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Mar 21, 2010 07:47 PM

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. The original comment has been removed
      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 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: h