to go on strike one day to make a difference. I had already stopped allowing them cafeteria food and they brought packed lunches I made each morning, but the whole school secretly planned a strike on cafeteria food one day.
                                                            Everybody brought their own lunches, older girls set up stands in the grounds selling sandwiches and fruit and homemade cookies and bottled water, and the school was left without selling any chips, fries, burgers, pizzas etc. One mum (me) called the local newspaper and they were down there in seconds, interviewing the girls through the school gates. The headmistress had an emergency meeting with the catering company and the seniors at school and things changed quite a bit.

                                                            1. re: smartie

                                                              That's pretty amazing, smartie! Think that would work in 'murrka, too?

                                                              1. re: linguafood

                                                                I think it's got to come from the kids themselves. My daughters' friends were all fed up with just chips (fries), pies, and soda machines, ice creams and chocolate bars. I think the girls were health, weight and fashion conscious leading them to demand salads and cooked food not frozen and fried. Parents also lobbied the school.
                                                                Funny, it started to change when the school stopped allowing food to be paid for in cash and introduced a swipe card with a statement sent to the parents 3 times a year. When you saw what garbage your kids were eating and paying big prices for it was time to rebel.

                                                                What is the point of health and nutrition lessons when all the kids can get in the cafeteria are sugars, carbs, fat and chemicals?

                                                                1. re: smartie

                                                                  "I think it's got to come from the kids themselves. ....... Parents also lobbied the school.
                                                                  EXACTLY. And I think that's what Jamie Oliver is trying to do - get to the kids early (1st, 2nd grades) about healthy eating, and to get the parents to realize what was going into their kids on a weekly/annual basis. I watched both the preview last week, and then again this week during the 8pm hour, and the 2nd show at 9pm. The dump truck of fat consumed by one school in a single school year - was it over-the-top? Yes, it was. But perhaps that's the slap upside the head that both kids AND parents needed (and school officials as well) to realize that the processed foods were not the best thing for the kids to be eating.

                                                                  I found it astonishing and appalling that, even after Jamie showed the 7 or so kids at Jamie's Kitchen how those chicken nuggets were made, after he formed the chicken goop into nugget-like patties and fried them, the kids still wanted to eat them. Because it's familiar to them. They have pizza for breakfast, chix nuggets for lunch, and then MORE chix nuggets at home for dinner....go back to school the next day, and have the SAME THING all over again! How can that be good for anyone?

                                                                  So does Jamie have to go way over the top? Yeah, I think he does. Because perhaps that's the only way to really make people understand what they're consuming and realize they all need to make a change.

                                                                  I applaud what Jamie Oliver's doing. He's fully aware that it's a much bigger job here in the U.S. than it was in the U.K. trying to get change effected...it's a huge country, after all, and he has the USDA to deal with, as well as stubborn Alice-the-Lunch-Lady types. But by effecting change (hopefully) in one small area, it could start that revolution rolling along elsewhere.

                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                    LindaWhit, I'm with you. Talked to my mom today about what she fed me as a kid, and although I *begged* for fast food and crap, she made me sit down to a real meal as often as she could manage it as a single working mom. Parents need to be a major part of the solution and JO should get credit for what he's trying to do here. Even a dialog amongst us is a good first step, no?

                                                              2. re: podunkboy

                                                                I saw the photo of that Podunkboy. A lot of shows are doing that now. They get a week's or even month's worth of food and pile it up just to throw it out. It really bothers me too. The money could have been used to buy decent food to give to a food bank or something. Ugh.

                                                              3. LOVE Jamie Oliver, takes a lot of guts to do what he does and he leaves his wife and young daughters for months at a time to help and get the word out to eat better so we all can live happier, healthier lives.
                                                                The people who believe "he wants to TELL us what to eat and what to do" are not getting the point, he just wants adults to help children make informed healthy choices and know there are other options out there besides chicken fingers and bagel bites.
                                                                GO Jamie!!!

                                                                1. I enjoyed the pilot and hope the show continues. It is a bit over the top (crying in the playground), but again, this is a problem that needs attention and thus it needs to be over the top. Watching the kids dump the plastic trays of fruit and the only thing actually made in the cafeteria from scratch (bread) in favor of nuggets and "dippers" and flavored milk was not shocking but illustrative. Kids having nuggs 5 nights a week? I don't care how good your nuggets are, cmon people.

                                                                  I agree that the parents need to be helped too, to understand what they are doing to their kids and themselves. As always, it's a systemic problem. But I give JO props for trying to do something. Something? Anything? Beuller?

                                                                  1. Here's a link to a British look at the show.

                                                                    It sounds like the message was right, but so delivered as to be less effective than it might have been

                                                                    1. Jfood will place his voice as a FULL SUPPORTER of the show and the movement.

                                                                      Wow, people crticizing where it was filmed, the bottom of the food chain, all jfood can say is that it was a good thing you were not helping in the 60's with Civil Rights, "Hey Dr. King why are we marching on Selma?"

                                                                      OMG jfood is embarassed.

                                                                      Personally he and little jfood looked at each other, immediately signed the petition and are trying to figure out a way to help.

                                                                      To the people who disagree, please go buy some empathy and social awareness.

                                                                      Those of you with a heart and soul, here is te link to sign the petition


                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                      1. re: jfood

                                                                        jfood makes it easy to echo his feelings. This string has smacked of anti-Appalachian sentiment.

                                                                          1. re: jfood

                                                                            VERY well said, jfood.

                                                                            I guess I was lucky...the junior high and high school I attended in NJ served really good lunches, mostly food made from scratch from fresh ingredients with good balance and variety, by cafeteria workers that took some pride in what they did.
                                                                            In my high school cafeteria there was one vending machine, which I visited before the bus ride home most days...You put in 25 cents, and got a big, juicy apple.
                                                                            Of course, this was 40-45 years ago...

                                                                            1. re: The Professor

                                                                              My high school had an apple machine too! That was 30 years ago. The apple machine was across the hall from the Pepsi machine - one soda machine for about 1500 students, by the way - and it seemed to do just as much business. They were Red Delicious, not my favorite, but I bought one every day to eat with my Dannon yogurt that had been frozen overnight to thaw by lunchtime.

                                                                              1. re: harrie

                                                                                Any particular reason your froze your yogurt overnight, just to have it thawed again at lunch?

                                                                                1. re: linguafood

                                                                                  You'd freeze it so it thaws during morning classes in time to eat for lunch. If you get it right, the texture is thicker and sort of ice creamy - a nice bonus. No need for refrigeration, no wasting precious time going to the caf to buy a yogurt. In the late '70s, I believe it was the height of cool (or so we thought).

                                                                          2. I am so torn on this show.
                                                                            (And want to mention I did not see the entire thing)
                                                                            I appreciate Jamie Oliver and think he has done great things in his country.
                                                                            I like his simple food and really loved his show that he cooked out of his garden (Jamie At Home) .
                                                                            But this Food Revolution show was really overly promoted and felt like a little too much.
                                                                            And then Ryan Seacrest was the Exec Producer and I became even more skeptical.
                                                                            I really think Jamie has good intentions and maybe this is the way to reach the "American Idol" mentality in the US.
                                                                            And I will probably check out any coming episodes.
                                                                            But it really grates on my nerves that it feels like we are all being talked down to.
                                                                            Some of us get it - some of us are trying already (particularly those of us on CH) - but I guess we aren't really the target audience. They want MAX ratings.

                                                                            I agree with bookgrrl72 though - maybe this is the way to get people riled up.
                                                                            As I said in the beginning - can't decide for sure - will have to try to catch up what I missed and watch future episodes - if I can stand it.

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: meginAB

                                                                              Not pro or anti Ryan Seacrest, but he has spoken openly about the weight issues he had as a kid (I recall seeing a picture of him and thinking Wow, *that's* him?!), so I think he has some personal interest invested in this as well.

                                                                            2. Loved it, and it made me want to tear my hair out in frustration and upset. And I was pretty annoyed that we had breaking news in the middle of it so we missed like 10 minutes, and Tivo didn't record past 1 hour so I think we missed a good portion of it. I hope they will re-run this episode.

                                                                              6 Replies
                                                                              1. re: rockandroller1

                                                                                BTW - the end was just that they are coming back next week for the two hour 1st episode. They break away with 3 minutes left on the show. urgh

                                                                                1. re: jfood

                                                                                  THANK YOU! People keep talking about his "tearful" playground confession but I either didn't see that or I didn't think he was tearful, so I thought I missed a big chunk of the show.

                                                                                  1. re: rockandroller1

                                                                                    Nah, missed nothing, you already saw him cry once, which was enough. make sure you sign the petition, 25000 more signature went on since the show aired.

                                                                                    1. re: jfood

                                                                                      I looked at the site, but I am really not comfortable with putting my email address plus first and last name on the internet. I have had enough problems with stalkers. If you could call in or write in by mail to "sign" the petition, I would.

                                                                                      1. re: rockandroller1

                                                                                        You wouldn't be putting your name on the internet. The web form is connected to a database; the info on the form does not go on the web page at all, so is not publicly available. I signed it and can't even find a generic list of "x number of people from y city" - only a total number of signatories per state.

                                                                                        1. re: LisaPA

                                                                                          Appreciate that LisaPA, I will go sign it now!

                                                                              2. I watched the first show and was really moved actually. I don't know how anyone who has watched JO in the past could suggest his only or main motive is money, or that he is condescending. I find he builds authentic relationships with people from all walks of life, and is way more down to earth than most chefs or celebrities.

                                                                                I support Jamie all the way on his Food Revolution. If Americans are so offended by his approach and his work in Huntington, I think it's more a reflection of their embarassment at the culture of food that is prevelant in so many homes. It's not unique to America - it's happening in the UK and here in Canada as well. Admit how shameful it is, and be glad that somebody is making an effort to make changes.

                                                                                Go Jamie! Please come to Canada next!!

                                                                                1. I watched the show all the way thru and I hope all the congressmen, school admins and 'cafeteria ladies' in school districts across America sit up and take note of the message Jamie is trying to get across: We NEED a 'food revolution' for our children, in schools and at home.

                                                                                  In many school districts school lunches can be construed as child abuse: They are chock full of fat,. carbohydrates, salt, and highly processed foods often provided by the self-serving Governemnt Surplus Foods Program which is set up to benefit and subsidize big Agribusiness.

                                                                                  Most often menus are not designed in the students' best interests to provide the best nutrition to develop a healthy mind and body. Or even to give the students enough energy to pay attention in class for the rest of the afternoon. Menus are designed to the USDA 'politicized' requirements and/or to satisfy the easiest preparation and most uninformed childish tastes.

                                                                                  Yes, maybe Jamie was naive, maybe brash, some West Virginians may be insulted, but Jamie launched a discussion that needs to take place in America. Our obesity is of epidemic proportions and we need to start somewhere, and why not with our schools, families and children?

                                                                                  Here's a link to the ABC preview: http://abc.go.com/shows/jamie-olivers...

                                                                                  Next "Food Revolution" Friday on ABC at 8 p.m.

                                                                                  1. In England, Jamie Oliver speaks out against processed food and gets his series expanded.

                                                                                    In the US, Michael Ruhlman speaks out against processed food and gets fired.


                                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                      A recent commentary by Jay Rayner, probably our most respected restaurant reviewer (and fellow egulleter) on JO:


                                                                                      1. re: Harters

                                                                                        Good article; I think I might have read it when it came out. JR is always balanced. He isn't interested in character assassination. The point that JO is first a businessman is well-taken. From reading the UK press online I've noticed he's spent the past year hectoring the British people about battery-raised supermarket chicken yet is reluctant to relinquish his lucrative million £ Sainsbury's contract. This anamoly is pretty revealing. He probably genuinely cares about the chicken situation, but he cares about the money and that status he gets from the publicity more. No doubt JR is right that JO will be around long after the other tv food personalities have gone.

                                                                                        1. re: cinnamon girl

                                                                                          I'm sure JR is right about him being around for a long time - not least because he's a young man. But, yes, he has his very lucrative media contracts as well as his "15" chain and his expanding but distinctly mediocre "Jamie's Italian" chain.

                                                                                          Oh - and JR has the skill to sink a knife in as well as any journo. I offer you, with great pleasure, this shafting of celeb chef (and one-time Michelin star holder) John Burton Race:

                                                                                          "I am sitting in a restaurant waiting for John Burton Race, and I am not looking forward to seeing him again. The last time was a year ago, in Manchester, where we were taking part in a live cookery show for ITV, and our evening had ended with me shouting at him. The night before the broadcast, a group of us from the production had holed up in the hotel bar where Burton-Race drained his glass and dominated the conversation. I had been warned about his talent for the controversial and he didn't disappoint. There were long speeches about the evil that women do, the incompetences of fellow chefs and his attitudes to the local people he lived alongside in Africa when he was a child; views that weren't likely to make him many friends within Britain's black community any day soon.

                                                                                          Eventually I'd had enough. I told him - barked at him - that his comments were unacceptable, that I would not let him sit there talking like that and be allowed to think it was OK."

                                                                                          Doncha just lurrrvve it.

                                                                                          1. re: Harters

                                                                                            Love it! That loud-mouthed boor has that and more coming to him. Thanks.

