Jamie Oliver, a British chef, is apparently a big hit in Europe.  (Perhaps here, too; that I had never heard of him doesn't mean a lot.)  He has cooking shows, a Tupperware-style home party business, and has taken on school meals in England and the eating habits of an entire West Virginia city.  I find his flamboyant style annoying, and some of his information dated or controversial (e.g. demonizing saturated fat without mentioning the more problematic trans fats), but there is still plenty worth watching.  (H/T Janet)

Grandchild warning.  Forty-five years ago, my British-born Girl Scout leader explained to us some of the differences between the US and the UK when it comes to acceptable and unacceptable language.  Some words considered normal here were horribly offensive there, while certain words for bodily functions were unacceptable here but commonplace there.  She tried to clean up her language in deference to her adopted country, but sometimes slipped—hence the explanation.  Oliver's videos are best watched without grandchildren in the room.

Oliver's TED lecture on teaching children about food and good eating habits.  He's not a great speaker in this context, but I like the format better than the other videos.  He's a little too inclined to look into non-personal (i.e. government and business) solutions, but an important message nonetheless.  If nothing else, this one's worth it for the clip at 11:16 where he asks schoolchildren to identify foods in their natural state—and they are baffled by tomatoes and potatoes.

Posted by sursumcorda on Thursday, February 18, 2010 at 4:14 pm | Edit
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I thought the UK went metric decades ago, but apparently not completely. In watching the Eat to Save Your Life video it is helpful to know that 1 stone = 14 pounds or 6.35 kilograms.

Posted by SursumCorda on Friday, February 19, 2010 at 9:32 am

I'm not sure if your definition of "reality TV" is correct. The show is orchestrated by Jamie and though it does involve real people, they are not free to play their own roles within an established frame, which is more my understanding of reality TV. They can simply obey and make comments. I just thought I'd comment in case the label scares people off from watching.

Posted by Janet on Friday, February 19, 2010 at 2:55 pm

I liked the TED lecture the best. I agree that there was too much talk of what the government can do to change things and not enough about personal responsibility. However, I think that given the number of meals children receive at school, there are some changes that need to be made there.

The second set of videos was interesting, but I hate that theatrical nonsense. The way the M.E. was dressed and the staging. I thought his information was interesting, but could be delivered in a more straight forward manner. The woman in the bathtub full of fat? But, again, the show had some valid and important points to make. This is obviously Jamie's passion.

The last set of videos about the chickens was not as compelling to me as the first, perhaps because I had seen the conditions in Food, Inc. It is true, I had never really thought about what happens to the little male chicks, although, perhaps they made out the best in the end.

People's reactions reminded me of a trip to Mexico I took my freshman year in college. We were driving around and camping in new places each night (In hindsight, I do not recommend this). We would stop in a village to get ingredients for our meals each evening. One day our professor decided on chicken for dinner. He purchased a couple of live chickens, which traveled with us the rest of the day, and met their fate that evening. There were quite a few students who would not eat the meal that night.

At the end of this set of videos, Jamie shows the range of chicken products from cheapest to most expensive (factory farmed to free range). I think he is wise enough to realize that the jump is not going to be made from purchasing chickens at one end of the spectrum to the other, but advocates a step in the right direction. I did not watch it, but I saw that there was another video on Youtube titled something like "Why Jamie Oliver Hates the EU". My guess is that this has to do with the EU allowing even more chickens per square foot of cage. This makes it difficult for British farmers to compete and why educating the public is critical.

Will this change how we buy chicken? Honestly, it hasn't so far. I feel like I am in the fact gathering stage, although you would think I have enough information at this point. I think the real thing we need to change is our mindset. We do not need meat at every meal. If we reduced the number of meals with meat, then paying more for the meat we do buy would be more palatable (sorry).

Posted by dstb on Saturday, February 20, 2010 at 10:09 am

All the while reading the previous comment, I assumed it was S talking...until the final line. Either that's D, or S has finally been corrupted. ;)

Posted by SursumCorda on Saturday, February 20, 2010 at 10:51 am

It was S.

Posted by dstb on Saturday, February 20, 2010 at 9:06 pm
Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution
Excerpt: Janet alerted me to Jamie Oliver; DSTB followed up with what is apparently a new show on ABC.  It starts next Friday, but the pilot was shown last night; fortunately it's available both at the show site and Hulu, so I was able to watch it.  ...
Weblog: Lift Up Your Hearts!
Date: March 22, 2010, 9:35 pm