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feed me better
March 17, 2005 6:02 AM   Subscribe

Feed Me Better Jamie Oliver (UK fat tongued food wizard) campaigns to ban the junk food and get fresh, tasty and, above all, nutricious food back on school dinners menu.
posted by Spoon (47 comments total)

 
Good for him, I realise a lot of folks find Mr Oliver pretty annoying but he definitely seems to have his heart in the right place (and he's a damn good cook too)
posted by zeoslap at 6:20 AM on March 17, 2005


If schoolkids in England are eating the same way the schoolkids seen in Supersize Me were eating, more power to Jamie Oliver. The influence fast/junk food companies have over school lunch menus is shameful.
posted by schoolgirl report at 6:33 AM on March 17, 2005


lets not forget the rather amusing Meatrix
posted by lemonfridge at 6:44 AM on March 17, 2005


You have to give Jamie some credit for promoting this so well, the original Soil Association campaign started back in 2003, but really took off after Jamie got involved
posted by Lanark at 6:52 AM on March 17, 2005


This is definite a good cause for him to pick - it's important and it's a matter to which he can bring some level of expertise and credibility, unlike a lot of celebs with their causes du jour.
posted by orange swan at 7:06 AM on March 17, 2005


Jamie is awesome! This is just one of several ways (thanks Lanark) he has been trying to improve his community. I hope there is a way to bring a similar movement over to the U.S. to reform school lunches. We really need it, with the obesity rates in children at an all-time high.
posted by turtlegirl at 7:06 AM on March 17, 2005


And for the first time ever, I suddenly find the man hot.
posted by orange swan at 7:07 AM on March 17, 2005


Pukka

(sorry couldn't resist)

Though Jamie Oliver is a nob. Nothing to do with this campaign. He just is.
posted by 13twelve at 7:07 AM on March 17, 2005


I watched this for the first time last night - i've actually changed my opinion on the guy. The kids started crying and bawling the first time they had to try the pasta and curry, but a week later they were all eating it and loving it.

What did it for me though - the teachers said the kids were calm and behaving in lessons, and the nurse didn't have to use the asthma inhaler on anyone since the healthy food was served (she was using it all the time before apparently). Just goes to show what sort of shit they must pump into the reclaimed chicken nuggets.
posted by derbs at 7:08 AM on March 17, 2005


i think this is the way a commercial success (which i think Mr Oliver is) should contribute to a society. i rather forget some awful ad-commercials he made for t-fal / tefal.
posted by mailhans at 7:09 AM on March 17, 2005


Jamie is hot, and seems like a well-intentioned guy.
posted by digaman at 7:15 AM on March 17, 2005


Watching Jamie Oliver tell all the whiny little kids that threw tantrums when faced with real food "Tough shit, eat it or starve" was possibly the most satisfying thing I've ever seen on TV.
posted by fshgrl at 7:35 AM on March 17, 2005


I'd have that man's baby, I swear to God.
posted by orange swan at 7:58 AM on March 17, 2005


Alice Waters has been working on a similar concept in California, too.
posted by bcwinters at 8:15 AM on March 17, 2005


Derbs, similar results were seen in Supersize Me (no, I'm not associated with the movie, it just made a big impression on me). A school for disruptive/troubled kids introduced a healthy breakfast and lunch program, removed all soda and snack machines, and soon afterward the kids' behavioral problems decreased dramatically.

More detail from the Supersize Me site here, and also here.
posted by schoolgirl report at 8:23 AM on March 17, 2005


Stonyfield also has Menu for Change.
posted by scubbadubba at 8:43 AM on March 17, 2005


I've been downloading the episodes and it's really amazing to watch how picky the kids are about food and how they reject any food that isn't your usual fries/burgers/pizza. It's even more amazing to see the lunch ladies be just as picky as the kids!

It's also really astonishing to realize that they're only spending 37p per pupil for lunch.
posted by gyc at 8:52 AM on March 17, 2005


Those lunch ladies are all ony 26 years old you know.
posted by fshgrl at 9:00 AM on March 17, 2005


Kids usually don't want to try anything that looks different. It can take some coaxing. I usually try a "three bites" deal with my nieces and nephew - they try three bites and if they don't like it they don't have to eat any more. Fortunately once they do try it they are quick to admit it if they like it.
posted by orange swan at 9:01 AM on March 17, 2005


gyc, Where are you finding these episodes?
posted by mindless progress at 9:22 AM on March 17, 2005


A school for disruptive/troubled kids introduced a healthy breakfast and lunch program, removed all soda and snack machines, and soon afterward the kids' behavioral problems decreased dramatically