                                                                                        2. re: Harters

                                                                                          And this is why I like Jay Rayner on Top Chef Masters. Says it like it is, but fairly and with viewpoints about all sides.

                                                                                        1. I don't care that JO went to West Virginia, the "fattest state in the fattest country." I live in very affluent NJ, and can tell you about the parents I know who buy processed, frozen, PEANUT BUTTER AND JELLY SANDWICHES for their kids who have massive ADD. One woman I know, who buys these for her teenager son and daughter, constantly complains that her son is never on the right meds. Then she shows up at a party I am catering, and while everyone else is enjoying themselves and raving about the food, all of which was made from scratch using only organic ingredients, she takes a quarter teaspoon of each item, tastes it, then tells her skinny, pale daughter that you "shouldn't try that; you will not like it."

                                                                                          My point here is that eating disorders, and eating habits, are passed down through the generations, and we are only on the early cusp of learning how our food disrupts our brains, our bodies, and our overall health. It does not matter if you are from West Virginia, or Central New Jersey. Human nature is the same. People are insane about food, with the symptoms being overeating, not eating at all, lazy about cooking, or paranoid about anything they put into their mouths. If Jamie Oliver can do anything to make us question our food choices, he is a hero. I believe in his mission, and may not like his approach, but I understand his approach absolutely because changing one's diet is one of the most difficult, yet most fundamental things, one can do to improve one's lot in life.

                                                                                          1. About 10 minutes into the first hour, I realized that I was watching "advocacy journalism". I see nothing wrong with that, so long as the message is not strident, or pedantic in tone.

                                                                                            So, my personal take on the series is that it is entertaining; somewhat informative, and its objective--help create a healthier America, will be totally ignored by the US Department of Agriculture.

                                                                                            18 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: RedTop

                                                                                              >>will be totally ignored by the US Department of Agriculture.

                                                                                              You got it. I watched the talking heads talk about the show, and it's the flavor of the month and only that, it will soon be forgotten. I am not even convinced it's true altruism, but it is good PR for Oliver, so what the heck. More power to him, if he can take advantage of those with money, go for it I say.

                                                                                              1. re: anonymouse1935

                                                                                                "if he can take advantage of those with money"

                                                                                                He *is* those with money. His fortune is currently valued at around £40 million making him the UK's richest chef (although obviously it's some while since he cooked in a restaurant kitchen for a living).

                                                                                                1. re: Harters

                                                                                                  All the easier then for him to relieve his friends of theirs.

                                                                                                  But hey, even if it makes a few kids rethink their food choices while his fad is flourishing, kudos to him.

                                                                                                  He'll have to play shrink too, though, since obesity is not primarily about food, it's about emotion.

                                                                                                  1. re: anonymouse1935

                                                                                                    <<...since obesity is not primarily about food, it's about emotion.>>

                                                                                                    Yes and no. If you know what and how much you should be eating to maintain an optimally healthy body and mind, yet some emotional trigger -- be it a bad day at work, a parent-family member-"friend" upsetting you, or even wanting to celebrate something -- makes you throw that knowledge out the window and gorge mindlessly and endlessly until you are overstuffed and hate yourself, so you eat some more -- yes, then obesity is emotion-linked.

                                                                                                    But these kids don't even have the tools to make the right choices of either a good food choice or the proper amount of it to consume. Eating habits are instilled in people at an early age and are very hard to undo. Trust me on this.

                                                                                                    If these kids never get the tools they need to know what a balanced diet is and at least consider good nutritional choices - and from the school principal's two-bread tunnel vision and the first round of veggie show-and-tell, I don't think they're getting much info -- ignorance is more of a problem than emotion ever will be. Just my humble opinion.

                                                                                                    1. re: harrie

                                                                                                      Good point, harrie, but that speaks to a bigger problem, the reliance on teachers for ALL of a child's education. Education, like the extinct manners, begins at home. The ignorance of parents in America today is appalling.

                                                                                                      I still believe JO is only the flavor of the month, and in six months, no one will remember his campaign. If he makes millions from it, however, and a very few kids are helped, more power to him.

                                                                                                      1. re: anonymouse1935

                                                                                                        Why is so much energy being spent in this thread to whack JO for his earning capability? That's not at all on topic!

                                                                                                        1. re: RedTop

                                                                                                          Because the topic began with an indication that JO should be respected for this endeavor.

                                                                                                          Since a debate ensued, I assume posters that don't want to respect JO are welcome.

                                                                                                        2. re: anonymouse1935

                                                                                                          <<...that speaks to a bigger problem, the reliance on teachers for ALL of a child's education. Education, like the extinct manners, begins at home. The ignorance of parents in America today is appalling.>>

                                                                                                          I pretty much don't care where the kids learn this stuff, but they have to learn it. Yeah, the parents should be able to teach both nutrition and table manners, but if this show is any indication, nobody taught the parents anything either. So if it's left to the schools, so be it.

                                                                                                          Maybe JO is a passing fancy; I think I read somewhere this show only goes for six episodes, so you're probably right. And I don't care how much money he makes.

                                                                                                          But I do hope there's another person down the pike, maybe Sara Moulton, or Jacques Pepin or *someone* picks up the torch. And when that person gets shouted down, and the American public raises their chicken nuggets in derisive, defiant victory - not realizing that maybe they've actually lost - I hope another one comes along with the same message. And so on, and so on.

                                                                                                          It's almost like a culture war-slash-class war, where the poorer people are easily identified by their helplessness when faced with dining utensils and propensity for ground, molded, and fried foods. And I don't want it to get to that point.

                                                                                                          1. re: harrie

                                                                                                            >>where the poorer people are easily identified by their helplessness

                                                                                                            But why is that?

                                                                                                            Can't children bring lunches from home made from good, wholesome ingredients, as I did?

                                                                                                            'Helplessness'? Come on.

                                                                                                            1. re: anonymouse1935

                                                                                                              You're quoting me hugely out of context -- I distinctly said helplessness occurs when faced with dining utensils. You didn't see the whole bit where the cafeteria staff and principal panicked at the thought of giving the kids real utensils instead of sporks? And IIRC the cafeteria didn't even know if they had any knives to start with.

                                                                                                              Perhaps I got a little carried away with the dystopian vision of the future, ie cutlery users vs. spork wielders. But I think of the footage they showed while on the silverware topic of a kid at home, hanging halfway off his chair and stuffing a nugget in his face with his hands; and then I picture him 25 years into the future, eating like this at a business dinner.

                                                                                                              Yes, children can bring lunches from home made from good, wholesome ingredients as you did -- and as did I.

                                                                                                              But according to the show we were presented -- and I know that what we see on the tube is what the director wants us to see and is carefully edited to that end-- they aren't bringing good, wholesome lunches to school. And part of the answer may be that the parents don't know what good, wholesome food is.

                                                                                                              Not to mention that the school lunches may be subsidized, so perhaps the parents send their kids to school for free meals - it's cheaper than putting something together at home. Is that the right thing to do? No, but I know and see lots of parents who do the easy thing versus the right thing.

                                                                                                              Like I said, I don't care who teaches nutrition and table manners to the kids, as long as someone does. And come on, yourself - at least finish the clause I wrote before slamming the hammer down.

                                                                                                    2. re: Harters

                                                                                                      Many people keep remarking about JO's income. So what!! I wish I had his money. Lots of people make what he makes. Personally, I don't really care how much he makes or doesn't make. The point is that he is trying to make a change. Has our government ever done anything so remarkable to try to get the kids in our schools to eat right? Nope! Local municipalities and State Governments most likely all have "contracts" with the cheapest food vendors--which means the lowest quality food. Heaven forbid people have to pay higher tax rates in order to get their kids to eat well.
                                                                                                      Let the naysayers bash Jamie all they want. At least he is doing something to try to correct the way our children eat. 'Mercan's have no sense of priorities anymore. They will spend themselves into bankruptcy to keep up with the Jonses, yet they won't spend enough money on organic food. Oh yes..I can tell you most of those people who complain that organic or non-processed food is too expensive most likely are purchasing a pack of smokes a day.

                                                                                                      1. re: jarona

                                                                                                        ITA. Bill and Melinda gates are filthy rich, and doing WONDERFUL things for those less fortunate. If Jamie were doing something just to make money, there are certainly much easier routes than this one, seriously.

                                                                                                        1. re: rockandroller1

                                                                                                          ...and I think Jamie is doing wonderful things for the less fortunate as well. The Gate's do wonderful things for people outside of our country, but--and I'm not being flip here--are they doing equally wonderful things for the kids of this country? Regardless, J.O. is making people think. In our society, the only ones that'll get the message across to anyone these days is a celebrity--whether it is a celebrity chef or a "reality" celebrity. A percentage of today's parents feel it necessary to have others take on the responsibility of their children's well-being. I remember the days when we, as parents, taught our kids right from wrong--taught our kids how to actually eat with utensils rather than their hands--taught our kids to eat well-balanced meals.....OOps! I just fell off my soapbox.

                                                                                                        2. re: jarona

                                                                                                          "Has our government ever done anything so remarkable to try to get the kids in our schools to eat right?"

                                                                                                          If this were Jeopardy: "Who is Michelle Obama?"


                                                                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                            Hi DQ.
                                                                                                            Michelle Obama is the First Lady (and I am a fan), but garners no more political pull than Hilary Clinton did when she was First Lady (remember what happened when Hilary tried to change the medical system). It is too bad as well.
                                                                                                            However, I do feel horribly for the reception J.O. is getting.

                                                                                                            1. re: jarona

                                                                                                              I'm going to decline to commment on your remark, "I do feel horribly for the reception J.O. is getting," not because I don't have opinions about it (I do), but they are more knee-jerk opinions than well-informed opinions.

                                                                                                              But, to your other point, I think Mrs. O isn't trying to leverage her "political pull" as much as she's trying to leverage her general likeability and credibility as a busy mom of two school-age children and (if I can be shallow here for a moment) attractiveness . And, even if "political pull" were what it took to get this job done here in the U.S., surely Mrs. O has more of it than Jamie O, given that she is First Lady and he is not even an American.

                                                                                                              But, even so, I don't think she's using her "political pull" as much as she's using her opportunity in the spotlight (afforded to every first lady for whatever her "cause" is: every First Lady is expected to have "a cause") in an attempt to appeal to the American public directly. She wrote an essay for Newsweek last week. Has been on the food network at least a couple of times that I know of (once on that Iron Chef "Super Battle" and on Paula Deen). I mean she's EVERYWHERE with her anti-obesity message.

                                                                                                              Maybe only Democrats are listening to her, but, even if that's the case, that's still a lot of people.


                                                                                                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                OK. I do realize that Mrs. O has been everywhere with her anti-obesity message. (Hey..I'm a registered Democrat, but more of an Independent.
                                                                                                                And yes, when it comes to politics, she has more "pull" than J.O. would have--but does she have the "pull" that all the politicians who are elected into office does? When it comes to people--I'm gonna go with Jamie Oliver getting more publicity than Mrs. Obama--not because one is better than the other---but becase J.O. is a "celebrity" chef and "celebrity" chefness is more popular these days--sad to say but true.
                                                                                                                Whatever--ANY person who can get the message across to the masses to eat well--be it Mrs. O. or J.O. is doing a great job.
                                                                                                                Our public school system really needs to do a better job in what kinds of food it hands out to our kids--and the parents must enforce better eating both at home AND in the schools.

                                                                                                                1. re: jarona

                                                                                                                  Can't disagree with anything you've said, although, I have to be honest, I think "celebrity chefs" (including Alice Waters, by the way, to tie into other conversations we've had here on Food Media and News) reach a different kind of audience than that Michelle Obama does.

                                                                                                                  I really don't think most people in the inner cities or rural countryside care about celebrity chefs. Frankly, I think the impoverished communities are the ones Mrs. O would have a better chance of reaching and being regarded as legitimate than would Mr. J.O.


                                                                                                  2. When he made those chicken nuggets from scratch and asked the kids if they would still eat it... lol... I didn't know if I should laugh or cry.. His facial expression was priceless.

                                                                                                    1. I too am split on the show because it does come across as imperialistic (I may be Canadian, but I recall something about a spat between the UK and the USA in 1776) in approach. What makes it easy to watch though is knowing that people are talking. The Washington Post is covering it, we foodies are talking about it. Hate him or love him, JO has done more to make people think than a nation of naysayers. Top Chef is not helping people eat better or educate kids. It is entertainment. JO is, in however flawed a process, engaging people, forcing people to take notice and deal with the subject. If he helps one family he is making a difference.

                                                                                                      We need to support him, not denigrate him. Separate the entertainment from the real effects of his efforts.

                                                                                                      I just returned from a small arctic comunity where there is a "stop the pop" campaign started by one person who is making a difference. It is bleeding over into other communities. Kids in these communities ingest huge quantities of pop, have metal where teeth belong and have an outrageously high instance of diabetes. Years of government policy and process did nothing. It takes an inspired and inspiring individual to start the process and that is what JO is doing and has done in the past. Good on him.

