Food Revolution: Tune In and Learn (Ugh)

Oh My Gosh.  The royal wedding is coming and I have nothing to wear!  I knew I was forgetting something.  This is the last time I let a Fresh Prince of Bel-Air marathon interfere with my life plans. I swear.  Well, I still have a little less than 48 hours to find a dress, book a plane trip and locate a hotel.  Not a big deal. I once caught a 9-pound salmon with nothing but some dental floss and a gummy bear.  Oh, now I’m being told by my assistant that I never actually received an invitation to the wedding. What?! I thought the royal wedding was like the Pope coming to town, you just show up and hope to see or hear something that doesn’t make you question everything about yourself.  Alas, I suppose this is for the best. I have an eyebrow wax on Friday that not even my growing unibrow can ignore.

Sticking with the British theme, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution has become somewhat of an obsession of mine (in case you missed the connection, Jamie Oliver is from England).  I wish I could say I’ve been a dedicated fan from season one, but truth be told I just got hooked on the show through Jon Stewart.  Jamie Oliver, creator, co-producer and host, was recently on the Daily Show and gave a first-rate interview about the issues he’s encountering in season two. Below is a link to the five-minute interview. Check it!

Let me start out by saying I HATE reality television.  You know that feeling you get when a couple talks about how awesome their new baby is? That’s how I feel when I watch anything even remotely resembling non-reality, reality television.  Don’t get me wrong, infants are great.  But sometimes parents talk about them like they’re already somehow better than you.  It’s like wait, I get it that your seven month-old just recited an excerpt of Tolstoy in it its original Russian, but I somehow managed to operate a moving vehicle before 11am this morning.  So take that!
All rambling aside, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution is reality television, in the sense that it’s actually reality television.  Maybe it’s not truly live, but the obstacles encountered are very real.  For those of you who are not familiar with the show, allow me to set up what’s looking to be this season’s premise.
Los Angeles, California is where he and his vegetable peddling crew have set up shop and intend to facilitate their activism this season.  The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) serves roughly 650,000 meals a day.  Oliver has set his sights massively high for trying to overhaul this school district with only one season under his belt.  The problem is, the school board (specifically the LAUSD superintendent) has said “No”.  Essentially, the school board has said they have “no interest in drama and conflict. At the same time, we have nothing to hide.”  Right.  That’s like saying I love a good Reuben but I hate corned beef.  My emphatic response to both statements is how? How is that possible?
Before any kind of revolution can begin, he must first gain access into the LA schools. Schools which he is currently not allowed to set foot inside.  In a nation where convenience is king, what do we do when this mentality infuses our school systems; a place where everything comes in a wrapper and at best, is served microwaved.  As Oliver says in episode one, “it’s like eating airplane food.” I don’t know about you, but two things stood out to me in that statement:
  1.  He is clearly only flying over the pond and back.  No weekend trips to Albuquerque.  Because I’ve got news for you, the last in-flight meal I received was back in the 90s on a trip to Hawaii with my parents.
  2. That’s disgusting.  Please imagine yourself having to eat airplane food once a day, five days a week.
To play the devil’s advocate for a minute, I can’t help but remind myself that we are in the middle of an economic downturn.  As some media sources report the whisperings of our great nation defaulting on its own debt, shouldn’t we just be grateful schools are still up and sort-of running?  To throw a hissy fit over lunch content seems rather juvenile when you consider the even worse consequences of school systems simply shutting down.  At the end of the day, a school has a budget too.
Allow me to close this post with the cliché that these kids are our future.  As healthcare costs rise and our baby boomers continue to age, what will we do when we have multiple generations who require increasing amounts of healthcare coupled with the potential limited ability to work?
“I think, basically, they don’t want me washing their [LAUSD] dirty laundry in public, which is fine if you own the company. But I’m a bit of a believer that when it’s public money and public service and your taxes pay for it, then maybe transparency is quite a good thing in a democracy. “ -Jamie Oliver
Preach it Jamie.
Check out Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution! Tuesdays at 8pm ET on ABC

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