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Jamie Oliver's "Food Revolution" 2011


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Last year we had a spirited discussion here about Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution when it debuted on ABC. Jamie's mission last year was to change the way the residents and the children of Huntington, West Virginia ate. This evening, the second season of Food Revolution debuts and Jamie's challenged to break the code of the Los Angeles Unified School District. Can he do it?

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This evening, the second season of Food Revolution debuts and Jamie's challenged to break the code of the Los Angeles Unified School District. Can he do it?

No.

I'd mortgage the house and bet it all on that one.

Who cares how time advances? I am drinking ale today. -- Edgar Allan Poe

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After watching tonight's episode, and the preview of next week's, I'm going to have to agree.

It's like nobody involved with food has heard of him there either.

Also, they get flavoured milk at school? Weird! ~20yr old memories of going to a storage room in the school to pick up a bunch of cartons of milk for the class are coming back rather vividly now.

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Had no idea this second season started to air. I guess I don't watch enough ABC shows these days to catch the promos for it. L.A. Unified School District is a much, much larger beast than the schools in Huntington, West Virginia. I'd really like to see a follow up on Huntington.

Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"

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Pink Slime......... :wacko:

I did a little googling after watching the show and am stunned. I am hooked for the season!!

"There are no mistakes in bread baking, only more bread crumbs"

*Bernard Clayton, Jr.

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Over the weekend I acquired the audiobook of Anthony Bourdain's Medium Raw. On the way home I listened to the chapter on the recovery of what used to be unusable beef to be sold as ground beef. Two hours later the same process was described on Food Revolution.

I may just have to make the time to grind my own...

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I was able to watch the first episode via Hulu last night. TiVo is now set to record the rest of the season.

it sounds like he initially had parmission from LAUSD to to this, then they backed out and cut him off. Anyone have details? I can flex my google foo if needed.

Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"

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I got the impression that Oliver was trying to strong arm the LA USD with his media clout and they didn't budge. NPR did an article on the show yesterday, getting the other side of the story. NPR Article.

L.A. officials originally turned down Oliver's requests to film in schools in an attempt to avoid the kind of conflict and drama depicted on reality TV. Spokesman Robert Alaniz says that last fall, the district was burned by the show School Pride, which did a campus makeover.

"What we ended up was with a bill of $106,000, taxpayer money, for work that they did — shoddy work they did," Alaniz says.

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I got the impression that Oliver was trying to strong arm the LA USD with his media clout and they didn't budge. NPR did an article on the show yesterday, getting the other side of the story. NPR Article.

L.A. officials originally turned down Oliver's requests to film in schools in an attempt to avoid the kind of conflict and drama depicted on reality TV. Spokesman Robert Alaniz says that last fall, the district was burned by the show School Pride, which did a campus makeover.

"What we ended up was with a bill of $106,000, taxpayer money, for work that they did — shoddy work they did," Alaniz says.

They also got burned by that Sasha Baron Cohen guy and his gay german guy movie. They filmed part of it at Birmingham High, my almamater, and used the school's football team in the shoot. There was some gay sexual innuendo or something involving the player that riled the parents up.

Edited by TheTInCook (log)
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  • 2 months later...

Joliver can be seem a little bit too worthy at times but here in the UK he certainly has more influence and was able to affect some change in the way school food was delivered in some schools. In essence it meant cajoling the then government in committing to a few extra pence per meal per child per day and training dinner ladies to to cook form scratch rather than reheat and serve which takes more time and therefore costs more overall.

That's just what happens when you outsource food provision to the cheapest bidder you don't often get the cheapest food but you quite often get the poorest quality. If you have kids in school this is a wagon worth keeping an eye on if not jumping on, I've only seen a bit of the US series but the chocolate milk looks like a commercial stitch up, fortunately vending and drinks machines were banned from UK schools quite recently.

Edited by antdad (log)
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I've been really disappointed in the show this year. In particular, in two separate episodes Oliver pushed a heavy girl in his class over and over again until she cried. You could see that's what he was looking for. Why does the word exploitative come to mind? He also seems completely oblivious to the fact that he's messing with the hamburger stand owner's livelihood. I'd love to see someone go into one of his mediocre Italian restaurants and offer to fix it on television for him.

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This evening, the second season of Food Revolution debuts and Jamie's challenged to break the code of the Los Angeles Unified School District. Can he do it?

No.

I'd mortgage the house and bet it all on that one.

oops.

"Life itself is the proper binge" Julia Child

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I find it absolutely fascinating that anyone other than agribusiness types is offended by Mr. Oliver's attempts to improve nutrition for school children. Then again, there are those (who don't need to be named) who are deeply offended by Michelle Obama's interest in nutrtion. Bizarre!

"Life itself is the proper binge" Julia Child

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A lot of kids will not drink unflavored milk. It ends up in the bin. If chocolate 2% milk gets some milk in them, so be it.

I'm a noon supervisor at an elementary school. A lot of the kids at our school won't drink the nonfat Chocolate milk they offer either. There's usually anywhere from 6 to 24 cartoons of milk left on the table by the garbage bins every day, and the vast majority of them are chocolate. USDA requirements state that each student buying lunch must take either a milk of an extra serving of fruit/veg if they don't want milk if the school wants to be reimbursed for the meal.

I like most of Jamie Oliver's work, but this Food Revolution bull drives me nuts. He's a little too pompous about it, IMO.

