My favorite part of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution this Father’s Day week was Jamie’s visit back to the Barrett family to see if they have stayed away from fast food since his last visit. As Jamie strode up the sidewalk, he noticed that they were growing herbs and vegetables. The father and the teenage son answered the door in aprons, in the midst of preparing dinner for themselves and Jamie. They had even filled the living room with all kinds of produce in jest of Jamie filling their home with fast food on his last visit. The father stated that he had lost 16 pounds already and, most importantly, feels good about himself as a father now that he cooks and has dinner at the family table with his sons.
The episode started with Jamie visiting a convention for school lunch cooks. He let us know that it is not just the LAUSD, but he has also been denied access to 75 other school districts. The comments by the cooks and administrators made it clear that people are afraid of bad press.
I find it sad when we try to pretend that we are perfect and/or do not open ourselves up to improvement through real awareness. I work with people frequently who confess less than functional habits. Just because Jillian Michaels already works out daily, does not mean she is better than the person asking for help to start exercising more often. In fact, I often find that the person trying to make a change has more courage and is working harder than the person who has already developed a healthier habit. My favorite part of the school lunch cook convention was Jamie commenting on the fact that during airing of the Food Revolution, commercials for fast food or convenience food are also being aired.
After the disappointment in the last episode of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, it was a wonderful surprise to see that the administrator of West Adams High had hopefully found a loophole, so that Jamie and his kids could indeed cook for the entire school, at least as an assembly. The administrator said that the school was based on experiential teaching and preparing kids for college, so healthy eating fit right into their principles. In the mean time, Jamie continued his role of instructor, trying out different subjects beyond culinary arts.
In math class, Jamie taught about calories and consequences by allowing students to choose a snack between soda, chocolate bars, pizza, or oranges. He then allowed them to experience weight gain using weight backpacks. Jamie then took his math students out to the track having the students walk around the track enough times to burn the calories of what they had just eaten.
If you are like me, you didn’t realize that ABC had snuck Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution back into the line up on a new day and time. Luckily, I was able to catch up on Hulu.com. Hopefully, the rest of the season will continue on Fridays at 9p EST.
In the third episode of the second season, Jamie finally made some progress with Deno at Patra’s who we saw last episode. Jamie offered to renovate the entire diner and join him live on Ryan Seacrest’s radio show if Deno would agree to upgrade the meat in his burgers from the patties he knows nothing about. Deno said that his concern was more about if his customers would like it rather than the extra 13 cents per patty, but he also spoke about the “bottom line” a lot in this episode. Jamie introduced Deno to Sophia, one of the students from West Adams High, who shared her story and her concern that fast food is the primary contributor to diabetes in her entire family.
I was appalled that Deno would argue to a crying teenager that fast food is a choice, just like alcohol or cigarettes. When a child is given fast food, whose choice was it to purchase it? When lower quality ingredients are used to make foods, whose choice was that? Yes, I choose not to eat fast food, and my coworkers have said they hide their “bad” lunch choices from my sight. Yet, I am disturbed by the lack of compassion and the choice to blame rather than to take responsibility for one’s own choices.
In episode two of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, Jamie made another attempt to build a bridge with the LAUSD school board by visiting another school board meeting to give an update and express his hope that they could work together.
Unfortunately, he doesn’t seem to have made an impact, and the school board does not seem open to working with Jamie. Jamie was forced to take to the streets dressed as a tomato with a group of volunteers in fruit and vegetable costumes to create grassroots momentum for the food revolution. Jamie and his volunteers handed out healthy lunches, flyers with suggestions on how to get involved, and T-shirts with messages like “Let Jamie Oliver In” and “Feed Me Better” to parents and their children. Back in Jamie’s Kitchen, we got to see that Jamie was copied on at least 745 emails to the school board after this venture. Jamie was hopeful there were more than a thousand more on which he had not been copied and that these emails would make a difference to the LAUSD school board.
While I was typing up my review of the season premiere of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, my brother requested a milk shake as a snack, so of course I tested out what we had just seen Jamie demonstrate, trying to convince the fast food owner to serve healthier options. Jamie and the restauranteur faced off on whether a milkshake requires ice cream to really be a milkshake. Jamie made a version with yogurt that passed the taste-test of a child, but the restaurant owner was not convinced that it could qualify as a milkshake without ice cream.
For my milkshake, I grabbed two bananas out of the freezer, added pourable vanilla yogurt from local Trader’s Point Creamery, organic milk, and blended it well. I’m not a fan of yogurt, but it even passed my taste test.