Wednesday, October 26, 2005

You are what you eat

I was going to provide a link to this post, but if you need a little background, go to and type in "Jamie Oliver" in the search engine.

Our Jamie has recently been involved in a campaign to improve school dinners, which had basically turned into turkey twizzlers and chips. I remember on the TV the other day that there was an item on a school that had taken some of his advice and had started serving up "proper food", and the parents had been invited to watch. Apparently, the sale of school dinners had begun to decline (well, in that particular school anyway) as some of the pupils had refused to eat it, and were starting to bring in packed lunches. One disgruntled father stated words to the effect that it was a waste of time serving up food that kids won't eat, whilst looking at his son who was going as green as the broccoli he was looking at.

This tells me one very important fact - they are being served crap at home as well as at school.

Their parents were probably brought up on a diet very similar to mine. I ate school dinners (although secondary school did tend to provide chips with everything). At home, I was fed a good, square, lunchtime meal at weekends or during holidays. Chips, burgers and fish fingers were rare - only cooked very occasionally. I had a roast dinner on Sundays. Sometimes we had fish and chips and if I was very good, a share of my father's chinese spare ribs and chow mein on Fridays. As I started to earn more pocket money, inevitably I bought a lot of crisps, chocolate and fizzy drinks and my physique tells the tale of this. However, despite the rather high fat content, because my diet was basically balanced I am basically healthy. (The high cholesterol in my youth probably contributed to the fact my gall bladder was removed last year - though this can happen to anyone).

In one of his books, Jamie once bemoaned the number of mums he saw in supermarkets with trollies piled high with frozen crap food. He stated that he wished he could kidnap the kids and feed them a proper meal at home. The mums seem to have several excuses:

"They won't eat anything else" - Rubbish. I ate 'proper' food as a kid, and if I could eat it, AND enjoy it, so could they. The fact is, you've never tried, or never put in the effort to make healthy food interesting. Kids love spaghetti bolognese, which although not the epitomy of healthy food, can be balanced, can be made low fat AND is easy to make.

"I don't have time, I work during the day" - Look, I work too. I don't have kids and I admit I am one of the laziest cooks there are. If something takes more than 10 minutes preparation time in the kitchen I get cheesed off (pardon the near pun). I am very much a 'leave it simmering on the hob' or 'slam it in the oven and forget about it' cook whilst I go off and do something else. You're too busy watching Eastenders. You've got a video recorder, watch it later.

"I can't cook" - I got E in Home Economics. Not E for Effort, E for 'Extra Incompitent'. I learnt from an a basic cook book. If you can boil an egg without burning it, you can cook. All the recipes I learnt off by heart take about 5 minutes in prep and I can go and play 'Theme Hospital' on my puta until I smell burning er hem...its cooked.

I get just as peed off as Jamie when I see them in the supermarket, we're breeding a generation of unhealthy youngsters who will probably die before their time. Maybe it will be seen as another weird way of 'protecting our future' - there won't be one.


Ian Poulton said...

There used to be a great book back in the '70s called 'Cooking in a Bedsit'. It was by the cookery correspondent of the Observer at the time - can't think of her name. It was excellent.

Fiona said...

Katherine Whitehorn. No I'm not a book buff, but I do like Google :)