The sneak preview of Food Revolution opened with Jamie saying goodbye to his wife and children to spend three months in Huntington, WV helping them renovate how they eat. From the start, Jamie spoke positively about the town of 50,000. Jamie’s first stop in Huntington was a radio program where he interacted with an unimpressed host, despite Jamie’s explanation that Huntington was deemed the unhealthiest town in America by a government statistic based on death.
It is not surprising that Jamie chose to start his revolution in a school, given his experience in his own country with Jamie’s Ministry of Food. His first day in the school, Jamie observed and asked questions. As he toured the school kitchen, Jamie stated that many restaurants in England would be jealous of the space and equipment they had, and was shocked to learn that the ovens were used primarily for reheating and rarely for cooking. As he had to ask the cooks to identify the food they serve school children, Jamie said in an aside that children in South Africa are getting better food than American school children. Despite the defensiveness and dissent of the cooks, Jamie remains positive and focuses on their strengths. Right as I was thinking how upsetting the entire situation was, Jamie said that he felt like crying.
Jamie also chose one family to work with closely. He and the mother prepared all the food the family consumes in a week, taking up the entire kitchen! The most utilized tool in the kitchen was the deep fryer, which they buried in a ceremony kicking off their commitment to healthier food. One of the children confided in Jamie that he has been teased at school and really wants a change. Jamie offered him individual cooking classes and showed him how to prepare a pasta and salad meal for the entire family, cooking from raw ingredients. Jamie left the family with a menu for the week of inexpensive, fast, and easy meals.
After learning about USDA rules and guidelines, Jamie was allowed to try to prepare school meals that meet budget and dietary restrictions. As they returned to the kitchen, the vivid colors of the fresh vegetables were noticeable immediately. Jamie prepared chicken and rice while the cooks looked on with disgusted faces. The children were given the choice of Jamie’s chicken or pizza reared by the school cooks; unfortunately, the majority of the children chose the processed food.
The one hour preview ends with Jamie directly addressing the negative press that he was receiving in Huntington and trying to assure those with whom he was working of his sincerity, caring, and respect. When alone, Jamie becomes emotional and his sincerity and caring are clear to the audience.
I am looking forward to the two hour premier on Friday and watching each week. Jamie is enjoyable and entertaining to watch, and he is providing excellent education. Many admit that they eat things they should not while watching the Biggest Loser, but I would guess that it will be difficult to eat processed, unhealthy food while watching Food Revolution. I hope you tune in with me!
Tune-in on ABC Fridays at 8/7cst.
March 22nd, 2010