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Karen Barnabay wants to save our kids!


Daddy-A
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On Global news this morning ...

Local Chef Karen Barnaby has chimed in on the recent debate over "junk food" in our schools. She's offered to work with school boards and the government to create a new "healthy" school lunch programme to help wean kids off sugar.

In the feature on TV this morning, she showed the reporter a pizza made with a chicken & brown rice crust, all veggie sauce, and some sort of cheese (she didn't describe it), a casserole made from spaghetti squash, and a sheppards pie type thing.

BC Education Minister Shirley Bond commented that while she welcomes any ideas, the "Jamie Oliver" concept may have worked in the UK it may not apply here. PRESS RELEASE on the government's latest stand on junk food in schools.

Thoughts?

Is Karen Barnaby the person to do this?

Would your kids eat a spaghetti squash casserole?

Please keep the discussion on the LOCAL aspects of this issue ... e.g. Karen Barnaby.

A.

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Is Karen Barnaby the person to do this?

Why not?

Seems the rest of us; parents and caregivers are not fulfilling the task!

She has made a tremendous improvemet in her health....... :smile:

Edited by ~cayenne~ (log)

"If cookin' with tabasco makes me white trash, I don't wanna be recycled."

courtesy of jsolomon

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I like Karen Barnaby - her cook books are fun and usable and she has great food voice. My only issue is I think that she is all about the Atkins diet. Now cutting down and sugars and carbs is a good thing (he says as he looks in the mirror) - but as Julia Child says "everything in moderation, including moderation".

Otherwise - I think that local chefs get involved with feeding kids. What can be wrong with serving fresh local ingredients - as much as possible. My understanding is that the approach is generally cost effective (or at least cost neutral) even compared to the Sysco approach.

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Canucklehead what are you thinking! When Jamie tried to beat the syscos of the world he failed miserably. In BC's situation we do not have near the population density of England so it will cost us more. As for using regional local crap( isay crap becuase you know it will be leftover from what restuarants and local grocery stores have gotten first) that drives price up. There is obvious reason why syscos are prevalent, they are cheap! I dont wish to throw my support behind the syscos, but it seems this chef is just going for publicity. I never once ate a school mean let alone a whole year of them. We dont really do the school meal thing in canada, rather bag lunch, lunch box etc...

Jamie Oliver originally boasted he would create a meal for 19pence which was the same or close to what the syscos charged. At which point the government would have to act. Unfortunately or not, it ended up being 59p a meal not including drink. This low figure was only achieved due to economies of scale. Furthermore isnt children getting fat a parental thing why are we letting this be pushed onto government, we should take responsibilty. Worse than that in my opinion is the fact that children get less exercise. Yes, ultimateley Jamie was succesful but do you think it will be considered the tide turner on obesity in the UK?

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I like Karen Barnaby - her cook books are fun and usable and she has great food voice.  My only issue is I think that she is all about the Atkins diet.

Actually, I think she's fond of low-carb dieting, as opposed to being a full-fledged Atkins pimp. Plus, it's a personal choice of hers and while there have been low-carb options at The Fish House, there were always plenty of (ahem) higher-carb options to be had as well.

She's great for championing this, widely recognized, an awesome character, and full of passion, talent, charm and whimsy. In fact, some of those dishes on the show had carb-content so I fail to see where you see an issue...

k

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In a previous life (10 years ago) I was involved with a Hot Food program for Eastside elementary schools. The rationale was that a hungry child can't learn, and we contracted with the VSB to supply 1500 mainly hot (Friday was sandwich day) meals every school day. Menu choices were set from month to month, and the children, where possible, would pay the school $1.00 per meal. We had lots of fun moving this amount of food, but there were some obstacles that Ms. Barnaby and others should to be mindfull of.

Because we were supplementing the work of the cafeteria staff, they chose to put up roadblocks where ever possible. The favourite was food temperature, and they would constantly report supposed infringements of their newly learnt, but poorly understood HACCP program. The food itself was under surveillance non-stop. The meat sauce was too red; the meat sauce wasn't red enough (hang on! its marinara sauce today!); the soup is under/over/not-at-all seasoned; the chicken fingers are too soggy; no, they're too crispy etc. etc. There was no pleasing these staff.

The VSB is not a great client to have to deal with. The inter-office, inter-departmental squabbles were not a thing of beauty, and derailed several improvements we wanted to make.

The food? It had to be hot, it had to be customer-friendly. Considering the client profile, if it wasn't something that was readily recognizable it wasn't eaten. We were very aware of the nutritional requirements at play here. For many kids this was the only square meal of the day. Monday and Friday were the biggest dispatches for us, framing a weekend that might not involve much of substance or goodness on a plate. I believe the schools provided for those students not able to afford the meal.