                                                                                                      We no longer leave sex ed to parents and we should not leave food ed to them either. Parents, for the most part, are either unqualified or unwilling to do what needs to be done with sex ed OR food ed. As for government policy on such things...well that is for another day and another website :-)

                                                                                                      7 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: foodiesnorth

                                                                                                        "We no longer leave sex ed to parents and we should not leave food ed to them either. Parents, for the most part, are either unqualified or unwilling to do what needs to be done with sex ed OR food ed. "

                                                                                                        I take mild objection to this statement, foodiesnorth.

                                                                                                        My family had a family table from the time our first born could be put into a high chair until the last one went off to college. We knew the obligation we had to put balanced and nutricious meals on that table morning, noon & night. And we strived to do that consistently. Some parents are fully capable of raising healthy children. Some are not.

                                                                                                        None of us has a responsibility to "save" the incapable.

                                                                                                        1. re: RedTop

                                                                                                          No offense intended, but I stand by my view that we must protect the most vulnerable amongst us. I never aim to offend, but I never waiver in expressing an opinion on the chance of offending someone.

                                                                                                          Family meals have been a part of my family both when I was achild and now as a parent. My parents with me and I with my kids also teach sex ed :-). Nothing they learn at school about either is new to them. Not every kid is so lucky. I commend you on what I presume to be a similar approach.

                                                                                                          We are all responsible for the welfare of children. Every civilized country has a structure to protect children from harm, even when the harm is at the hands of their parents. I am offended at the thought of anyone thinking we should revert to letting children suffer at the hands of incapable parents whether it be due to violence, stupidity or bad eating habits. Nothing wrong with getting good information and experience at home and school, but every child needs the education at least from one of those sources for sex and for food!

                                                                                                          Jamie is there to help kids who suffer at the hands of loving parents who know no better. I cheer him and every other person to jumps to the defense of those most in need.

                                                                                                          1. re: RedTop

                                                                                                            <None of us has a responsibility to "save" the incapable.>

                                                                                                            The Golden Rule aside and other loftier motives aside, it behooves adults to try to prevent the next generation from having early-onset arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, etc., if only for the reason that our tax dollars wind up underwriting the disability payments and medical care costs for young adults with chronic illnesses caused by their poor diet. A generation that is in poorer health than its parents and grandparents, and is thus unable to help care for their aging relatives, spreads the cost over a wide spectrum of society.

                                                                                                            Personally, I found the most horrific parts of the second hour (I missed the first) were that the children could not identify vegetables and that elementary school cafeteria workers thought it was absurd to expect them to use knives and forks. And they were right - these kids had been eating with fingers and spoons both at school and at home. This points to a total diet with very little in the way of green vegetables, and parents who either have poor table manners themselves or don't take the trouble to teach them to their children.

                                                                                                            1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                              I think I've put a match to something I didn't intent to.

                                                                                                              My apoplogies to you foodiesnorth. And to you greygarious.

                                                                                                              1. re: RedTop

                                                                                                                LOL, yes I think you did. No apology necessary. Nothing wrong with disagreeing!

                                                                                                              2. re: greygarious

                                                                                                                >>parents who either have poor table manners themselves or don't take the trouble to teach them to their children.

                                                                                                                This is not surprising. These same parents think it just fine to talk loudly on their cellphones in restaurants.

                                                                                                                If Jamie Oliver can impart manners to rude children and their parents, he deserves a medal.

                                                                                                            2. re: foodiesnorth

                                                                                                              Yup! It takes a village does it not? If we saw a child being bullied wouldn't we help? If we saw a child start to cross the road in front of a car wouldn't we yell to stop? If our neighbours child was doing drugs wouldn't we tell their parent or teacher in an effort to get help for that child? A little information can help a lot of people.

                                                                                                            3. An interesting take on this in today's Observer newspaper from Toby Young who, I suspect, is better known to Americans (as a judge on Top Chef, I believe), than he is to most of us on this side of the Atlantic.

                                                                                                              Young points out that there's a long tradition in popular American culture of the British playing the "baddy" (and many Brit film actors say "thank you very much") and, indeed that his role on Top Chef is that of "the snarky British judge on the show - the pantomime villain whom everyone loves to hate".

                                                                                                              The article's headline runs "Sorry, Jamie, but it's the bitter truth. In the US, you're just a pushy Brit." Young goes on to suggest that Oliver fully embraces his new found status as social pariah and should exaggerate his criticisms - "tell the revolting children if they continue to gorge on pizza and chocolate milk they're going to get FAT". He reckons it will play successfully to what he decribes as America's "massive inferiority complex" (erm, not exactly sure I'm with Toby on that one).

                                                                                                              6 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                Thanks for the head's up H. Jfood just read, and enjoyed, the article. And he is one of the few that liked toby on TC.

                                                                                                                A lot of Americans need to "man up" on these items versus looking for excuses. Jfood was embarassed for all of us as he watched how the radio personality was a total a-hole, the complete arrogance and ignorance of the lunch ladies ("hey the first ingredient is chicken") and the complete downplay from almost everyone on not mentioning the priest (notice not one post here about the deaths).

                                                                                                                But we do not need Huntington, heck just go to almost any town. Jfood has been in many small towns in America. People seem so focussed on "Appalachia" that they are using that name as a smokescreen for the real issue. That was Main St everywhere, USA.

                                                                                                                Then we get the people who say we focus soooo much on body image. There is a high correlation to both ends of the bell curve. The ultra-skinny are JUST as bad as the ultra-fat. Jfood watched in horror as another show interviewed a 600 pound woman whose goal it was to gain weight to get to 1,000 pounds, the horror. Jfood also watches and shakes his head at the Anorexics that are pervasive in the Sunday NY Times Fashion pages.

                                                                                                                Our reasonings range from cost, to time, to the kids want it, to parental ineptitude, to single parenting, to chilhood pregnancy, etc. Some of these are absolutely correct, while others are just lame excuses. Plenty of time to cook a frozen pizza or a family sized stouffer frozen lasagne, not enough time to roast a chicken and a baked potato, huh?

                                                                                                                Jfood truly hopes that that this show sparks something more than a re-do of 1776. In a way he wishes the host was some guy/gal from Chicago versus UK, so the US versus them syndrome was off the table. But the point needs to be made. Americans, by and large, have no idea about diet and health.

                                                                                                                The key quote that jfood will bring up..."This is the first generation that will not live as long as their parents." And that statement would be even more harsh without the positive extension of lives from increase medicine to assist in many of these diseases. We are killing our kids with many of these foods and it needs to stop, and we need to do it together versus taking the ostrich approach.

                                                                                                                Now off the soap box and into the kitchen for a cup of coffee.


                                                                                                                1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                  We started watching the show because my husband is from the Huntington, WV, area, and he thinks the JO is doing a great job of portraying the area. He recognizes a lot of the attitudes and viewpoints as similar to those of his family and other people he grew up with. That said, I'm not from Appalachia, and I recognized a lot of those attitudes too. Those awful processed food school lunches are pervasive all over the country, not just in Appalachia. I went to elementary school in Florida 20 years ago and we ate with sporks, and had chocolate milk every day.

                                                                                                                  I think it's very strange that people - on the show, and on this thread, don't like that JO is from the UK, coming over here to tell us what to feed our kids. He's done shows like this in Britain already, pointing out that British schoolkids are not fed good food either. He's not imperialist or something, coming over to tell us how great a job the UK does at everything, I don't know where people get that.

                                                                                                                  1. re: DoubleBaconVeggieBurger

                                                                                                                    I am living in South Central PA and have "in-laws" who have just moved back here from WV and I agree this is most definitely an accurate depiction of the attitudes and viewpoints. I teach at a high school and am appalled at some of the practices I see in the cafeteria not only from the the students but from the teachers. When I (rarely) go to buy a plastic bottle (ugh) of milk, I am hard pressed to find the plain skim milk I am looking for. It turns out to be some EXTREME VANILLA flavor full of sugar. The school also allows students to fundraise during school by letting students sell candy from large cardboard boxes. The offices have bake sales DURING THE SCHOOL DAY for different charities. I hope that JO can truly start a revolution because I am saddened by everything I see around me.

                                                                                                                    I am working hard to reach a goal weight not in the obese range that came from many year of miseducation. My whole family has completely changed their eating habits from my childhood. My sister, who once ate nothing but chicken (usually nuggets), buttered pasta and carrot sticks, is now an ovo-lacto vegetarian. I am amazed everytime I retry a food as a child that I disliked that I now love.

                                                                                                                    I hope something works because it is so hard to think of so many people having to go through health issues do to diet. My students think that just because they have a good metablolism and are not fat that they can/should eat trashy foods. I know many people who did not have weight issues, who later in life had ehart disease due to poor diet. I hope JO can get through to some more people.

                                                                                                                    1. re: melpy

                                                                                                                      Good luck to you melpy. Changing your mindset and attitude HAS to make a big difference.

                                                                                                                2. re: Harters

                                                                                                                  Jamie Oliver is too friendly and genuine for the role of snarky Brit. Maybe the whole project would be more effective if Simon Cowell were delivering the message

                                                                                                                  1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                                    Indeed, and I've always had the impression from his TV shows that he really wants to be liked. He genuinely managed to inspire some people on his Ministry of Food programme in the UK and he paid for a single mum who'd become passionate about food to go to catering college.

                                                                                                                3. Next to the ghastly chicken nugget experiment, I was most disturbed by the kids not being able to identify a single vegetable. Really? Not even a potato?

                                                                                                                  And heartened by the school principal taking on showing the little pip squeeks how to use a fork and knife. I came from a very rigid (British) table manners regime, but I'm glad I know how to use cutlery now.

                                                                                                                  1. I would also like to add that the demise of cookery lessons at schools must also be a contributing factor. I did have lessons at school but my mum was and still is a good cook and we all learned to cook at home too. My kids did not have lessons at school but the kitchen was the hub and I taught them basics like roasting meats, making a white sauce, even had them cooking eggs from aged 4 or 5.

                                                                                                                    cooking is NOT getting something out the freezer in a box, tearing off the plastic wrap and setting the oven to 350 for 40 minutes. It's getting separate ingredients together and turning them into something tasty and nutritious. Like someone else said roasting a chicken and a baked potato is only a little more work than putting a Stouffers mac n cheese in the oven. But doing the dishes IS more work and people have to be willing to set a table and sit round it, cleaning up afterwards not just throwing a brown plastic heatproof box into the trash.

                                                                                                                    1. I'm sure it's a combination of things, and that everyone has an opinion as to what "it" is that has caused this problem. Is it parents? TV and the loss of the "family" dining table? Video games?

                                                                                                                      Personally, I think the #1 common denominator is the lack of activity our now convenience-based lifestyles allow. Yes, all the other things are tempting and problems (proliferation of fast food, etc.) but our grandparents and great-grands didn't exactly eat like Michael Pollan, but they mostly lived to quite a ripe age and were able to live on their own throughout their whole lives. What's the diffence? No mini-vans to drive-through. Gym class was standard in all schools, and mandatory. Activity to live was required - whether it was farm chores or help with dinner prep or indoor chores or walking to and from school or the fact that your parents wouldn't allow you to "lollygag about" and would make you get out there and do something, rain, snow or sun, the whole concept of an active lifestyle is just completely gone now. Kids have to be driven or bused to school as it's no longer "safe" for them to walk because of kidnappers and pedophiles. There is no more gym class. To participate in sports, you have to have money, because the parents now have to buy uniforms and equipment. Chores at home are either completely ignored or handled by Mom (typically). There is no "help" in fixing dinner because Mom is too tired to cook so she drives everyone through a fast food place. And on and on. I think you could probably eat fast food every day and be relatively healthy if you were active. Yes, you'd be missing out on some key nutrients and vitamins, but your arteries would be clearer and your risk of diabetes would be lower. We have just come to a virtual standstill as a society.

                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                      1. re: rockandroller1

                                                                                                                        I agree with this 100%.

                                                                                                                        I saw a great example of how this impacts more things than you would imagine. I work in the head quarters of a very large retail chain, last week I was on the road visiting some stores and I was struck by how unmotivated the younger workers were. Granted we aren’t talking about awesome high paying jobs here, but they are full time with benefits etc. in a troubling time. Even when given a task, there was absolutely no sense of urgency to get it done. This presents major management issues as the manager has to constantly be the “#$%^&*” here and ride them to get even the simple tasks completed in a timely manner. 30 years ago, when your boss told you to move XYZ from the back room to the cooler or the shelves, you did it, no questions asked.

                                                                                                                        Lazy and no respect for authority……..

                                                                                                                      2. At the end of the day I don’t care how the show was promoted, I don’t care that some people think it is over the top and a blatant example of advocacy journalism etc.

                                                                                                                        All I know is that in the past 20 years more kids have turned into obese, lazy, unmotivated young adults than I can ever remember. I am 34 now, and thinking back to the 1980’s when I grew up, we had the typical lunch menu in grammar school……..pasta with meat sauce, pizza on Fridays, nuggets, fish sticks, tacos, hamburgers, hot dogs etc.

                                                                                                                        My parents would pack me a bagged lunch and hand me a quarter so I could buy milk, which was fine with me as the girl I had a crush on also bought milk everyday, but I digress, my parents would allow me to eat one “hot” lunch per week from the school and I had to pick the one I wanted.

