In an interview with Brit chef and self-styled food revolutionary Jamie Oliver, John Hockenberry over at the Takeaway says "I can't decide if you're the Kung Fu Zen master or The Beatles invading our shores."
What Hockenberry's referring to of course is Oliver's "Food Revolution," which began airing last Friday on ABC and has its second episode tonight. The conceit: Oliver visits Huntington, West Virginia, a town of 50,000 that ranks highest in obesity in America, and tries to change its eating habits through the entry point of the school cafeteria.
The reception Oliver receives is neither one a Zen master or The Beatles would expect. Instead of quiet disciples or cheering teenage girls, the chilly school lunchroom staff wonder just what the hell he's up to. I sympathized with them: after all, the idea that Oliver is launching a food revolution in the U.S. is, well, a tad overplayed, ya think? Regardless, he has a point to make, one which needs to be made given the sad state of our diet.
By the looks of it, Huntington is eating a lot of junk, through really no more than the rest of country. What sort of "food"? Pizza for breakfast at school, chocolate and strawberry flavored milk (which The Slow Cook pointed out was nearly indistinguishable from Mountain Dew), chicken tenders, followed by chicken tenders, followed by chicken tenders. The only real food on the school menu is the fresh-baked bread the school kitchen makes, most of which sadly ends up in the rubbish bin, as the Brits call it. Mashed potatoes form when water is added to a pearly substance. When Oliver makes roast chicken—gosh! real chicken, not frozen stuff—the staff is nearly in shock, but the kids don't bite. They go for the pizza, again.