Cost was a major factor in the tendering and delivery process. The VSB didn't have any budget for 'frills', and I'm sure they've less now than back then.

Is Ms. Barnaby the person to do this? Not if she thinks elementary school children are going to stuff themselves with brown rice crust pizza and spaghetti squash.

John

"Venite omnes qui stomacho laboratis et ego restaurabo vos"

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I applaud Karen Barnaby for taking a leadership role in tackling this issue in Canada. I don't think Oliver failed at all, considering how much publicity, discussion, debate and newspaper spin-off articles that his efforts inspired. If he showed the real cost of healthy food, then it makes everyone aware of that reality. Access to healthy food is becoming more and more a class-driven issue and it's about to get worse before it gets better as our stocks of fish become depleted and the Agricultural Land Reserve gets smaller and smaller.

The school my son goes to has a soup program at lunch to supplement bag lunches. I'm not aware of schools in the city who have cafeterias, so some others can enlighten me on that point. This is an issue at the university level here though, especially as companies like Cocoa Cola move in and try get students to drink pop instead of water.

I guess I feel that governments and parents have to take responsiblity for these issues, since a purely market driven atmosphere will inevitably lead to students falling prey to the branding practises of Junk Food Inc. I for one, am committed to working within the school system to educate children to make healthy food choices. This needs to be worked into the provincial curriculum from a very early age.

We have to buy local regional food, because if we don't, it just won't be available to only the very rich, or it won't be available at all. This is a very complicated thing to teach to a five year old child, and I struggle with it daily. I'm saving newspaper clippings related to this story so that I can create a scrapbook for my son so that he can follow along at some point and become a champion for local food as well.

Not every parent in Vancouver can afford to buy local organic food for their children. Not every parent can afford to buy food for their children, so I think there needs to be a healthy school lunch option available where it is needed.

Zuke

P.S. Lucy's blog has a very eloquent post on the importance of buying local and regional food, from an interesting perspective which I highly reccomend.

"I used to be Snow White, but I drifted."

--Mae West

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If not every parent can afford to buy organic you think the school board should? Even though that is utopian it would still come down to the tax base. The money for this program would have to come from somewhere.

As for Jamie failing i dont think he failed as a whole but in what he set out to do, he did. He promised a 19p meal, he delived a 59p meal. The government in england spent around 600million dollars cdn to do this. All be it in canada this number owuld be less due to population but in porportion it would be higher. As for university students being subjected to junk food inc so be it they are 17+ they should be able to make their own poor decisions. Or maybe we should realize alcohol is bad for us and ban that too, along with smoking. For that extreme matter how bad for our health do you think the majority of meals served in restaurants are for us. A good deal of flavour comes from fat, so say goodbye to sauces, duck, marbeled steaks. it is essential that society focuses on exercise. Of course we can ask the government to solve our problem but how many times has that created more problems.

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  A good deal of flavour comes from fat, so say goodbye to sauces, duck, marbeled steaks. it is essential that society focuses on exercise. Of course we can ask the government to solve our problem but how many times has that created more problems.

Yes, I agree with you here. We do need to focus on exercise above all.

A great deal of flavor does come from fat, but that's just one aspect of flavor. I also think that fat has become demonized, to the point where people because hysterical about eating any fats whatsoever, which is unbalanced. I think the culprit is over-processed food, whether it's pringles or "healthy" veggie salami.

I also don't think "the government" should solve the problems, but I don't see a big seperation between "us" and "the government". In a democracy, we are the government. Voting is the tiniest part of democracy. We are all responsible for the maintenance and progress of our society. We are responsible for working alongside elected officials to create an environment that is not dominated and shaped by corporate market forces. I know I am an idealist, but I can't stand what's happening to our food systems.

I would like to hear what the university students in this forum think of the food that's available on campus and the debates around these issues there.

Thanks for your input 300rwhp, I like discussing these issues. I appreciate your point of view.

Zuke

"I used to be Snow White, but I drifted."

--Mae West

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More importantly, I think children (and their parents) need to learn basic cooking schools. From an instructional viewpoint, think how much better off kids would be if they knew how to make a basic stock (there's not much that's more economical than a fish head or some chicken bones) - and add/improvise from there. Junk food is expensive.

Memo

Ríate y el mundo ríe contigo. Ronques y duermes solito.

Laugh, and the world laughs with you. Snore, and you sleep alone.

