Current Crush: Jamie Oliver

Note: This is a re-post from my personal blog, Meg{Moir}.  I wanted to include it here because food is an important part of living a healthy life, and as a product of the public school system, I am well aware of the low-quality food being fed to children across this country day in and day out.

Move over Johnny Weir, there’s a new sheriff in town.

jamie-oliver-food-revolution

My usual Sunday night routine consists of Desperate Housewives, a quick shower (trying not to fall asleep) and bed.  It’s like clockwork.  However, for whatever reason (fate? caffeine? a fuzzy dog with his head in my lap?) I decided to stay up and check out this new show, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution.

I had heard of Jamie before, of course.  He is the Naked Chef after all.  He’s probably not as popular in the US as in his homeland of the UK, but he’s popped up enough on Oprah and the Today Show and whatnot to at least be semi-recognizable in homes across America.  I have a feeling a lot more people are going to know his name.

On Food Revolution Sunday night, Jamie worked in a school cafeteria.  Due to USDA guidelines, this school isn’t feeding the kids anything better or worse than the schools in your neighborhood, but these ladies appeared to take Jamie’s questions and criticisms personally.  Of course they were only doing what they were told and working with what they had, but their unquestioning adherence to the status quo got under my skin.  They immediately viewed Jamie as an outsider, an intruder, who was there to mess with their routine.  And good for him!  French fries are not a vegetable, I don’t care what the USDA says.

If I may get off subject for a minute, I grew up in a very poor school system, one where there were a lot (probably many more than I realized) of kids who lived below the poverty line and got a free or reduced lunch.  I will never forget a guy in my class coming up to me after I had picked at the food on my plate for a bit and asked if he could have what was left.  I thought it was weird but let him have the tray.  Then I watched as he sat down and ate every bite of food left on my plate.  I didn’t think much of it at the time, but now I understand that for many kids, school breakfast and lunch could very easily be the only food they get all day.  And in order for school systems to be able to offer free or reduced lunch (by way of government funding), they must follow these USDA guidelines that counts pizza as 2 grains, a dairy and a vegetable to the letter.  I won’t even talk about obesity at my school, but I bet you can figure out the correlation.  It’s not right…I hope that Jamie’s program is able to inspire change in the politics that dictate what children in this country eat.

Oh yes, speaking of Jamie.  Let’s get back to my crush for the week.  Not only is he crusading for children’s health here in America (after changing the school lunch menus in the UK), he has done great things with his Fifteen Foundation, which helps those with drug and alcohol problems, the unemployed and the homeless to undergo training to work in one of his restaurants.

This guy has a big heart, a British accent and just enough controversy (#28) to keep it interesting.  What’s not to love?

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Jamie is currently collecting signatures for a petition to take to the White House after the show as aired its 6 episodes.  I encourage you to sign on, it will only take a minute, and could help pave the way for healthier foods at school.

I support Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution. America’s kids need better food at school and better health prospects. We need to keep cooking skills alive.

You can add your signature here.

Photo Credit.

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