                                                                                                                        In high school we had very good food and we were able to head off campus for lunch as well so it all worked out.

                                                                                                                        One of the largest issues for schools today is budget………..how do you serve fresh food to kids when we are laying off teachers left and right, cutting phys ed, art, music etc. programs from many schools? It is real long uphill battle for this movement.

                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: River19

                                                                                                                          I saw the first part, but not the second. I think he means well.Around here the San Antonio area too has a problem with diabetes and overweight,especially amongst many hispanics. As someone posted, it's a problem all over the country with public school lunches,as I know little about private schools.
                                                                                                                          Sure schools do cut programs,though one you won't see cut is athletics,as shown in the tv show,Friday Night Lights,sports,especially football is king here.
                                                                                                                          Years ago I think many school districts made lunchs from recipes with fresh foods.Don't recall as a kid in the 1960s an 70s having pizza at school, though it's possible.Don't remember any soda at school or any of that other stuff either.
                                                                                                                          The only time we ate fast food was if we went to Sears on S.W.Military or someplace, and stopped to get a hamburger or sandwich some where.Once in awhile we would by fried chicken from Youngbloods on Broadway,down near the Witte Museum. Boy was it good, better than KFC for sure.
                                                                                                                          Momma and daddy both cooked.Momma even made her own bread from scratch once in awhile.They didn't feed us a steady diet of junkfood.
                                                                                                                          We kids were always outside and playing or doing something.
                                                                                                                          In the district i work for, they have a vocational agriculture class.Despite the growth of businesses and houses around here, there still are family farms.
                                                                                                                          That's something the kids could do. Have kids learn how to grow fresh veggies for their school.This would get the kids active.2. They would learn about botany and biology,about insects coming to chomp on your tomatoes,how plants grow,etc.3. they would learn about proper nutrition and health.
                                                                                                                          maybe even get the parents invovled in this.
                                                                                                                          Whatever happens, any change will take time.

                                                                                                                          1. re: River19

                                                                                                                            I can't speak for the other 49 states, but in North Carolina the public school cafeterias are financially independent. They are funded by the federal lunch program and by meal and a la carte purchases, and are responsible for balancing their own budgets. Schools cannot cut cafeteria budgets and use the money "saved" for other school expenses. That said, cafeterias are still working on shoe string budgets, and truly don't have enough money to provide fresh food that meets federal requirements, especially not with the equipment and personnel typically on hand.

                                                                                                                            1. I read an article on this show several weeks ago. Apparently JO had such a negative reaction from the adults in this town that he pulled the show out before finishing the series. Maybe it was just speculation but I was sure there were only a few episodes taped and then they shut it down.

                                                                                                                              anyone else hear that?

                                                                                                                              1. I enjoyed watching the show-nothing surprised me about the residents of this West Virginia town.
                                                                                                                                I grew up in the Bronx in the 1950's and 1960's.
                                                                                                                                In Junior High School we had to take Food Preparation and Cooking.
                                                                                                                                The classes influenced me to become an Home Economist with a minor in Elementary School teaching.
                                                                                                                                Unfortunately ,the public schools have eliminated classes in food preparation, sewing, etc.
                                                                                                                                These classes were mandatory for all students. The classes should be returned and taught by Home Economists and not combined with physical education.

                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                1. re: jpr54_1

                                                                                                                                  I'm with you on the wishful thinking of the "Home Ec" classes. These classes teach kids basic skills--like how to deal with cooking and mending clothing when you are out of college and living on your own. I can tell you that the high school in NJ my kids went to have a "life skills" elective. It was great and all three of my kids took it (little push from mom) because they need to learn these things.

                                                                                                                                  If they ever did make home ec/life skills mandatory I would suggest learning how to use a a fork, a spoon and a knife properly. I would throw out the spork forever.

                                                                                                                                  I'm feeling worse and worse for Mr. Oliver.

                                                                                                                                2. Within the last season or two, the show "Wifeswap" had an episode wherein everyone in a (midwestern, I think) family was morbidly obese. The fit, health-conscious visiting wife had a very hard time trying to get the father, who was probably in his late 30's, to believe that the family's diet and weight were damaging their health. He was quite hostile, maintained that there's nothing wrong with junk food, and seemed to think she was lying to them. She got them to see a physician; the results of the examinations and tests finally got through to the father, and some changes were made. Of course, one doesn't know how much of the story was crafted through editing, nor if the family permanently changed their habits. I would not have thought it possible that the adults in this family honestly had no clue that they were hurting themselves and their children. Plenty of us are overweight and although we may fail in our attempts to diet, we are at least aware that obesity is harmful.

                                                                                                                                  10 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                                                    With all the hype/controversy about healthcare in this country I get very fired up about paying for the high health costs of people who do horrible things to their bodies. Eating nothing but pure processed crap 24/7 and taking in nothing but sugary sweet drinks etc. puts people into seriously high health care needs and frankly if it is on my friggin’ dime, then I would hope there are some changes.

                                                                                                                                    That is about as political as I would want to touch on here, but seriously, you have a government program that condones, if not requires schools to feed this crap to kids and then they wonder why so many people need meds to balance their systems out…………good grief.

                                                                                                                                    Here’s an idea, go outside and play, run around, get into some trouble or something, at least you’ll get some exercise, won’t be eating crap while running around and then when you get home it would be awesome if Mom or Dad were banging out an actual meal. Our parents never had a problem doing it, there wasn’t a lazy alternative, heck we didn’t get a microwave until the late 1980s………I was already 10-11 years old at that point, I evidently wasn’t starving.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: River19

                                                                                                                                      Here is a thought: If gov't really thinks this is an important issue maybe they should do something about it. I live in British Columbia Canada and up here they passed a law prohibiting school cafeterias from selling more than a certain percentage of the 'rarely' foods. They had nutritionists compile a list of 'every day', 'sometimes' and 'rarely foods' and then they determined how much was allowed to be sold at the schools. Most pop machines now contain mostly water, fruit juices and milk. Yes, there are still schools that break the rules and enforcement is a bit lax but there is definitely a healthier shift. My daughter can still buy french fries at school but most of her choices are sandwiches, salads, sushi and wraps.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: River19


                                                                                                                                        Growing up in the 60's - after school grab a broom handle and a spalding high bounce and go play stickball til dark, run around and have fun
                                                                                                                                        Growing up today - after school grab a controller and play ninetendo or go on facebook, both sit on your butts


                                                                                                                                        1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                          ...or..get on our bikes and ride to the library to do some homework. Ride on our bikes to the store to help mom with some chores. When my kids were younger (mid 90's) we lived in NYC. After homework was done we would head to the playground...they would run around--get all that excess energy out of their systems..come home and read while I made real food for dinner..then went to bed sans video games. I'm with you!

                                                                                                                                          1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                            I'm in complete agreement, jfood, as is obvious from my post upthread, but as a new mother, I would say, "what's a mother to do?" You literally cannot just let your kid run around alone anymore. People call DCFS on you for that in some neighborhoods, for real. Perceived or real, people feel there are huge amounts of dangers for kids "running around" and doing whatever, and it is very discouraged to let your kids go anywhere unsupervised. Like it or not, parents have things they have to get done, they can't spend 4 out of 5 weeknights hanging out at a park watching kids play or taking them somewhere to swim or going to a playdate for several hours. So what's the answer? I don't know. I feel like my choices, when my baby gets old enough to play, are be perceived as a "bad mother" for letting my kid go around and play or ride his bike where he wants, possibly risking people not wanting their kid to hang out with my kid, or, at worst, having DCFS called on me, or completely sacrficing getting anything done like paying the bills or cleaning or cooking for the week because I have to spend all my free time carting my child around and "supervising" what they're doing.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                              Kick the Can (played well after summer's dark because you couldn't SEE the darn thing, which made it even more fun!)

                                                                                                                                              1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                jfood.........et al You’re making my point…………or vise versa……….either way, get this kids out of the house and doing something active……

                                                                                                                                                I remember my friend’s grandfather yelling at us when it was a beautiful day out and we would be inside with the original Nintendo or Sega or something (it wasn’t mine I don’t remember) and he would say “Jeebus, it’s a beautiful day out….go out and do something, ANYTHING, even if it is wrong, just do something……”

                                                                                                                                                Most kids could use to hear that everyday……….

                                                                                                                                                I like the Canadian approach mentioned, and that should at least be the bare minimum. We didn’t have soda machines in the school. We had a Veryfine Juice machine and Gatorade……..sure you could score a soda in the café in high school, but we could also go to a sub shop and do the same thing during school hours.

                                                                                                                                                Overall, I don’t think the schools should be 100% responsible here, I think their role is to get away from the blatant condoning of this type of “food” as “food” (does that make sense). The parents are the ones that need to step up and realize that “wait a minute I have a 180lb 5th grader, a 150lb 2nd grader” etc. and make the change as best they can.

                                                                                                                                                I understand the whole argument about how expensive it is to eat fresh food all the time…………trust me I pay the bills, I know. But it doesn’t cost a fortune to bang out a cube steak, roasted potatoes and canned corn either……….I’m just saying…..the first step is “real” food not necessarily going “Whole Foods” on these folks……..

                                                                                                                                                1. re: River19

                                                                                                                                                  "Overall, I don’t think the schools should be 100% responsible here, I think their role is to get away from the blatant condoning of this type of “food” as “food” (does that make sense). The parents are the ones that need to step up and realize that “wait a minute I have a 180lb 5th grader, a 150lb 2nd grader” etc. and make the change as best they can."
                                                                                                                                                  Absolutely agree. And that is, I believe, what Jamie Oliver is trying to do. He's involving the kids, the parents, and the teachers and school officials in trying to make the RIGHT food and drink choices, and trying to figure out a way how to do it within budget and under some stupid USDA guidelines. (Requiring bread when Jamie already had brown rice just seems stupid to me!)

                                                                                                                                                  Yes, the parents are somewhat at fault as well. But by trying to get them to realize what the marketing giants have done to their kids (i.e., this generation will be the first to have many living a shorter lifespan than their parents), just maybe he can at least make a little leeway in the processed foods insanity that seems to have taken over.

                                                                                                                                                2. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                  Heck... we did that growing up in the 90's. My best friend lived a good 1/2 mile away, and I was allowed to walk to her house by myself as early as 5th grade. I fondly remember the day our moms conferred and decided that as rising 7th graders we were old enough to ride our bikes by ourselves to the mall 1.5 miles away. We proceeded to ride to the K&W cafeteria for pie every Friday after school for the next 2 years. Sadly though, rockandroller is right - I have a coworker who won't let his 14 and 15 year old kids catch the bus to school in the front yard b/c they might get kidnapped.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: mpjmph

                                                                                                                                                    When I grew up on Long Island (I'm 60), I never rode a school bus because I lived less than a mile from school - that was the cut-off. From K to 6th, it was a 15-minute walk, and I came home for lunch (it must have been an hour break) most days. We walked in groups of 2-3 or more. Jr/sr high school was a 10 minute walk and we were not allowed to leave school so I mostly brought lunch, sometimes bought. I really don't recall what they served.

                                                                                                                                                    I now live in a Boston suburb where kids are bused regardless of distance if there are no sidewalks, as is often the case. Instead of the few centralized pickup/drop-off points that the bused kids had when I was growing up, my neighbor's kids are ferried to and from their own driveways if they live on major side roads, to the nearest corner if on side streets. Even without PE class in schools, there would be sufficient daily exercise if students had to walk 10 minutes to catch the bus. Parents who don't think the children are safe enough walking in groups could volunteer to walk along with them. Where I delivered mail, there was a 60-house subdivision off a main route. There was only one road leading into it, and the bus stop was at the mouth of that road. I can't tell you how many cars waited there to pick up the kids so they didn't have to walk 10 minutes through what is a VERY nice, safe neighborhood. The kids had less street smarts than their dogs. I once came terrifyingly close to hitting two middle-schoolers on bikes as I was pulling away from the mailbox, and approaching theirs. They came from around a corner behind the mail truck, then turned sharply right, into their driveway, in the path of the truck. These were latchkey kids of a single working mother. The next time I saw that she was home, I went up to the house to tell her what had happened. Instead of something like "Oh my Lord, thank you for telling me, I'll make sure to give them a lecture!", I got a laid-back, "Thanks - I'll mention it to them". Somehow I doubt that she does a lot of scratch cooking.

                                                                                                                                            2. Is he a little over the top? Of course. But I've been advocating for change at our kid's schools for years, and I'm simply amazed by the lack of interest. And it's not just the food in the cafeteria... it's teachers that use candy as rewards, birthday treats and other classroom celebrations. I feel like the lessons I try to teach at home are being sabotaged the minute my kids walk out the door. It's very tough for young kids to practice this kind of self-control. It would be nice if more schools put into place the rules we had when I was a kid... No pop, no candy, etc. Not sure when all that changed?