Cheryl

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I had a cultural, I guess, question related to watching this. Does the UK not have unions that are simliar to US-style ones? I immediately realized that was part of his problem - most large unions (and CA is known for very strong public unions, particularly in the school districts) are going to have concerns and contractual problems with adding new tasks, and similiarly, the school will have problems with changing food suppliers due to existing contracts. He seemed to not understand the legal problems associated with what he wants to do. Is it that dissimiliar in the UK?

Joanna G. Hurley

"Civilization means food and literature all round." -Aldous Huxley

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I like most of Jamie Oliver's work, but this Food Revolution bull drives me nuts. He's a little too pompous about it, IMO.

I agree with you about the pompousness. I think his heart may be in the right place, but his manner is off-putting. My problem with him and some others who seek to reform the school lunch programs or just food choices in general, is that their goals are either utopian, unattainable due to costs or both. Stir in a healthy dose of the fact that Oliver is neither a dietician nor an accountant and doesn't seem to have a team of either he is working with, and you have a recipe for unintended consequences.

Edited by annabelle (log)
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I find it absolutely fascinating that anyone other than agribusiness types is offended by Mr. Oliver's attempts to improve nutrition for school children. Then again, there are those (who don't need to be named) who are deeply offended by Michelle Obama's interest in nutrtion. Bizarre!

Bringing politics in here? Really?

Anyway, I'm mostly 'offended' for two reasons.

First, he's a shrill propagandist. In the first episode of the second season in the US version, he was scaring kids by telling them that vanilla ice cream is made from cute lil' beavers. W.T.H.? Am I really supposed to believe that vanilla flavor manufacturers are going to give up cheap and potent vanillin and its derivatives and analogues, in favor of beaver glands? It just makes no sense on the face. If the company is making a cheap enough product that it's speccing vanilla flavor (as opposed to extract), they wouldn't use castoreum, for which there is no large commercial base. His claim also got debunked here http://www.vrg.org/blog/2011/06/17/beaver-gland-castoreum-not-used-in-vanilla-flavorings-according-to-manufacturers/

Second, he's learned nothing from his disastrous efforts in the UK. He keeps on going with that arrogant attitude of his, and it rankles.

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I find it absolutely fascinating that anyone other than agribusiness types is offended by Mr. Oliver's attempts to improve nutrition for school children. Then again, there are those (who don't need to be named) who are deeply offended by Michelle Obama's interest in nutrtion. Bizarre!

These people are offended by the notion that government thinks it can dictate what people eat. (I'm not one of them. Tax the hell out of fast food. End subsidies for corn and soy. Stop CAFOs. I'm fine with all that.) But I can certainly see their point. I don't want government telling me I can't consume raw milk, unpasteurized cheese or eat foie gras. So, I have the exact same attitude, but from the other side of the fence.

This is an educational issue -- the general public doesn't know jack about nutrition. They're not INTERESTED in learning jack about nutrition. And they're going to wallow in Jack in the Box, Hot Pockets and any other fat, sugar and salt-laden crap they can wrap their pudgy fingers around.

First we have to make healthy food less expensive than unhealthy food. This can be done by ending subsides. Farmers will plant more greens and less corn. High fructose corn syrup will go up in price, and drag a lot of unhealthy crap along with it. CAFOs will cost more to operate, which will hopefully drive a stake in the heart of the Dollar Value Menu.

Next, we have to reverse DECADES of thoughtless school lunch decisions. Ketchup is no longer a "serving of vegetables." Ban vending machines at schools. (Or sell only fruit and bottled water.) Make school cafeterias KITCHENS again, instead of junk food re-heating assembly lines.

Unfortunately, most kids have been weaned on a diet of garbage. And some of them won't eat anything else. Although Dickensian, I'd pull the junk-food-only kids out of the general population. Put them in special schools -- at least in metro areas where that is feasible. It's not like they're going to learn anything or amount to much. No point having them pull the rest of the students down.

Who cares how time advances? I am drinking ale today. -- Edgar Allan Poe

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A lot of why school lunches are so screwed up comes down to funding. I know that in our school district, the food services department is supposed to be self supporting. The district only provides funding to maintain the facilities and pay staff. Everything else gets paid for with revenue from meals and snacks bought, and the USDA reimbursements for free/reduced price lunches, and other subsidies.

The school district would have to probably double the price of the lunches to be able to provide the kind of lunches Jamie Oliver touts.. and our district actually has some of the healthiest school lunches in the area.

Cheryl

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My first thought when I see such intense discussion about school lunches is that the children have a limited time to eat AND play. They rush through their food so they can hit the playground. I can not conceive of lunch as a meal where children really appreciate their food. I think that has to take place in the home. Of course, if the food tasted better than the cardboard they usually get they might be more inclined to actually eat it, but from an educational stand point I do not see school lunch as the setting.

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I watched the most recent episode too and the food looked worse than pet food.

I have a friend that works at a grocery store and he was telling me that I would be shocked at what people are buying for their kids lunches. It was the end of school year and apparently the highschool kids decided a food fight was necessary, and it ended up closing the cafeteria for 2 days to be cleaned. He said the parents all came into the store to clean them out of pop, chips and frozen pizzas to make the kids lunches.

Nutrition and cooking is barely covered in schools these days and hasn't been for years...the school lunches are just the tip of the iceberg.

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