I, for one, applaud him. From what I've seen so far on the show, he's not getting much applause. The "lunch ladies" are not applauding him – they are slightly offended. Nor are the kids clapping yet - some spit out the first healthy lunch he made. He is getting support, however, from local pastor Steve Willis of the First Baptist Church. I'm glad to see the church being the church and interested in the health of the community.
Chef Oliver is known as “The Naked Chef.” For the longest time I'd see his cookbooks in the bookstore with this slogan, and avoid picking them up. And I was a little confused when I heard about him working in the school kitchens. Then I learned he got that nickname because he likes cooking with fresh fruits and vegetables - minimal processing, not minimal clothing. Ohhh. Now I can safely flip through his cookbooks.
So maybe I'm not the smartest artichoke in the bunch.
Just before the airing of Chef Oliver's Food Revolution show...
my daughter decided - on her own - to give up school lunches for Lent in favor of packing healthy stuff from home. "Why?" I asked. "Because I have a slight addiction to the Pizza Cart," she explained with a sheepish smile. I noticed during Lent she also ate healthier at home without prodding.
Did you know the US government considers batter coated french fries a serving of "fresh vegetables?" That fact really got to The Naked Chef. It really gets to me too. French fries have been on the lunch list of "fresh" vegetables since 1996 under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act. They are considered fresh because they fall short of the govt. guidelines that would qualify them as "processed." If battering and deep frying something in oil doesn't qualify as processed, I can't imagine what does.
I also saw a news segment on TV a few weeks back revealing that much of the inexpensive ground meat used in school lunches and fast food burgers has been washed with ammonia in processing plants because it is a cheap way to clean it. Have you read the warning and usage labels on ammonia bottles? Again, I'm not the smartest artichoke, but I know not to wash food in ammonia and then feed it to kids.
Have mercy, I'm just a bundle of heartwarming food-news today, aren't I? I’m full of all kinds of reasons we should pray before we eat. But maybe we can do something about this. Maybe we can help convince the government we need better nutrition in the schools. These are the nation's future leaders we're feeding. If you want to put your name behind this Food Revolution campaign, go sign the petition Chef Oliver plans to take to the White House.
Meanwhile, Ann Cooper is an American chef and advocate of school nutrition who has made an impact in her area of CA.If you want to read her advice about things you can do at home to give your family better nutrition, here is an excerpt from her “Lunch Lessons: Changing the Way We Feed Our Children.”
And if you're interested in catching Oliver’s show, it airs Friday nights on ABC
Thankful for good food and Ann Kroeker's Food on Fridays.