                                                                                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                                                                                              1. re: Bluenickel

                                                                                                                                                The changes were slow, and I think they started in the mid-90's... I started kindergarten in 1987, graduated from high school in 2000. I remember having occasional treats at school around holidays. Birthday cake was for birthday parties on weekends, not the classroom. Sometime around 3rd or 4th grade the cafeteria started selling more a la carte snacks/treats, but we had to show the teacher that we'd finished our lunch before we could eat the treats. In high school we had more freedom, but the options were still limited - standard lunch line or pizza at $2/slice. There were vending machines, but they only sold juice. There was also a concession stand style booth run by the PTA that sold candy bars at lunch time and after school. We were not allowed to have food or drink in class. Period. Soon after I graduated, the district signed a contract with PepsiCo - I stopped by to visit a teacher while I was home from college and there was a Pepsi vending machine in the hallway and the school had lifted the food/beverage in class restriction.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Bluenickel

                                                                                                                                                  It started when I was in HS in the early '90s. We got our first snack/drink machine sometime in there and there were no ice cream lines or "snack" lines with burgers/fries every day. We had the pizza line for $1.50 a slice and it was rare that anyone would order more than one slice. I don't think the cafeteria served coke either. When I was teaching 5-8 years ago, I saw kids ordering huge 16oz cups of soft serve for lunch.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: queencru

                                                                                                                                                    When I was in high school, Coca Cola did a market test of Surge at my school. There were Surge-only vending machines. Surge was 25¢, regular soda was around 75¢, and water was a dollar. I bought Surge all the time between classes, would drink maybe a third of it, and then would throw it away. This was around 1999. I still can't believe the school allowed this market test to go on. It's one thing to make it available, but it's another thing to practically give it away and make it accessible throughout the day.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: megmosa

                                                                                                                                                      That reminds me of a Daria episode that aired sometime around then about a similar topic. Obviously if it made it onto a cartoon, it had to be a big issue in most schools. I think our one coke machine had cans only and wasn't open during lunch. When I did my teaching internship in 2003 there were so many vending machines throughout campus it was ridiculous. 2-3 candy machines, an ice cream machine, a few snack machines and a few drink machines.

                                                                                                                                                2. Isn't it great that the U.S. Department of Agriculture can play both sides against the middle, and not be torched for it's ineptitude? Nameless, faceless bureaucrats earning embarrasing salaries, allowing the federal school (breakfast) lunch program to be filled with garbage foods.

                                                                                                                                                  Daddy schooled ME: "There's no such thing as a grass roots problem--any problem begins at the top."

                                                                                                                                                  1. Looks like the kids have spoken ... and it ain't "I love Jaime!"


                                                                                                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                                      From what I remember of being a child..........it wasn't much of a democracy.......I don't believe my vote carried much weight with anyone.........I tried, but I believe we had things like adults who knew better etc.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                                        jfood agrees w River19 up to the "knew better" comment. This needs to be a 2-prong approach. parents needs training as well.

                                                                                                                                                        Jfood thinks Apple had a similar "next generation" concept, market the younger generation and once they come on board the long term plan is secure.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                          jfood, I agree - When I grew up (not that long ago…..1980s) the adults seemed to have their "stuff" together when it came to raising children, things like discipline, accountability, work ethic and values, consequences for our actions the whole nine yards. Oh, and both my parents worked and still managed to cook a meal from scratch every night. Sure did we have the occasional Kraft mac and cheese, sure, but it was a “special” night for me to indulge in a portion of that.

                                                                                                                                                          Like I said in an earlier post, once there has been some level of education around nutrition there really aren’t many legitimate excuses for still eating processed crap. We aren’t talking about a family going from processed crap and the McDs dollar menu to a Whole foods all organic diet here…………I think from a nutrition standpoint some super market proteins, canned veggies and taters can be bought on the cheap.

                                                                                                                                                        2. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                                          AHhhhhhh...the children speak. Yes. THAT is part of the problem. I remember the good old days. The days in which when I was a child during the 60's and '70's we listened to our parents and followed their leadership. Did we LIKE everything that was cooked for us? No. I can remember groaning over lima beans, but I realized that if I wanted to go out to play, I had better eat them--and over the years I realized more and more that the food my mother prepared for the family was actually ORGANIC!!! My word!! Back then we didn't even have a word for fresh food made without hormones etc.........!!!
                                                                                                                                                          The problem today really lies within lazy parents. Two income home is no reason to be lazy about what your child eats. Make the time to prepare good food. I'm shocked and saddened by this news. Someone like J.O., tries desparately to help and is shunned

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                                            Something I'd like to point out from this article - the last two paragraphs:
                                                                                                                                                            But Marion Nestle, who teaches nutritional studies and public health at New York University, says that kind of thinking will never work. Change depends on the commitment of adults, not children.

                                                                                                                                                            "I don't care whether they like pizza or not," says Nestle, who writes the blog Food Politics. "It's not up to them to decide. It's up to the adults to decide. It's one of the things about being a kid: Too bad for you."
                                                                                                                                                            The ADULTS should be making the final decisions. Which is why Jamie's point of getting parents and teachers and teachers involved is a GOOD thing.

                                                                                                                                                          2. It is interesting that everyone jumped on the defensive to defend Jamie Oliver's message. I havbe no problems with the message. The problem is the delivery. Whenever anyone jumps in one's face screaming: "You're wrong you worthless ignorant people." Not much is being accomplished.

                                                                                                                                                            While I appreciate the pragmatism of trying to bring understanding and resolution to a situation in a short time period such as in a reality show, life is not a reality show. If the producers and Jamie Oliver were sincere, and I believe they are, they need to have thought this out more carefully and gone about their tasks in a more meaningful and long term manner. The longstanding prejudices about food did not get that way overnight, changing the nation's perception about food won't get there because of a loud English prat is screaming at lunch ladies and kids about how stupid they are.

                                                                                                                                                            I think in the long run, this show has done more bad: stiffened resolve for the wrong reasons, than good:showing people just how bad our accepted school lunch diets have become.

                                                                                                                                                            18 Replies
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                              This is a good point. I agree 100% with the message, but I also think the delivery was more “TV-ified” than anything. I believe he really means well, but I also think that he had to know there was a good chance he was going to piss people off and not be able to win them over.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                jfood thinks that is the other problem, we coddle too much. "Oh Johnnie, please do not stick a knife in your sister." What ever happened to discipline and parenting? People giving children a vote, sorry, children are taught not teach in certain aspects, eating and food choice is one of them. Don't want what is served for dinner, sorry sweetie, that's what we're having.

                                                                                                                                                                Granted the message may be harsh, jfood disagrees, but these parents need to smarten up and then grow a set.

                                                                                                                                                                Rant 2.0 finished.


                                                                                                                                                                1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                                  And the older generation has been saying this exact same thing about the following one since ancient Greece. Funny how THAT never changes.

                                                                                                                                                                  The quality of food, OTOH...

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                                    Not in Casa Jfood growing up. Spankings were fine, going to bed without dinner was fine and not being given an award unless you won was acceptable. Now the kids have more say in things than the adults. Not sure that was the case in previous generations.


                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                                      That's what generations and generations before you said about following generation (of course, most certainly not YOUR kids is my guess).

                                                                                                                                                                      I don't believe in spanking or going to bed without dinner, but I believe that each generation feels that THEY were the last great/good/better one.

                                                                                                                                                                      Also see --> Plato.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                                        jfood does not believe in spanking either for the record, but he sure as heck did not let the little jfoods make decisions that parents need to make. His other nicknames are "The Bulldog" and "Dr No."

                                                                                                                                                                        interesting in that jfood was about to eat his dinner of pasta and sausage last night. little jfood gave him quite a lecture on size, cholesteral, fat, healthy eating and all sorts of other eating tips.

                                                                                                                                                                        Jfood was never so happy scraping half his plate of food into a Glad container.

                                                                                                                                                                        "The learning and knowledge that we have, is, at the most, but little compared with that of which we are ignorant"


                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                                    LOL and this post is just one of the reasons i adore you Jfood! It seems on this show so far the parents need to be educated about nutrition as much as the kids...

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                                      "People giving children a vote, sorry, children are taught not teach in certain aspects, eating and food choice is one of them. Don't want what is served for dinner, sorry sweetie, that's what we're having. "

                                                                                                                                                                      Thank you. As a child, we might have been able to make *suggestions* as to what we might like for dinner one night during the week, but it was never a demand. Yeah. Demanding something for dinner went over REALLY well. Not.

                                                                                                                                                                      What was made was what was eaten. You didn't want it, you didn't eat it. And you probably went to bed without supper. Sometimes a peanut butter sandwich could have been made, but more often than not, that wasn't allowed.

                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                      Even if this has absolutely no effect on the this town because of the delivery (I totally agree that the delivery is off), I think that it might have some effect in the towns and cities of the many, many viewers who are watching these shows. Perhaps at least a few will pay attention to what their kids are eating at school, and will be more conscious of trying to get their kids to broaden their food horizons at home. Sure, it probably won't be the worst-off households that will benefit, but any benefit is better than none, I guess.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                        I'm sorry, when did he scream at them or tell them they were stupid?

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: stet

                                                                                                                                                                          Yeah, that never happened.

                                                                                                                                                                          I think anytime you have one outsider coming in to tell people they need help with something as personal as raising their children and feeding themselves, there are going to be problems.

                                                                                                                                                                          I think it's good when he makes statements like, "It's not just here, it's everywhere...It's in the US, it's a problem in the UK, Canada, China, Mexico, and a lot of other places too." Statements like these make it seem like this town in WV has a role to play in coming up with a solution to a problem affecting people all over the world, and less like they are the problem.

                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                          Phaedrus, you know I enjoy your posts, but this part of your post is hyperbole and entirely untrue: "...changing the nation's perception about food won't get there because of a loud English prat is screaming at lunch ladies and kids about how stupid they are. "

                                                                                                                                                                          He's loud? No more so than so many others on TV or IRL. Screaming at the lunch cooks? Can't recall that happening. Screaming at the kids telling them they're stupid? Ummm. No. He didn't.

                                                                                                                                                                          Sometimes one has to speak up to be heard. So if that requires a Brit to come and try and impart some first-hand knowledge of what we're feeding our children isn't healthy for them, more power to him.

                                                                                                                                                                          No, life's not a reality show. But if this show does something - ANYTHING - to get people and parents thinking "wait - is that going on in *my* child's school? I don't want them eating that way!" then I have no problem with a loud Brit stating his case in trying to help get kids to eat more healthily.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                            Cahnge happens in the long term, and by the postings going on in this thread, awareness is soemthing that is happening already, with or without Jamie Oliver. Michael Pollan and others have already started a movement towards sane food choices and away from processed foods. All I see jamie Oliver doing is stepping in front of a parade and pretend he is leading it, particularly with the way this show was structured. If he wants to show a long term commitment to Appalachia like he did with the at-risk youth in his restaurant, I think everyone would welcome it. But I see this exercise as parachuting in and bailing after he's had his 15 minutes.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                              But how many people did Pollan reach vs. what Jamie Oliver is doing? Pollan was more preaching to the choir, don't you think?

                                                                                                                                                                              At least Oliver is getting the word out there to the general public via a medium that is capable of distributing it to the widest possible audience, and in a way that gets people thinking. I won't fault him for that.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                I see Pollan as doing some pretty pioneering work and thinking. I am not sure about how Jamie Oliver will be perceived. The sampling amongst CHers are pretty overwhelmingly positive, but isn't this audience also part of the choir? I think he could have had much more of an impact if he tried to do something more long term and experimental rather than going for the instant gratification.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                                  #1. We don't *know* that it won't turn into something long-term, do we? If it were for the purpose of instant gratification only, he would have ceased doing anything after doing the same thing in England and would be onto the "next big moneymaker idea", right?

                                                                                                                                                                                  #2. As gastrotect said below, the people Jamie Oliver is targeting are those that probably have no clue as to who Michael Pollan is or what he has written. So while the work might be pioneering, if he's only preaching to the choir ('hounds and other food-related industry people), how does that help the everyday American?

                                                                                                                                                                                  #3. If it doesn't work in Huntington, there is still a good chance that that average American viewer who *is* watching "Food Revolution" will realize "Hey - that's us, too - what can *we* do about it?" and they will do something within their own communities or school systems.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Baby steps. And if those baby steps are taken because of a chef who's appeared on TV to try and get a message across, so be it, IMO. And good for him.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                                    I see Pollan as an ivory tower thinker who can turn people off with his superior than thou tone. I see Oliver as a person who knows how to reach people.

                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                                  I would be willing to bet the majority of the people Jamie's show is geared towards have exactly zero clue who Michael Pollan is. Hell, my mom has been as health-food conscience as someone can be for decades and she doesn't know who he is. I don't think awareness is so widespread yet. I also don't see what Jamie is doing as so terrible. It's possible that while Huntington resists him, other folks watching will pick up the message and ask questions of their local schools. I have to admit your intense reaction baffles me a bit. I understand that he may seem condescending in his approach, but there is a good message there regardless and it may reach people elsewhere.

                                                                                                                                                                            2. I really am surprised anyone could be against this show and JO. As a mother and a teacher I was appalled by what these kids were eating. I'm glad they're not just focusing on the school lunches, because the problem is in the home as well. The lack of nutrition is a huge issue especially in poorer communites where healthy food is often not even an option, see the below article.