I think that shows how powerful a 'drug' sugar really is. The original Feingold's diet for ADD worked on the principle of removing sugars and preservatives.
Now if only I could curb my own sugar addiction. *sigh*
posted by peacay at 9:23 AM on March 17, 2005


This is brilliant. I'm going to try to convince our local celebrity chef, Rob Feenie, to do something similar here in Vancouver. Those of you with an activist bent should try to do the same in your neck of the woods.
posted by randomstriker at 9:28 AM on March 17, 2005


I think this is a really important issue. The way we learn to eat when we're kids is the way we eat when we're adults, but so many people, even those who eat relatively well themselves, have a 'let kids eat crap, they're kids' attitude about childhood nutrition.

A friend of mine runs a cooking program for elementary school aged children, that teaches them to like real food, and how to prepare simple, but nutritionally balanced meals. It gets them interested in cooking as a concept and introduces them to the idea that healthy food can also be tasty food. That sort of attitude adjustment goes a long way to teaching kids to eat properly.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:32 AM on March 17, 2005


We actually had a "food strike" at school one evening meal (hooray boarding school). We had a standard format of two available mains that were portion controlled, plus a few sides that were self-serve.

The week before the strike, one evening meal's sides were: Good variety eh?

The senior students organized and enfored the strike, which was extremely effective; only four people (out of about 250) showed up for dinner, two of whom were playing "hall monitor" and had a duty to appear. Not sure if they actually ate anything though. The kitchen staff were both angry and upset, while the teachers in charge of the boarding houses were apoplectic, especially the guy who had started a "food committee" a couple of years earlier that was having zero effect.

Things got a lot better, and fast, after that. ¡Viva la revolución! Having just written all that, I'm not sure that 6-8 year olds would have the same level of organization or commitment, so good show Jamie for trying to make a difference.
posted by lowlife at 9:57 AM on March 17, 2005


I found Oliver to be quite unsufferable -- not to mention the unimaginative cooking -- but this is a very good idea, more power to him. bravo.

I'm not sure that 6-8 year olds would have the same level of organization or commitment

Cafeteria Battle Royale!
posted by matteo at 10:04 AM on March 17, 2005


Will have to check super size me out schoolgirl report; the clips i've seen made me feel a bit ill and put me off!
posted by derbs at 10:07 AM on March 17, 2005


gyc, Where are you finding these episodes?

UK Nova
posted by gyc at 10:11 AM on March 17, 2005


I've raised my kids on gourmet, mostly organic food since birth, and the payoff is huge. Best investment you can make, next to love. Yes, you have to fight off peer pressure, so you learn tricks, like putting orange juice in Gatorade bottles, but who has control--you, or the junk food industry? Schools here in Canada, are finally getting rid of the junk vending machines. Are school boards and corporations being virtuous, or do they realize they may get their asses sued off in twenty years?
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 10:38 AM on March 17, 2005


School dinners? How frickin' late do you keep kids in school in the UK?
posted by fleener at 10:38 AM on March 17, 2005


I went to Hammersmith & West London College for a year, and the deep fried chicken in that cafeteria, I would've sworn was radioactive.

More power to Jamie for doing something for these kids.

fat + salt is no way to eat every day.
posted by flippant at 10:41 AM on March 17, 2005


Dinner=lunch. Although if it's boarding school, they keep you there for ever....
posted by jonathanbell at 10:41 AM on March 17, 2005


Watching Jamie Oliver tell all the whiny little kids that threw tantrums when faced with real food "Tough shit, eat it or starve" was possibly the most satisfying thing I've ever seen on TV.

Heh. I've done this on a mini-level. My step-daughters eat out nearly all the time at their mother's house (which means they mostly eat chicken nuggets, grilled cheese sandwiches and corn dogs off of restaurant kid menus) and eat a lot of processed junk when they aren't. The hue and cry they put up is amazing.

"We don't LIIIIIIIIIIIKE onions."
"Really? Last week you were picking them out of the lo mein to eat them by themselves because you assumed they were some special kind of noodle."
"But we don't liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiike onions!"

It's amazing what they'll eat if you tell them "Eat it or starve." I refuse to be a short order cook for picky children. I think the problem isn't just the unhealthy junk they serve in schools. I see so many parents who give in when their kids whine for bland, unhealthy crap, even at home. I was amazed when I tried to serve a young visitor to my house what I thought was a pretty kid-friendly meal of spaghetti with meat sauce. The little girl wasn't rude, but she did look aghast, as if I had given her a bowlful of live worms. Her mother then told me, "Oh she won't eat tomato sauce-- can you just give her buttered noodles?" And this was an 8 year old girl, not a toddler.
posted by Shoeburyness at 10:57 AM on March 17, 2005


fleener, jonathanbell: yes, it was boarding school. Three meals a day, seven days a week, many weeks a year.
posted by lowlife at 11:04 AM on March 17, 2005


Jamie Oliver is a nob. Nothing to do with this campaign. He just is.