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She's great for championing this, widely recognized, an awesome character, and full of passion, talent, charm and whimsy.  In fact, some of those dishes on the show had carb-content so I fail to see where you see an issue...

I don't have an issue per se - I am a fan of Karen as is pretty clear from my post. But she is big into low carbs - I watched on City Cooks cooking from her cookbook Low Carb Gourmet. and the cooking seemed very Atkins to me (Splenda appears in alot of the desserts). Regardless - all I am saying is that there needs to other nutritionists involved whatever actual process comes from this.

Canucklehead what are you thinking! When Jamie tried to beat the syscos of the world he failed miserably. In BC's situation we do not have near the population density of England so it will cost us more. As for using regional local crap( isay crap becuase you know it will be leftover from what restuarants and local grocery stores have gotten first) that drives price up. There is obvious reason why syscos are prevalent, they are cheap! I dont wish to throw my support behind the syscos, but it seems this chef is just going for publicity. I never once ate a school mean let alone a whole year of them. We dont really do the school meal thing in canada, rather bag lunch, lunch box etc...

... Furthermore isnt children getting fat a parental thing why are we letting this be pushed onto government, we should take responsibilty. Worse than that in my opinion is the fact that children get less exercise. Yes, ultimateley Jamie was succesful but do you think it will be considered the tide turner on obesity in the UK?

I agree that the ecomonics of this may be fuzzy - and I have heard conflicting things on this issue. The "Super Sized" documentary (I use that word pretty loosely) cited a couple of small school districts where they were able to make it work ecomonically as well. However - I think that both sides of the argument can supply facts and figures accordingly.

I also agree that everyone needs to excerise self responsibility in taking care of themselves. However I think saying that government has no role in educating and providing choices to those that otherwise would not be able to eat in a healthy way is a little harsh.

I am all for an open and free economy - but I also recognize that while the free market will give us the most efficient solution - it is not necessarily the best solution for people.

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I don't have an issue per se - I am a fan of Karen as is pretty clear from my post.  But she is big into low carbs - I watched on City Cooks cooking from her cookbook Low Carb Gourmet.  and the cooking seemed very Atkins to me (Splenda appears in alot of the desserts).  Regardless - all I am saying is that there needs to other nutritionists involved whatever actual process comes from this.

And I'm sure there would be, I was just referring to the question of her being the figurehead of the whole thing.

And of course she was strictly doing low-carb appearances when she was pushing her low-carb book, but Dude!, she also has 7 other titles out there that ain't low-carb.

k.

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And of course she was strictly doing low-carb appearances when she was pushing her low-carb book, but Dude!, she also has 7 other titles out there that ain't low-carb.

k.

Dude - I've got a couple of the non-low carb ones myself (they make good bedtime reading). I wonder though - how often she cooks for herself from the other cookbooks since she dropped 70lbs? Regardless - she would be good to drive this... I was thinking about which other local chefs would be good. Somehow I can't see Feenie, Hawksworth, or Vij spooning out school lunches (ah but what lunches they would be!).

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There is obvious reason why syscos are prevalent, they are cheap!

Wow!!

This is such a misnomer- Sysco seems cheap on the surface but they are all about prepared foods. I have done food costs on them and it is cheaper to go to places like yen brothers.

steve

Cook To Live; Live To Cook
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we live in a market economy aswell where market forces determine price, which in practice seems to often go with democracy. I think that education is the right choice, as for school providing lunch, how many still do ? Many of you have kids or know people who do, how many of them recieve lunch from school rather than taking one with them. Also to what degree does the school provide the lunch, is it a cafeteria that makes it or breaks it on its on or is it a cafeteria where it is subsidised so as to provide an option to students, or is it free for all who want it?

As for making this economical no problems with that but lets be honest it would not be local organic produce and regional cuisine. I can not see the majority of people expecting that the kids eat better at school than they do at home, especially when it costs them money be it out of pocket or taxes. I really can not see this being a real issue. By real i can not believe that this chef is taking upon herself becuase she sees this as a scourge destroying our youth. Beyond that we just got out of teachers strike do you think support for spending more on students food and not on teachers is wise?

I am by no means some corporate loving peon, but i do see a need for priorities and when i think to myself in canada is lunch food an issue a resounding no flashes. The reason this was a success in the UK and may be in america is due to the large amount of students who recieve their meals from the school. It is also important to understand the history of the UK lunch system. It started out as cooked and prepared meals in the school by a chef, the reason that changed was becuase school boards and politicians saw places they could save money by employing mass production. These cuts were made and stood for decades. In america Jamie will have the most success in changing the food pyramid scheme and through that there will be a change in diet.

