The Internet (or at least my friends' Facebook feeds) is abuzz with talk about Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution. Those of you who missed the preview on ABC can catch it on Hulu.
The concept: Know-it-all Brit goes to middle-class American city that's been deemed the fattest, least healthy one of the whole of our fat, unhealthy nation. He attempts to plant a "seed of change," as he says, to help ward of the premature deaths due to obesity, the diabetes, etc. and basically change America's love of processed food. He attempts to change school lunches, works with individual families, and opens a kitchen in town where he'll teach people to cook.
My take: G-d bless 'im. My husband seems to think it's all contrived, but I think the anger he's encountering is real. Interestingly, the individuals he's been working with so far are grateful. The parents of children eating the disgustingly over-processed school lunches are concerned. The lunch ladies and administration... not so much. And he already seems to be making strides. At one point he goes into a first-grade classroom to quiz them on vegetables, and they had no idea what any of it was, though they readily identified chicken nuggets, pizza, and hamburgers. Their teacher was obviously horrified and set out to teach them their vegetables from artichokes to zucchini, and they picked it up immediately.
On a personal note, I grew up eating those over-processed school lunches. Our cafeterias put out homemade bread, too, but everything else came frozen or dehydrated. We've been feeding our children this stuff for decades now. I admit that I largely found it tasty, but that much salt and MSG'll do that to you.
This show spawned a lot of conversation between my husband and I. He and I disagreed on whether or not we eat a lot of processed food; most of the processed food we consume is in the form of sugar. Oh, we love our sugar. Ice cream! Brownie mix! (Don't judge! I haven't been able to make decent brownies from scratch ever!) Chocolate! And we eat a lot of rich food, but it's mostly from-scratch rich food, which may not necessarily make it healthier (unless you're considering the lack of high-fructose corn syrup and salt and trans fast), but it's better. I maintain that we are fat because we sit on our butts all the time doing things like making blog posts about food. And, also, the overeating, since someone needs to consume the results of the kitchen's output.
Good luck, Mr. Oliver. I'm behind you 100%. May you be an example to all of America.