                                                                                                                                                                              I work in one of the poorest neighborhoods in the poorest zipcode in NYC and have found that my kids are really happy to try new things if you make them a part of the process. My first year teaching I was surprised when I realized my kids would prefer to eat my fresh fruit salad than have candy.
                                                                                                                                                                              When I did a unit on nutrition with my 4th graders I found many had never tried fresh berries. I brought in breakfast for 3 classes and they devoured granola, yogurt and fruit salad all things they had never had!

                                                                                                                                                                              When I saw those kids not even able to identify fruits and vegetables that my 2 year old knows that should be a concern to all.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. More attention should be paid on getting kids to be more active while at school, rather than addressing the need to change the type/quality of food being served to kids in schools. Since school funding is usually tied to academic performance, PE and other extramural activities that kept kids active in the past have been reduced or cut our completely in order to devote more time to raising said scores (plus the budget cut issues as well). Therefore, it is not surprising that their is an obesity epidemic in America's classrooms, with kids being "forced" to sit all day in an artificially lit room, cramming for tests, only to be let out to go eat their crappy processed food. Sadly, many of the districts and schools fail to see how a more balanced and nutritious diet, coupled with a more active daily routine could actually enhance academic performance in kids.

                                                                                                                                                                                Rather than focus solely on the food component, JO, the First Lady, and everyone else should find ways to get the kids more active while changing their diets for the better. It is still possible to be obese eating a non-processed and/or strictly organic diet. The best way to maintain health and lose weight is through diet AND EXERCISE; until the lack of physical activity, at school and home in America's schoolchildren is addressed, JO is wasting his time.

                                                                                                                                                                                Note: I chose not to touch on the influences outside of school.

                                                                                                                                                                                21 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: gmk1322

                                                                                                                                                                                  While on one hand I agree with you and have myself been an advocate for getting kids out to play, you need to realize that in some neighborhoods (even at the school) this is not safe. There are school in this country with no library, or playground or indoor gym. Initially I was surprised at how little my kids go out to play, until I was around long enough to see that random shootings do happen and the parks weren't safe. In NYC physical education is becoming mandated, but not all school shave the ability to let the kids play more than once a week, and that's when the weather is good.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: SweetPea914

                                                                                                                                                                                    When my older son attended St. Ignatius Loyola on the Upper East Side (before the move to Riverdale and St. Margaret's), the kids went out every single day for thirty minutes of playtime. 83rd Street was blocked off and the kids went out on the street to play. Teachers AND us mothers had lunch duty. Prior to their playtime, the kids were in the cafeteria where they brown-bagged it--and I can tell you the nuns (yes--there were actually nuns:)) made sure those kids ate their lunches. It was a fond memory to see those kids running around like crazy and getting all that energy out of their systems.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: jarona

                                                                                                                                                                                      There has definitely been a shift away from activity outdoors. Whenever I drive by a school during "teaching hours" I rarely, if ever see kids outside running around. It pains me to see the big fields I remember at my old elementary school slowly being filled with portable classrooms.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: gmk1322

                                                                                                                                                                                        It's true--so true. I'm only hoping that when my own kids get married and have children they remember all the playing in the schoolyard/street to release energy that they did and the playground activity when we lived in Manhattan. I hope the boys remember all the baseball, basketball and soccer and my daughter never forgets all the activity she had with the many years of competing in Irish Dance. I hope they remember all the hot breakfasts, and healthy lunches and dinners at the table and pass all that onto their children.
                                                                                                                                                                                        I think the only way to learn is from routines and values passed down from generation to generation.
                                                                                                                                                                                        Look at what J.O. has done--he has made us all think--and that is such a wonderful start!

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: jarona

                                                                                                                                                                                          Agreed. We have had a lot of discussion at home about this topic and how we plan to do things for our baby.

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: jarona

                                                                                                                                                                                        jarona,we might have been neighbors at some point (83rd and York here). I also saw the same when I lived on 92/madison. However, the 5 mile trek up madison and over the bridge into the Bronx brings a world of difference.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: SweetPea914

                                                                                                                                                                                          Wow! My dad hoofed it as a cop on East 86th Street--back in the day--LOL!
                                                                                                                                                                                          I miss the city so much! Surprisingly though, the Riverdale section of the Bronx has some great schools--i.e. Horace Mann, and I'm sure the kids at THAT school are very well-fed! I think it would be great if JO made a trip to some inner-city areas as well as the rural WV places. We'll see...we'll see!

                                                                                                                                                                                      3. re: SweetPea914

                                                                                                                                                                                        Regardless of the line where we agree or disagree, changing the kids diet will accomplish nothing if there is no physical activity regimen in their day, they will still be obese in the end.

                                                                                                                                                                                        In the end, calories are calories, it doesn't really matter where you get them. If the kids are sedentary throughout their daily routine what is the difference between ingesting a 500 calorie organic meal vs. the 500 calorie processed meal? It is still possible to be obese and eat an all-natural, vegetarian, or vegan diet if one doesn't make BOTH the right food choices and maintain an appropriate physical activity regimen based on their eating habits or lifestyle. I am a huge proponent of having the less processed and more natural meals, I try my best to eat that way. I believe there are more long term benefits in a natural diet for the lifespan even though there really aren't any longitudinal studies I am aware of to corroborate my beliefs.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: gmk1322

                                                                                                                                                                                          gmk - I really don't follow your logic. I feel like you're saying there is no point in even introducing nutrition until kids are more active. In my opinion that's like saying there's no point in teaching science unless all the kids in all schools are up to grade level with their math standards. Yes, both subjects are connected, not necessarily mutually exclusive, but they are indeed 2 separate subjects that students need to be educated about.
                                                                                                                                                                                          AND there is a world of difference between between a 500 calorie salad or 500 calories from chicken nuggets and fries...

                                                                                                                                                                                      4. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                                                        I may have spoke a tad bluntly however when I said that JO is wasting his time. If he focuses solely on "fixing" this one meal then it is pointless. Change has to come at home, focus on all 3 meals, assessing the lifestyle, physical activity, and having access in the community to affordable, healthy food options. My analogy of what JO is trying to do is dig a hole at the bottom of a moving creek. You can only remove so much dirt before the creek washes away your progress and you are left with a shallow dimple, rather than a hole. No progress. Rather, one has to stop/divert the creek, drain the standing water, let the land dry, and then dig the hole to be successful.

                                                                                                                                                                                        To pose another question: Is it a right or a privledge to eat an all-natural or organic diet?

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: gmk1322

                                                                                                                                                                                          it is a privilege to eat an "all-natural or organic diet." Jfood does not and he does not think he is entitled to either.


                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: gmk1322

                                                                                                                                                                                          Oh come on. We've had "physical education" mandated in the schools for decades, clearly that doesn't work.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: jmckee

                                                                                                                                                                                            PE is no longer in many, many schools. There is no gym class, no recess.

                                                                                                                                                                                            From: http://www.webmd.com/baby/features/wh...

                                                                                                                                                                                            All over the country, teachers like Latham are introducing innovations which are virtually reinventing physical education, while many school administrators and public officials have all but declared war on PE. Fitness classes are disappearing from the nation's public schools at an alarming rate, done in by ever-tightening budgets and time constraints.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Only about half of students in grades K-12 have physical education classes every day, and only 29% of high school students do. And one in four kids have no PE during their school day at all, according to figures from the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE), the nation's largest professional organization for physical education teachers. In a report released last year, NASPE found that the vast majority of high school students have physical education for only one year between 9th and 12th grades.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: rockandroller1

                                                                                                                                                                                              If schools have to curtail costs, it makes perfect sense to cut back on phys ed and intramural sports. Students can learn teamwork and good "sportsmanship" via academic projects and competition, and they can get their exercise - if their parents make sure they are physically active - by walking or biking to school, playing outdoors, doing chores, or even just going up and down stairs. They can't learn art, foreign languages, musical instruments, or mechanical work without a teacher or skilled adult to guide them. Yet some school departments will cut these curricula before they'll trim their athletic budgets. In that respect, I consider phys ed to be the "junk food" of academia. Off to don my kevlar now.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                                                                                                                I think there's a place for all of them, that's all. We had all those classes plus PE and time for sports or other extracurriculars after school when I was a kid.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Parents are not physically active. PE at school, where it remains, is often the only activity a kid will get all day. I think school and education is very important but you can't do much with your smarts if you're dead from diabetes complications before you're 30. A girl on Jamie's show already has a toxic liver problem that may cause her to die within 5 years. It's just not correct to say that incorporating activity into a child's day is frivolous. Yes, more parents should do better, but they should do better at teaching them how to do a lot of things that they don't do.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: rockandroller1

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I never characterized physical activity as frivolous - of course it's important. My point is that there are ample opportunities for it outside of the school day, whether outdoors or in, if there's a legitimate safety concern outdoors. (horrible as they are, stranger child abductions are actually rare, and are mostly preventable if children travel and play in groups). If school disctricts can afford PE, arts, and practical skills training, that's ideal. If they can't, I disagree with giving PE first priority.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                                                                                                                    You're working from an urban/suburban mindset. Packs of kids are rare in rural areas. What you assert works in areas with a higher population, but doesn't work as well in rural areas.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Walking or biking to school is not really an choice in these areas. The schools are too far away with no bike paths, much less sidewalks. Ever have to bike through second growth forest? Or down a tar and gravel road?

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Using the schools administer sports makes more sense in rural as well. The kids are already in a known environment and fees to the parents are generally minimal.

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: greygarious

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Bike or walk to school? Many parents will not let their children do that any more for fear the child will not arrive at either home or the school. Parents are aware that there are predators out there and would perfer to deliver their child to school and pick him/her up afterwards for the peace of mind.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Play out doors? Not if they live in a neighborhood that is more urban or commerical than residential. And certainly not if the neighborhood is prone to crime, violence and drive-by shootings.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Things have changed pretty dramatically since many of us were kids. Things we took for granted and could do safely and that caused our parents little concern are not so safe any longer and not so doable.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I see your point about PE class, but I do remember learning quite a bit from my high school gym classes (grade school PE was fairly worthless - an opportunity for the boys to whip the ball at the girls in dodge ball). We learned the proper methods for weight lifting and strength training, I learned how to cross country ski, I took a self defense unit which was great, we had swimming units where we were taught different strokes, floating, breathing techniques, etc. It was very educational in retrospect. If the teachers are knowledgeable, PE can be an excellent way to teach kids about fitness techniques and proper form. I also think eliminating recess from elementary schools is a travesty.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                                                                                                                      'Amazing that those of us who managed to finish high school and go on to further education in the olden days had PE 4 times a week, and healthier meals at school with no vending machines and no chocolate or sweets allowed on the school grounds. Drinks at lunch was water and like it. We also learned French, the 3 R's, music, art, cookery, needlework and so on. And my old classmates are lawyers, teachers, doctors, nurses, journalists, etc etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      So how is it that schools can't do what we had?

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: jmckee

                                                                                                                                                                                                    >>"We've had "physical education" mandated in the schools for decades"<<

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Sorry, but that's simply incorrect.

                                                                                                                                                                                                3. I haven't watched the show yet, so maybe I don't have a right to comment, but after reading everyone's commentary, I have to weigh in.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Does Oliver have a noble mission? Indeed he does. Good nutrition, fresh food, and healthy bodies seem to be a hallmark of the elite these days. It's the poorest among us who are most poorly nourished mostly because their access to fresh food is so limited. It's not impossible for them to eat well, but they really do need to learn how. How can they afford fresh food? How can they prepare it quickly when they are working two and three jobs? It's all quite necessary.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  So Oliver sweeps in, a foreigner on a mission. He's disruptive to the regular routines. He may not mean to sound condescending or pompous, but it would be very hard to accept some stranger coming into town and telling you you're feeding your children incorrectly. He has his work cut out for him. Maybe he can win them over and maybe he can't.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  So all of this is televised. Once this happens, it's no longer just about Oliver on a mission. It's about good television. It's about drama. Now we are exposing the entire country to the conflict of "Rich British Chef vs. Fat Stubborn Locals". The location is one that other Americans have spent decades ridiculing. Oliver comes off as self-righteous and misguided. The people come off as ignornant and stubborn.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  My point is, why does this have to be a TV show? Why couldn't Oliver just choose a place to fix and do this thing without the cameras rolling? Wouldn't it be great if someone were going to start a program like Oliver is trying to start simply out of the kindness of his heart? No one is being ridiculed that way. Townspeople aren't made to look bad. It's actually about the program rather than the drama. You keep a little footage now and then to make a brief 1-hour documentary if the program succeeds. Heck, cut it even more and make it a "60 Minutes" segment. As long as we're making a big series about it, I start to wonder what the true motives of both Oliver and the producers are.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  21 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Avalondaughter

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Well he has plenty money already and he has done things similar to this on multiple occasion already, so it isn't just to bash America. I tend to believe this is an issue he is passionate about and he knows exposing a huge audience to it may be more beneficial than a 60 minutes segment or Food Inc. 2 (who saw Food Inc. other than people that already believed in its purpose?). He runs the risk of sounding condescending, but history would suggest he believes the issue deserves to have widespread awareness.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Avalondaughter


                                                                                                                                                                                                      Here's some food for thought:

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Do you think that JO and the crew just showed up and started filming. Don't you think that permission was required for bringing a film crew into the kitchen for the shoot

                                                                                                                                                                                                      So for every question you might have with why JO did this, those same questions probably can be asked of the town and the school.