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i dont see it as a misnomer in comparison to preparing a meal in school it certianly is cheaper to use outsourcing. You simply can not rap economies of scale if you produce in house. Your food costs will be higher than the guy who produces 50000 meals to you 1000

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we live in a market economy aswell where market forces determine price, which in practice seems to often go with democracy.  I think that education is the right choice, as for school providing lunch, how many still do ? Many of you have kids or know people who do, how many of them recieve lunch from school rather than taking one with them.  Also to what degree does the school provide the lunch, is it a cafeteria that makes it or breaks it on its on or is it a cafeteria where it is subsidised so as to provide an option to students, or is it free for all who want it?

These were questions that were running through my mind when I saw the Barnaby story this morning. My oldest son only just started being able to buy his lunch at school ... and the cafeteria there isn't much more than a place that makes fries and re-heats pizzas. I know there are inner-city lunch programmes, but I don't know how many schools (percentage wide) offer them.

A.

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As for university students being subjected to junk food inc so be it they are 17+ they should be able to make their own poor decisions.  Or maybe we should realize alcohol is bad for us and ban that too, along with smoking.  For that extreme matter how bad for our health do you think the majority of meals served in restaurants are for us. 

Certainly adults have to take responsibility for themselves, but speaking specifically of universities the issue is a bit more complex, for instance the recent fracas at UBC was when - Coke? or Pepsi? - negotiated a deal with the University Governors (against the wishes of the Student Union IIRC) which included removing some of the school's water fountains and installing vending machines all over campus. Deals like this also forbid competition, which means that whichever Beverage Omni-Vendor gets the contract is the only supplier students can buy from. Does adulthood also confer the privilege of choice? What about when your educational institution takes away that choice?

The problem with this scenario (and many others) is that it benefits the university economically while hurting students. Students at all levels are considered a captive market for vendors, and educational institutions should not be colluding with such companies to herd consumers towards particular consumption streams.

Sorry if this is OT.

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I agree with Zuke that this is somewhat an issue of economic access. The fact is that processed food is cheaper than whole food. Pop is cheaper than milk or juice, etcetera.

The fact that Jamie did not manage to meet his cost is well... I guess I am just floored by the fact that the UK gov't thinks 19p is an appropriate cost to feed a child. We are meeting the same issues here... junk food purveyors are finding their way into the schools at an alarming rate, partly because schools are turning to corporate sponsorship to replace an eroding funding base. Anyway who is willing to fight this battle has my support. I wish Karen Barnaby every success.

This is an important dialogue, and I am glad we are having it.

Ann

The sea was angry that day my friends... like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli.

George Costanza

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OK everyone, here's my point of view. Thanks to all of you who gave words of support. :smile:

I want to help create deep, long lasting change in the way that children are eating. If junk is pulled out of the schools, kids will just find another way to get it. At the 7-11, and at home. The point I was trying to get across – which was edited out - was that the whole family has to be involved with the change. You just can't yank all the foods that kids are addicted to and expect them to say "Wow! It's great to eat healthy food!" Like any good addict, they'll find a way to get it. The plan I’m proposing is a slow change with lots of support. There’s no point to changing food in schools if daddy takes them out for ice cream as a reward for being good, or they see mommy binging on chocolate. Their parents need to be eating the same way.

I realize that "addict" is a loaded word. A lot of people are going to react unpleasantly to it. Not all kids are addicted, but a lot of them are. If your child is brilliant and witty one minute, then having a meltdown the next, what did they eat for breakfast? When was their last sugar fix? Or as an adult, you’re on the top of the world after your Frappucino and banana bread, then full of self loathing an hour later. Addiction is brain chemistry, not weakness, or low moral character. Change the brain chemistry through food, and everything else changes.

BTW, I'm "pro" to foods that have nutritional value. And 300rwhp, I get enough publicity. I eat the same way I’m proposing that kids and their parents eat. The way I ate made me a sick person, but I discovered that changing the way I ate could make me well. I love to cook, and that hasn’t changed, just the palette I’m working with. When I talk to people about how I eat, I see their eyes glaze over with fear. “Ohh, I could never stop eating chocolate - or white bread, or ice cream, or pasta, or crème brulee.” they say in a quivery voice. What you want to eat does change. I don’t miss or crave anything.

