Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution blew up the blogosphere after its premier Friday night. I'm excited to see how engaged people are by it.
I've read through a number of blog posts, on the subject, over the past couple of days. A few bloggers seemed shocked by the test Jamie did with a group of school children, where in, he quizzed the group on their ability to identify fresh vegetables.
It would have been pointless to televise the test if the children had done well so, obviously, they did poorly. According to Jamie, the problem was rectified in two one-hour sessions. They showed the children vegetables, told them their names, taught the kids about them and voila, educated kids.
Personally, I'd be more interested in seeing some parents take the quiz.
Let's face it, for the most part; we've grown up in a society that is disconnected from its food. Very few of us keep a vegetable garden. Even fewer of us actually farm, or hunt, or gather our own food.
We simply turn up at a store and buy the things we like. It's all readily available and, with very few exceptions, it 's already partially processed for us. The lettuce has been washed, the pasta is neatly tucked inside a box, and the meat has been butchered into steaks, fillets, or wings. Even the shrimp have been deveined, in shell.
Anything icky or unsightly, or inconvenient has been taken care of for us, and I'm not complaining.. I do not want to have to start making my own cheese. But, it's not a far leap to go from these fresh, lightly processed foods to the frozen, packaged, completely processed ones. Convenience is convenient, after all, and if you've got a coupon you can feed your family really inexpensively.
Have you ever seen a coupon for fresh oranges? I haven't.
When I was in my teens, I worked in the snack bar of a bingo hall...best - job - ever. It was a REALLY shabby, smoky bingo hall with a REALLY shabby, fly and ant riddled snack bar.
Coffee was the only thing this snack bar did well. The beans were freshly ground for each pot, just before it was brewed. The staff and bingo players agreed it was really decent coffee. At least we agreed on something.
One evening, I was working behind the counter, serving drinks and snacks to the crowd before the early session started. I pressed the button to grind beans for a fresh pot of coffee and a woman in line exclaimed, "Ewww! Is THAT the coffee?"
I looked up at her, a little surprised, a little annoyed (I was often annoyed with the players) and answered, "Yes".
Had this woman never encountered coffee that wasn't already in a cup? How do you make it to her age (her age to me, at the time, seemed VERY advanced, though she was probably only in her forties) without knowing that coffee comes from beans?
It's little wonder; there are kids who can't tell celery from a beat.
This whole subject has me thinking about my veggie garden and the plans I haven’t made, yet.
I'm so glad my little guy knows, at least a little, about vegetables. He's been snacking on fresh peas in the garden and gathering wild strawberries, since he was a one year old, toddling behind me through the yard.
There is such a sense of accomplishment in serving my family a dinner that includes fresh, home-grown foods. Not to mention the noticeable difference in the taste and quality of food that has been harvested just moments before cooking. It’s so good. I can't wait. I need to get planning.
A quick reminder that tomorrow is Monday and that means weigh-in; be there or be square.