                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Avalondaughter

                                                                                                                                                                                                        >>Why couldn't Oliver just choose a place to fix and do this thing without the cameras rolling?

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Hah. Excellent point.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        You, as well as I, know the answer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        If JO is still pushing this two years from today, I'll apologize to him.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: anonymouse1935

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I'm sure that will make him very, very happy. hahahaha.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: anonymouse1935

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Some evidence from the Royal Economic Society of the success of Oliver's campaign here in the UK.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Much as I might be cynical about some of his motives, I am not stupid enough to suggest that improving children's diet might bring out improved educational attentiveness and, in fact, attendance. Although interestingly , the study sems to indicate that the children from the poorest families had not seemed to improve but it was the "more middle class" ones who had. Evidence perhaps of much wider social issues at work here than the kids eating turkey twizzlers

                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Avalondaughter

                                                                                                                                                                                                            there's altruism and there's self interest disguised as altruism.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: smartie

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Which one ends up helping people more? (It's a trick question, because regardless of intent, people get helped!)

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: stet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I wasn't saying I am against what JO is doing, and I agree with others if it gets people talking and acting on our kids' diets then that's great. Here on CH I suspect this discussion is preaching to the converted to a great extent. But if this program gets the Government and counties dealing with their school lunches, vending machines and so on then again that's also great.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                It's short sighted to feed kids cheaply and badly because the health issues will come back to bite when the health care system (sic) is inundated with Diabetes, obesity, cardiac arrests, uncontrolled hypertension, bad backs and people on disability later on.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Why this needs prompting by a chef is crazy? What are our governments doing?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: smartie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  "...It's short sighted to feed kids cheaply and badly because the health issues will come back to bite when the health care system (sic) is inundated with Diabetes, obesity, cardiac arrests, uncontrolled hypertension, bad backs and people on disability later on..."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  There is no "Later."
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  That time is upon us now.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: smartie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Yup. Exactly, smartie. If JO's self interest lasts the rest of his life, I'll put it down to altruism.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                My bet is on a short shelf life.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                stet, altruism done quietly lasts a long time, self interest lasts only as long as the media, fickle darlings that they are, are interested.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Think so, linguafood? And here I didn't think he cared.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: anonymouse1935

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Piss in the proverbial punchbowl all you like --- as far as I'm concerned, the fact that thanks to this show we know that schools rely on french fries to meet their vegetable requirement is a powerful wake-up call for parents and other decision-makers. Your resolute animosity toward Mr. Oliver is immaterial.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    No, actually, it's my opinion.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I'm just not ready to canonize Mr. Oliver yet.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: anonymouse1935

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Consider that the issue is not Jamie Oliver. The issue is what we are doing to our children (and ourselves) with processed foods that have little in common with real food, virtual no nutritional value and tons of additives, fats and refined sugars.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I invite you to put your issue with JO aside and look at what he's pointing to regarding what we are doing to ourselves and our kids. Obesity is epidemic, children are developing diseases like hypertension and diabetes 2 that was once only the province of old people. I'm concerned and I'll bet if you think about, you are too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: anonymouse1935

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I don't think anybody here is recommending canonization. But just because somebody isn't a saint doesn't mean their ideas are bad or their efforts futile.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        People need to eat better. That's a message that should get spread however possible. Ad hominem attacks against the messenger - any messenger - are not only logically irrelevant, they're counterproductive.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Education begins at home. Very simple.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Adults can monitor their own food intake, and parents can monitor their children's food, both at home and in school.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Next the parents will be demanding that the schools teach their children manners and ...... oh, wait, that's right........

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Not to worry. This time next year, obesity won't be the flavor of the month.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: anonymouse1935

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            >>"Education begins at home. Very simple."<<

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Wrong. Education **should** begin at home. But sometimes it doesn't.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            If somebody isn't getting appropriate education at home, what should we do? Just throw them under the bus? I suppose that's one approach. Social Darwinism, and all. Just let the poor schmucks who don't know better die of disease instead of providing them healthcare, and the problem will eventually go away, right?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Fortunately most people don't think that way. It benefits all of us if education about issues that relate directly to health is readily available to everyone. Wherever it comes from, whoever it comes from, information that helps people make better decisions is a good thing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            And people need to make better decisions. Concern about obesity no more of a fad than concern about cholera. They're both issues that relate directly to peoples' health. The difference is that we've got a handle on cholera in most of the developed world. The obesity epidemic is already causing significant problems and it's rapidly getting worse.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: anonymouse1935

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Jfood does not think that anyone is advocating abdicating parental responsibilites and it begins at home and is supplemented and reinforced in schools.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              And given the obesity problem jfood would give the homeschooling on this issue an "F"
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              And given the manners jfood has seen in so many 20-somethings both in interviews, in restaurants and on these boards, jfood would give another "F"
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              And with the teenage pregnacy issue that is overwhelming society, yup another big old fat "F"
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Now onto the drug and alcohol abuse, sounds like this theory is 4 for 4 with another well deserved "F"
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Oh and the "teacher" for all of these wonderful items are parents who are experiencing an incredible spike in obesity...yeah looks like that home schooling theory is working out real well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              But jfood will agree with you on one point, next year's flavor of the month won't be obesity it will be Diabetes, amputation of limbs and death.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Jfood would rather have all the help this next generation can garner versus losing an entire generation.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                We've already lost at least most of a generation. This is a big deal. It's a National problem. It's a big health disaster and the only winner is Big Ag.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The parents we saw on the show aren't bad people. They aren't stupid and they love their children. But they are ignorant. They don't know what's healthy and what's not and, for the most part, they buy and serve garbage -- to themselves and their whole families. Or they don't have the money to afford the healthy stuff. Or they don't have the time to prepare it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Way too many people in this country don't bother to (or can't afford to -- or don't have the time to-- or don't have access to) healthy foods. So they buy the cheap processed junk that is available and can be unwrapped and thrown in the microwave.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                What we saw happening in those school kitchens is exactly what is happening in home kitchens.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Yes, we have to teach the children. But first we have to teach the parents. We have to make good and healthy food available and affordable. And we have to subsidize more than just corn and soybeans so that human beings in American can afford to eat food that doesn't contain antibiotics and hormones and HFCS.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I think this show is a good first step at awareness. But it's only a first step. What else do you see that could make a difference? The first thing that comes to mind is government regulation and then I think about my friends on the right who rant about government regulation and baby sitting and taking over our lives, but I don't see any other alternative. For me, this is not in the world of "every man (woman and child) for himself."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The biggest problem I saw in the show was how utterly acontextual it was. Nothing about how they/we got to this point. (Did the people of Huntington eat like this a generation or two ago? Did anyone?) But, talking about ag subsidies and the history of school lunch program doesn't make for quite the same teevee as dressing up as a giant pea and running around the playground.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: baltoellen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I guess you can't cover it all in an hour and television being television it's going for the visuals. And one TV series is not going to solve a problem that has been building for years and has a plethora of causes and as many complications.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    But it's a start. And to the degree that Americans (or at least the television-watching public) become aware of the problem -- and even that this is a problem -- and the impact of it, is the degree to which we have a fighting chance at doing something about that will make a difference.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The show actually points to the absurdities of the FDA school lunch requirements. It does that in one elementary and one high school in one city in one state.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    What we (and that really does mean you and me, who by dint of our participation on this board are people who really give a hoot about food) do with this is what's going to make the difference.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: anonymouse1935

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Jfood could not give a rat's behind what motivation JO or anyone else has. If ANYONE can help the obesity and eating habits of this generation then jfood bows to him.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        It is this negativity and finger pointing that has crept into the United States over the last 20 years is one of the major causes of all the crap we have. Oh we can;t do this and oh what's in it for him or we need to be told what to do. It appears that for many that the "we can be the best nation" and "we can reach for the moon" got swallowed with some chicken nuggets and french fries.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        As much as jfood disagrees with many of Obama's stuff at least he is challenging this country and Madame O is at least starting to talk about getting people off their keesters.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        But to some it is better to throw stones and criticize. Jfood is glad he has never been in that bucket.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Go get 'em JO!!!


                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. I've been watching the show, and I can see why people question JO's motives and methods. There will always be critics and nay sayers, even about supposed untouchables like Mother Theresa and Nelson Mandela. Had Martin Luther King not been assassinated and survived in to the future, I am sure someone would have written some kind of expose about his darker side.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I watched the section where JO is talking to the minister about his congregation. I was in tears. I am a physician, and I see the end stage results of these diseases. It isn't pretty. It was terrible watching the minister go through the list of church members, listing who had died and how young. How many of them left young children? One funeral a week in the winter. I can't imagine how he continues to minister there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Change has to occur on many levels, and you can't change everything at once. It takes all kinds of pressures to make real systemic change. One method may work for one aspect of the problem, but you need leaders at all levels of the system to dedicate themselves to change in order for it to happen. It takes all types, and you can't expect everyone to agree one one solution. Life doesn't work that way. There will always be compromise.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The key point for me is that something has to change. People are dying early, and worse, they are living a life where discrimination and poor self-worth dominate their days. Obese people are not popular. Too many people think the obesity is a fault of the person who is obese. Whether that is true or not, I really don't care. Being obese means a lifetime of judgment. It is not fun being the fat kid, the fat adult. I think the loneliness of some obese people might actually be worse than the early death. I am not obese, but I have always been slightly overweight. I remember every humiliating fat joke made at my expense. I even make fun of it myself in a bizarre self-defense mechanism, maybe if I make the joke first, they won't. It is much worse if you are actually obese.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    So I really don't care if he makes a lot of money from this, I don't care what his commitment level is. (well, maybe actually I do, but that is another story).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I'm just happy that there is yet another person shouting from the roof tops. The more people who start shouting, the better. Yell it out so everyone can hear. And if you happen to be a celebrity, and people pay attention just because you have a tv show and are famous, I don't care. Just get the message to as many people as you can. If he is doing it half-ass-backwards, and you don't like his method but agree with the message, then get off your butt and do it the right way. Fix his mistake. More yellers, more good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    YELL IT OUT. PEOPLE ARE SUFFERING AND DYING NEEDLESSLY. WE NEED TO MAKE A CHANGE.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Maybe it is just entertainment and business to him, who knows. But this is way better than watching a bunch of narcissists battling for immunity on a dessert island somewhere. At least there is a point.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    20 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: moh

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Amen brother. Jfood is with you 100%.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Very nice link jfood. I hope the walk for hunger on April 18 goes well!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: moh

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        moh and jfood...this former K-12 Director of Food Service is right there with you 100%, and with Jaime Oiver 100%. Who cares if Jaime Oliver and Ryan Seacrest make some money from the show if it gets people talking (and especially to their elected representatives) about what we eat, where it comes from and how it's prepared. It's always hard to be at the start of the shift in a paradigm. Discussion must happen and both sides must be able to air their POV. I'd say JO's program is working to some degree...look, there are 200+ posts to this topic. The point is to shine a light on the problem and not let it continue to hide in a dark corner where it can continue to fester and do no one any good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Interesting that 2 of the 3 major networks have prime time shows devoted to obesity and healthier habits (The Biggest Loser and JOs Food Revolution). It never would have happened 10 years ago.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I can't help myself, but I love the Biggest Loser. A part of me worries that it's exploitative and I shouldn't be watching, but I'm always amazed by the "transformation" moments at the end of every show.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I do worry that someone is really going to get hurt on the show, as they keep casting a wider and wider net looking for a "bigger and bigger" cast each season, but people always seem healthier in the end.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Also, I fear that some people who need to lose weight might get an unrealistic expectation of how weight loss goes (double digit weight loss in one week?) and get discouraged and quit when their own weight loss goes much more slowly, but, hopefully, people understand that these people are working out nearly "full time" and under professional guidance.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I LOVE Biggest Loser, I rarely miss it. I think I've watched it from the 2nd season. I really do like how they've modified and adapted the show to fit the reality of what contestants will face once they're off the Ranch. In the beginning, they kept them pretty well cloistered, now they sent them home a couple of time, take them to restaurants (other than product placement Subway) to show them how to order out, and in general expose them to more the things that will trip them up when they leave. Personally, I find the show pretty inspirational. Love Sam this season. Don't think he's going to win, but boy could you see the light come on in him :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              There's a dark side to Biggest Loser. Obesity is not just a physical issue. and no one safely loses the kind of weight people on that show lose week after week. Most physicians and nutritionists recommend no more than 2 lbs/week.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              So how do they do it? Well, a lot of money and prestige is at stake. They eat very little, workout compulsively and frequently don't consume liquids. Not only is this unhealthy, it leaves many of the contestants with an anorexic frame of mind that doesn't end when the show ends.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I think JO's approach is much more sensible and healthier. Learn about food. Eat unprocessed and homemade and in proper portions.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I agree completely. I watched a few seasons of the show, but just got concerned that the weight loss showcased there was just too extreme to be healthy. I prefer other shows that work within the contestants' existing environments at work/home to help them adapt well to that instead of sending them back for short periods of time. I think a family/work might be supportive initially, but it's more about maintaining things over the longterm than whether you can do it for a week or two.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I thought severely obese people tend to lose a lot more weight much faster than people who are only slightly overweight? I mean, yah, those workout regimens look insane, but I'm not sure that they are losing at an unhealthy rate. At least not unhealthier than continuing to eat like they have been, clearly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Of course, what happens when that show is over remains to be seen. My guess is that a lot of the contestants gain most of the weight back. I've yet to see someone who is in such an "anorexic frame of mind" after the show that one needs to worry about them starving themselves to death.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              ITA,I'm so confounded by the negativity, especially on a board where people dedicate so much time and energy to food. Shouldn't young children get a good start in life and learn how to eat nutritiously? We're not talking about adults who should know better. These kids deserve better than what they're getting...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: SweetPea914

