As I’ve referenced before, when my husband is traveling, one of my guilty pleasures is to watch runs of ABC shows online – often it’s the usual suspects: Private Practice, Brothers and Sisters, and – dare I admit it? – the Bachelor… But I’m pleased to announce I have a new favorite show.
I’ve been admiring Jamie Oliver ever since eating at his restaurant Fifteen in London the first year it was open, where he selected fifteen disadvantaged youth – kids who were otherwise homeless, unemployed, or battling addiction, and taught them how to cook basic – but restaurant quality – dishes. I have to say it was one of the more inspiring meals I’ve had and the concept later kicked off to several other cities.
This year, Jamie has come stateside, tackling the issues of nutrition in American schools – namely in Huntington, West Virginia. Of course he’s met with some resistance to his ways, means and intentions but on the whole, I have to say how impressive it is that Huntington – who statisitically was shown to be the “least healthy” town in the States – would be willing to invite someone like Jamie in for his help and to be humble enough to honestly show what it is that they’re doing in terms of nutrition and food for themselves and their families. While the lessons can be tough, ultimately Jamie isn’t there to judge, but to show people what excessive amounts of processed foods can do to your health and well-being, and that it is possible to change things without spending additional time and breaking the bank.
The episodes, while I’m only a few in, are truly touching and alarming at the same time. There’s a moment where he shows children – who look like they’re in the 5-6 year age group – vine ripened tomatoes and asks simply “What is this?”. He’s met by the sound of crickets until one child yells out “Potatoes!”. To see that is both sad and eye-opening, to think that we could have become so far away from basic foods and their preparations. Also, when not wearing Huntington themed clothing items, Jamie seems to be spending a lot of time dressed up as peas in a pod, or some kind of tumored grasshoper.
Follow along on http://www.abc.com/ to see if the town is able to make sustaining change! And support the “Food Revolution” by signing the petition to improve school lunches here.