Will it be expensive? Yep, it will be more expensive than what exists in schools or at home today. But it’s worth it in the long run with the amount of illness that children will encounter as adults if they are not supported in learning how to change. How much does a 40 oz. Slurpee cost?

but as Julia Child says "everything in moderation, including moderation".
With all due respect to Julia, she probably wasn't an addict. Try telling a junkie that. :laugh:

Karen

Edited by KAB (log)
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^ Thanks Karen for your point of view. I agree wholehartedly. The change begins at HOME, where parents and children have to make the conscious effort to THINK about what they are putting in their bodies.

I crave green vegetables when I have maxed out on too much meat and starch. My body tells me this. Don't listen to hunger and quick fixes; listen to your body.

God...I sound like a hippie. :hmmm:

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OK everyone, here's my point of view. Thanks to all of you who gave words of support.  :smile:

I want to help create deep, long lasting change in the way that children are eating. If junk is pulled out of the schools, kids will just find another way to get it. At the 7-11, and at home. The point I was trying to get across – which was edited out - was that the whole family has to be involved with the change. You just can't yank all the foods that kids are addicted to and expect them to say "Wow! It's great to eat healthy food!" Like any good addict, they'll find a way to get it. The plan I’m proposing is a slow change with lots of support. There’s no point to changing food in schools if daddy takes them out for ice cream as a reward for being good, or they see mommy binging on chocolate. Their parents need to be eating the same way.

I realize that "addict" is a loaded word. A lot of people are going to react unpleasantly to it. Not all kids are addicted, but a lot of them are. If your child is brilliant and witty one minute, then having a meltdown the next, what did they eat for breakfast? When was their last sugar fix? Or as an adult, you’re on the top of the world after your Frappucino and banana bread, then full of self loathing an hour later. Addiction is brain chemistry, not weakness, or low moral character. Change the brain chemistry through food, and everything else changes.

BTW, I'm "pro" to foods that have nutritional value.  And 300rwhp, I get enough publicity. I eat the same way I’m proposing that kids and their parents eat. The way I ate made me a sick person, but I discovered that changing the way I ate could make me well. I love to cook, and that hasn’t changed, just the palette I’m working with. When I talk to people about how I eat, I see their eyes glaze over with fear. “Ohh, I could never stop eating chocolate - or white bread, or ice cream, or pasta, or crème brulee.” they say in a quivery voice. What you want to eat does change. I don’t miss or crave anything.

Will it be expensive? Yep, it will be more expensive than what exists in schools or at home today. But it’s worth it in the long run with the amount of illness that children will encounter as adults if they are not supported in learning how to change. How much does a 40 oz. Slurpee cost?

but as Julia Child says "everything in moderation, including moderation".
With all due respect to Julia, she probably wasn't an addict. Try telling a junkie that. :laugh:

Karen

I'm so thrilled to see your response. Everything you wrote makes absolute sense. I just pray that you can get your message out to the greater public arena. I have a feeling that economic and cultural issues are one of the strong effects on how the children ultimately consume their foods, and might be one of the difficult areas to address in general, location wise and accessibility to those responsible (through meetings and forums) wise. How long term do you see this process needing to be effective? I'm guessing in reality every year that it is not in effect is exponentially increasing the diabetes and obesity concerns. Plus, any increased incomes to the providers of the Cokes and Pepsi's and fried foods....... :huh:

I think the battle that you and others who care have is with the industry that promotes it through commercials (producing a profitable commercial garners huge money) as well at certain major food corporations.

It's pretty obvious to us in a certain age group how the general childhood obesity and health in general has changed; we used to mention, -- gosh look at the "ones" to the south; ..... now look at us and even the fairly new arrivals to the country.

I guess if the smokes don't get them, the companies have to have another way of getting the revenue. :sad:

"If cookin' with tabasco makes me white trash, I don't wanna be recycled."

courtesy of jsolomon

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OK everyone, here's my point of view. Thanks to all of you who gave words of support.  :smile:

Yet another Chef "uncloaked"! Welcome Karen! And thanks for your input!

What I'm wondering is how effective you feel you can be through the BC school system. I may be way off base here, but my impressions are that there are not a lot of school lunch programmes in our system, at least not outside of the high schools. How can you affect change outside of the schools? Do you feel Shirley Bond and the current government will work with you (or anyone else for that matter) or will you always be fighting the "budget battle"?

A.

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What I'm wondering is how effective you feel you can be through the BC school system.
Oh, barely effective at all. :laugh:
How can you affect change outside of the schools?
What I want to do is start with a small study group of parents and children. Once they understand the relationship between food --> mood --> overall well-being, they'll be the ones championing the cause. The program has to grow slowly to be effective.

I not only want to save your kids, I want to save you too. :smile:

Karen

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