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                ITA? Sorry, don't know that shorthand.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Frankly, I've been appalled at not just the negativity but the arrogance as well on this thread. That's one of the reasons I finally ended up posting upthread. Having been in the trenches, so to speak, of the school lunch program as a Director of Food Service, I have a perspective very few posters on this thread do. The school lunch program is broken. It wasn't always, but it sure is now, and has been for some time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I do believe children should get a good start in life and learn how to eat nutritiously; Basic Breakfast and NSLP are not the answer. No where in the Child Nutrition policy are there provisions or requirements for Nutrition Education. Why not? You can not mandate or legislate nutrition or a healty diet.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                These programs are not about nutrition, and before I sound too much like a broken record,this will be the last time I say this, Child Nutrition programs are agriculture support programs. Kids aren't learning good nutrition at home because many parents don't know it themselves. There have not been consistent and effective nutrition education programs or K-12 curriculums designed to teach children about the food they eat. There is - as all of us know - a great deal of information available about nutrition and what's good or not for us. Often that information is contradictory or confusing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I left the school lunch segment of the industry when it became abundantly clear to me that I, as one person, one Director, could not make a difference, that I could not facilitate change all by myself. The director of FS in the show last night put it all out there - it's about the reimbursement, the money. It's not about the kids. Money talks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                So if Jaime's show can shed some light on a truly misunderstood program, make people aware of what we're serving kids, that there is a connection between what we eat and our health, then I think that's a positive thing. Sure it's commerical, sure it's rather hokey at times, but it's on in prime time and it is sending a very clear, very loud message. Emeril Lagasse gets bashed on CH all the time, but by making a connection with people and cooking in front of an audience, he showed folks they could prepare food and gave them the confidence to at least try. He was commerical, and god knows he was pretty hokey at times too, but he was successful in getting people to at least go into their kitchens and try and cook.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Child Nutrition programs are up for reauthorization this year in Congress. In fact, they're being discussed right now. People should be writing to their Congress men and women and demanding change, demanding better food, higher reimbursements, curriculum that includes nutrition education. It'll take some critical mass to recognize a change, if the Food Revolution is a catalyst, then so be it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                In closing, I'm going to post the link to a really inspiring story - http://edition.cnn.com/2010/LIVING/04...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Brilliantly stated. We're killing our kids to support Food, Inc. and it's disgusting, needs to be exposed and changed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    ITA = I totally agree. As a geezer-luddite, I find www.acronymfinder to be a useful tool. (Please, Jamie, not Jaime)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      There's nothing inherently wrong with agricultural support programs. By buying commodity cheese, the government stabilizes the price of milk, protecting it from downward fluctuations when supply exceeds demand and from spikes when farmers cut production in response to depressed prices.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      And commodity cheese is actually pretty good stuff. No, it isn't an aged farmhouse cheddar, but it's comparable to store-brand Colby, and far superior to "processed cheese" or "cheese food." If it is given (or sold at subsidized prices) to school lunch programs or people who have limited incomes, we've accomplished two good things for the price of one.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The key is to make sure that the program is administered in a way that benefits both of its intended recipients - the farmers and the people who receive the subsidized products. Unfortunately, the ag lobby is huge and powerful, while the lobby for low-income kids and families is pretty much nonexistent.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      My mom was a home economics teacher for many years. She got her graduate degree in the '60s, before the "green revolution" had been fully implemented, and when a perceived future issue for home economists was how to feed the world with limited resources - there was legitimate concern that the earth had reached its carrying capacity of humans. One of her primary goals was to teach students how to make nutritious meals on a tight budget using minimally-processed (and therefore less resource-intensive) ingredients. And you'd better believe she taught them to make the most of commodity foods. Not just cheese, but canned fruits and vegetables, dried beans, pasta, rice, peanut butter, and breakfast cereals.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Wider availability of these products, coupled with education about how to use them, could change the diet of a substantial number of Americans for the better. But instead of providing such education, schools are shutting down their home ec programs in order to trim their budgets while complying with government mandates regarding subjects that are covered in high-stakes standardized tests.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I think it's great that Jamie Oliver is introducing better food to a small group of schoolkids. Hopefully they and their families will learn something about healthier cooking and eating and implement it in their day-to-day lives.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      It's even better that he's reaching a prime-time television audience. Of course the show has to be somewhat commercial and sensationalistic; otherwise nobody would watch it. If the message gets through to a wider audience, the end justifies the means.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      But a television program is just a starting point. A sustained program where students learn about what constitutes a healthy food and how to prepare it - especially if coupled with high-profile evangelizing by celebrity types from Michelle Obama to Jamie Oliver to Alice Waters - has the potential to make a real and permanent difference in the health of a large number of Americans.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        We're on the same page :-). I made many of the same comments about USDA commodities in a couple of rather lengthy posts upstream on this thread. Commodity cheese really is pretty good stuff, so is the peanut butter, the turkey as are most of the canned fruits. Not so good were the sweet potatoes and canned whole chicken. I have used and worked with a broad spectrum of USDA commodities and do not and will not turn up my nose at them. My point - and I made it up thread as well - is that the school lunch program has devolved into primarily being an agricultural support program rather than a program about feeding children.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Unfortunately, what's happened since your mother's teaching days is that both the government and schools have found it easier and more economical to send a large protion of the USDA commodities to manufacturers so that schools only have to deal with the end product.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The demise of HomeEc and cooking classes, I think, has also greatly contributed to the lack of knowlege about food as well as a lack of basic cooking ability. I grew up in a family of good cooks, but oh how well I remember those cooking classes I had to endure back in Jr. High School. Hindsight is always 20/20 and looking back Inow understand the niche they filled, even if the recipes were outdated. Seriously, who makes Eggs a la Goldenrod these days, heck who even made it back then?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          "Seriously, who makes Eggs a la Goldenrod these days, heck who even made it back then?"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Um, I do. ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Jen76

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Wow, impressive!! And here I thought the recipe was a relic 35 years ago when I was in Hr. H.S. :-). Nice to know it's not.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Jen76

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Ok, I'll bite. What are Eggs a la Goldenrod?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Take a few hard-boiled eggs and separate the yolks and whites. Chop the whites coarsely and stir them into a bechamel sauce. Spoon over toast points, then crumble the yolks over the top.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I still make 'em, too. They're comfort food for me, having been a typical Sunday supper growing up (especially around Easter, when we had hard-boiled eggs running out our ears).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                And my 16-year-old daughter has been known to make a batch when there are extra boiled eggs in the fridge. So it looks like the next generation will be exposed to them as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  "They're comfort food for me, having been a typical Sunday supper growing up (especially around Easter, when we had hard-boiled eggs running out our ears)."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Yup! Same when I was growing up (1980s). I love them. My mom called them Creamed Eggs though and served them over toasted English Muffins.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    OMG I was just describing this dish to mr. RNR this weekend and saying my Mom used to make this dish as an alternate to chipped beef on toast. He thought I was nuts. I didn't know it was something anyone else ever made!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. The Child Nutrition act is currently up for reauthorization in Congress. They'll either vote to - 1) stop the program (highly unlikely), 2) reauthorize it with more, less, or the same money as it's had in the last "act" 3) reauthorize it "as is" with no changes in requirements or reimbursement 4) only reauthorize it after changes they dictate are made.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    There will be much lobbying on both sides of the argument from every group imaginable who wants a piece of this action. There will be senators and representatives who are adamantly for the program and will approve it no matter what it looks like, there will be sentators and representatives that are adamatly against the program no matter how many changes and concessions are made, and there will those senators and representatives that are somewhere in the middle who can go either way, or simply don't care; it's not a hot button issue in their area. Big business will lobby for their best interests, the USDA will lobby for their best interests, the School Food Service Association will lobby for their best interest. Who's lobbying for the student and/or consumers best interest?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I tend to agree, that a petition probably won't be all that effective. 300,000 signatures in a country of 300Million? Pretty small potatoes. BUT...if it's coupled with "letters from home" (i.e. their constituents) and the current media attention, it could help to raise awareness and plant the seed that the current system is not okay.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I do know who Tony Geraci is. He's gotten a lot of press in the non-commercial trade pubs (like Food Management magazine). I think what he's doing is truly awesome and ground breaking. To answer your question, yes, there are more like him out there but they are few and far between at present. He was one person who was in the right place at the right time with the right idea and the right Board of Education that was willing to support him. Not everyone with similar great ideas will get that level of support, especially in these times of tight money for schools.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The process of change in both food policy and school lunch isn't going to happen all at once. It will take a lot of energy coming from many directions to get the ball rolling. It will take some sustained effort. My personal fear, is that this is simply the "cause du jour" and when attention wanes, so will the efforts at change. As I said upthread, this is a grassroots idea and campaign that can produce results if it gathers enough steam and reaches critical mass. A petition is only one small step in getting to critical mass.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      This is really interesting. I imagine that there are groups of concerned pediatricians, nutritionists, sustainable food activists, etc. who could work in coalition with concerned school districts, parents, and citizens to apply pressure.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      It would be great if JO's petition site could serve as a means for people to meet up--even virtually--with like-minded folks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Want to know what it would cost to make some simple changes to school lunches.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Follow this link - http://food-management.com/segments/s... - to a little chart showing what it would cost 5 different school districts to make one simple change.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Making changes financially possible is one of the biggest challenges anyone faces who wants to change the program.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Follow this link to an op-ed piece by the publisher of Food Management mag.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. If the message of Jaime's Food Revolution doesn't inspire you or move you, then you're not a Chow Hound. This show gives me goosebumps and inspires me in a way no other TV show has. If only more TV could be like this.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Mr. Oliver will donate a hefty amount of his own money to programs working to slim down hefty schoolchildren. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/ed...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                So we've come full circle. A program that started out as a means of making sure young men were well nourished and strong enough to serve in the military has turned into a program that leads (at least in part) to a large number of young adults being too fat to fight...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. I missed the final episode and as I have a dial-up computer connection I cannot watch Youtube or other online reruns. I am curious what the upshot was - did the school district adopt Mr. Oliver's suggestions and if so, was there any follow-up reporting? The outdoor scenes showed fall foliage so it's been some time since the show was filmed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Locally, one of the wealthier towns in MA is considering laying off its school cafeteria workers and contracting out the school lunch program. The lunch ladies argue that they could cook healthier lunches for the kids for less total cost than outsourcing the food production. http://www.thebostonchannel.com/news/...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  greyg, the show had Jamie traveling around the country doing various TV shows (GMA, Rachael Ray, etc.) trying to get the word out about Food Revolution. Then it turns out Jamie actually had to go BACK to Huntington on April 12th, as Rhonda (the woman in charge of the lunch program for all 26 schools in the district) had gone back to using the processed foods "to get rid of the stockpile we have." She was saying she also ordered about the same amount for 2011 from the USDA (WTH???).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Each Friday was going to be Junk Food Friday. Essentially, Rhonda's the problem, not the lunch ladies (and while the lunch ladies don't actually SAY she's the problem, it's pretty damn obvious they think she's a big part of the issue).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  And some parents whose kids had whined about the food they didn't like in the school cafeterias had gone back to brown-bagging their kids' lunches - some young kids got two bags of potato chips and jelly beans in their lunch. (Cave much, parents?)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Here are a couple of good recap links:



                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  In addition to Channel 5's story on that town near Boston laying off their cafeteria workers, the Globe's Wednesday Food section had two stories (and many recipes) that focus on fixing the food in school cafeteria kitchens as well as parents cooking at home with their kids. Getting the kids involved in cooking definitely helps get them interested in trying new foods.



                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Thanks, Linda! Apparently there are lunch ladies facing lay-offs in other states as well. Newton MA is particularly alarming since the town is relatively affluent, with a lot of money spent on education. (Of course the high school they built recently was the Big Dig of school construction projects, which is probably why they are now pinching pennies.) A high ratio of highly-educated vs. blue-collar workers SHOULD translate to parents being relatively well-informed about nutrition, and able to afford to buy healthy food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The Big Dig of school construction projects. Yes, that's the PERFECT terminology! The school system didn't seem to have ANY problem spending $200 million for the Taj Mahal of high schools.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      But now that they have to cut $500,000 from the budget, the lunch ladies are the first to go. But no worries - they'll still have their standalone theater,simulated outdoor area gym (whatever that is), climbing wall, indoor pool, dance studio, and student-run restaurant.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Simply amazing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      And yes, you would think that the parents of Newton students would be well-enough informed about nutrition and what was being offered to their kids in school for breakfasts and lunches, but it doesn't seem so.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I do hope the lunch ladies win their battle.