Saturday, April 3, 2010

Jamie Oliver again

Watched the show last night. Missed the second one so cannot comment on the progress at the original school. Still feel that Jamie is missing the boat--that he doesn't understand our culinary culture. We are a country of immigrants, some newer than others. We are a country of regions. Each region has it's own culinary identity. Although it seems like the identities "bleed" into each other--we all eat pizza, hot dogs and hamburgers--the influences of ethnicity and region are still obvious. Let's first look at why we can't serve kids freshly prepared foods. It was obvious in last night's episode: not enough staff to prep, cook and serve the food. And, I'm just guessing, the big food companies would work pretty hard to keep their contracts with the schools. I agree that school lunch is appalling. No one is arguing with Oliver over that. It's his approach that I don't like. French kids may eat quiche for lunch and sit for the full lunch hour enjoying their meal with appropriate music playing in the background. But that's not what American kids do. They go to lunch just because everyone is going. They complain about the mystery meat because that's what kids do. They throw away most of the food, not because it's disgusting (because most kids wouldn't really know or care) but because everyone else is and because they want to get outside to play. Playground time, recess time, is way more important to American kids than lunchtime. Don't try to make our school lunch like Great Britain's or France's or any other country's. Let's make OUR school lunch better by staying within the confines of our culture and feeding our kids what we American eat.
Oh, I thought the school foodservice director made a fool of herself when she declared that french fries qualified as a vegetable but Jamie's stir fry did not! Now that's a problem--if the definition of vegetable includes french fries. And I love french fries. They're one of my favorite foods. But let's not fool ourselves--they don't--or they shouldn't--constitute a serving of veg.
And the young girl who was so overweight--I sure hope they didn't desert her when filming was over. She needs a lot of support if she is going to get healthier.
So I'll watch it again next week although I still don't like what I see. A lot of my feelings are similar to a show that Shaq did a few years ago. Tactics matter. And they cannot be excused even if the goal is reached.

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