Well, given that he's sunk £1.3m of his own cash into his projects helping underprivileged kids get a few skills to haul themselves out of the mire and now this school dinners projects perhaps you'd do a tad better thinking for yourself rather than accepting the hipster party line from all those "fat tongued c**t" emails that everyone's been getting for the last few years.

Incidentally, "a nob... just is." Incisive analysis. Project much?
posted by dmt at 11:06 AM on March 17, 2005


Also, I see that they have "booted Turkey Twizzlers out of schools". Turkey Twizzlers? Good Lord, what are THOSE?
posted by Shoeburyness at 11:10 AM on March 17, 2005


It's about time that someone other than CSPI-style puritan scolds got involved in the healthy-school-lunches movement. So much of the campaign to get rid of junk food in cafeterias has been based on appallingly bland food and outdated nutritional data (junk food is bad because it has fat, not because it has trans fats and nasty processed stuff.)
posted by transona5 at 11:37 AM on March 17, 2005


THESE are Turkey Twizzlers!
posted by altolinguistic at 11:41 AM on March 17, 2005


Wow, throw some Turkey Twizzlers on the side of some Tuna Pea Wiggle (see March 21), and you've got a lunch of "regrettable food" calibre.
posted by schoolgirl report at 11:46 AM on March 17, 2005


Well said, DMT: Oliver's personality may not be for everybody -- though I think he's a blast -- but you cannot ignore the quality of his cooking and the committment he has to try and improve larger social issues through it. The Sainsbury's stuff was a bit naff, but his work highlighting organic food, organic sourcing and now the 'feed me better' stuff is brilliant. I also want to recommend his work starting, funding and managing the fifteen foundation, a charity that trains inner-city London youth to be chefs and sous-chefs at fifteen, one of his restos in London.
posted by docgonzo at 12:49 PM on March 17, 2005


they're doing that here in ONtario too, banning junk food in schools... not a bad idea, really
posted by drunk7daysaweek at 1:10 PM on March 17, 2005


If I hear one more woman swoon over Jamie Freakin' Oliver's beestung lips I shall unleash naked pictures of myself over the internets. That'll show 'em.
posted by Sparx at 1:19 PM on March 17, 2005


Incidentally, I ran into Jamie Oliver a couple of times at the Borough market in London (he shops there regularly, apparently) and struck up a conversation with him. He's a genuinely warm, friendly dude -- and every bit as hilariously spastic in person as he is on his shows. I can see why chicks dig him.
posted by randomstriker at 3:49 PM on March 17, 2005


Is nutricious a word in the UK?

Like fruitylicious?
posted by uncanny hengeman at 9:29 PM on March 17, 2005


gyc writes "they're only spending 37p per pupil for lunch"

I thought it was 37p per option or course. Still not alot of money, no matter how many you are buying for. How he managed to make chickpea and tomato soup over budget I don't know.
posted by asok at 4:40 AM on March 18, 2005


Blair acts on Jamie's plan for schools

Gaby Hinsliff and Amelia Hill
Sunday March 20, 2005
The Observer

Tony Blair is to bow to the increasing clamour from parents for better school meals for their children and announce a series of plans to swap junk food for 'organic and local' fresh meals.

In a response to the plea from TV chef Jamie Oliver for a 'school dinner revolution', the Prime Minister will say that school kitchens will be rebuilt and equipped so dishes can be cooked from scratch, while dinner ladies are given 'culinary skills' to help them create appetising menus.

Writing in today's Observer , Blair acknowledges for the first time the strength of parental anger about the fatty, sugary processed diet on offer in many schools. He pledges an independent food trust to build on and expand the work begun by Oliver in his Channel 4 series, Jamie's School Dinners .

posted by matteo at 9:32 AM on March 20, 2005


Tony Blair loves his bandwagons. Still this one is a good one. Although I just saw an interview with Education Secretary Ruth Kelly - she refused to say how much money they would assign to the new meals and said the onus is on local authorities and parents to create the "impetus". IE The government takes no responsibility is this doesn't pull off. Electioneering, methinks...
posted by wibbler at 11:03 AM on March 20, 2005


Announced today, Education Secretary Ruth Kelly will raise spending on school lunches to at least50p a plate.
posted by darsh at 6:58 AM on March 30, 2005


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