since the beginning of the year the boybarians and i have been doing a study of school lunch offerings in america. it has been nothing short of FASCINATING and HORRIFYING. seriously.
further, our study has taken us all over the world to see how school lunch gets treated outside of america. and i must tell you, it is treated well. very well in a LOT of places. in fact, based on our studies of what is offered where, i've decided i would very much like to be a french nursery school student, aged 4. dude, those kids eat WELL.
not so much here. school lunch in america is in a critically poor state. we need revolution, change, and quick. in short we are harming our children and setting them up for a lifetime of nutritional FAILURE. in length, the powers that preside over how the school lunch program is administered make it a morass of paperwork, rules, guidelines, etc. and so forth and so on. they have taken the act of feeding children and broken it down into a complicated matrix of boxes that must be ticked. it is not about food, it's about the administration of funds, preservation of supply chains, cutting costs where ever possible, and percentages of 'nutritional elements' that must be met. i put that in quotes because i've seen these lunches, and nutrition isn't the first thing that comes to mind.
enter jamie oliver and his food revolution. a new series on ABC friday nights. and it's good. he's been working on revolutionizing school lunch in the UK for the last 10 years and he's bringing his mission here.
he's mouthy, presumptuous, pushy, judgmental, and he uses the word 'crap' to describe food. but he is right on and comes full force from a place of love. love for children and real food. he is committed and he's awesome to watch.
plus, he doesn't just want to come in a make a media splash for his own gain and then leave. he wants to teach people about real food. what it is and how to cook it. because if you know how to cook even one or two dishes you can branch out. and seriously, that's sometimes all it takes. something as simple as just knowing about what foods are and how to prepare them. it's about education and support. because a lot of people never learned how to cook even the basics, and because of that must *rely* on prepared foods. and that is sometimes passed down generation to generation. could it really be as simple as teaching a few cooking techniques? jamie oliver thinks so and i agree with him.
i grew up poor and ate well. because there was real food and cooking in my home. with pots and pans and knives and spatulas. and i am not suggesting that junk food and 'crap' food don't have a place in the world. because good lord we know i do love the cheeseburgers and have been known to crave 'crap' and indulge in it a time or two.
BUT everything in moderation, right? and daily school lunches with all their sugar, fat, salt, and carbs, day after day, 180 days a year? every single day. no, that's not right. not at all. not to mention the children who are having school breakfast, too. two meals a day filled with sugar, fat, salt, carbs. 180 days a year.
look, i know i'm lucky. i home school and my kids get to make their own lunch every day. we have the time and resources to make it delicious and healthy.
but just because my kids don't go to public school doesn't mean i don't care about the kids who do. quite the opposite. just like i support all the school bonds and levies that come my way, and am all too happy that part of my property taxes go to support the public schools, i want to support the change that needs to happen in the public school lunch programs across the country.
i know there are a LOT of people trying, working on this very issue. and have been for a long time. affecting change where they are. good people, smart people. but let's face it, jamie oliver is huge and if he can get this the attention it deserves fast and now, then more power to him. because this needs to go nationwide. and there isn't a second to lose. because we are losing people we love to diseases borne of bad nutrition. and it starts when you're young. and it's perpetuated in the schools. and we need to change that. now.
it is that spirit that i bring you this installment of your moment(s) of zen. please know, it's 43 minutes long, so watch it when you have the time to spend. because it's worth it, and it's important. and please, watch it with your kids.
Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution Fridays 9/8 c ABC.