Samantha Gordine on why you should love Jamie Oliver just that little bit more
SOME OF you may be thinking, “Oh no, not Jamie Oliver again…” – and in many ways, you are right. You may not like what Jamie Oliver does, you may be bored with his constant attempts to save the world from becoming one gigantic fast-food rubbish dump. However, what he is attempting to do is no bad thing.
Back in 2003, Jamie Oliver launched his campaign, entitled ‘Jamie’s Schools Dinners’, which revealed the appalling quality of food served in schools in the UK. The government’s responded by establishing the School Food Trust to help educate children and young people of health and most importantly to improve the school dinners. Then again in 2008, Jamie established another campaign, ‘Ministry of Food’, which attempted to get beginners into the kitchen. A book and one cooking school in Rotherham later, Jamie is back again, and this time he’s aiming to conquer America.
His brand new initiative is known as ‘The Food Revolution’, which aims to change the way you think about food. The movement is not only supposed to change your life, but also that of several thousands in the US. It is a joint venture between the School Dinners and the Ministry of Food project. Its aim is to solve America’s food related health issues, as well as inspiring families to cook together again. Similar to the School Dinner project, Americans can join the Food Revolution by signing a petition, promising to keep the cooking skills alive for the future of the next generation and to improve school dinners. By the 18th October 2010, 620,547 people have come on board.
Enough about Jamie Oliver’s missions. I have my own little mission, writing this article. I am always shocked when I hear of kids not knowing what they are eating, not knowing where their food comes from, nor how it is grown. So, my aim was, to find out what we know ourselves. Most of us are students, generally on a low budget and always rushed for time. Often you hear that eating unhealthy processed food is cheaper; and when you are always busy, there is not an awful lot of time for cooking. I have therefore been asking a couple of people some questions about their cooking behaviour. With regard to how often people physically cook in a week, I got a whole range of answers; many said that they cooked all the time or at least more than four times a week, some only once or twice. With regards to the time constraints and cooking, most said that cooking was time consuming, yet fun. When asking about the type of food cooked, I got the whole range from pasta dishes to meat stir-fries and curries. In one of the answers, Peter Ricca added,“I try to eat healthily and certainly don’t live off sweets and pastries” and it seems that this rule applies to most of us.
My second venture was to find out how much we know about different types of fruit and vegetables. Most people were familiar with a wide range of fruit and veg, eating most of these themselves and being surprisingly well informed about cultivation of the ones I named. Only really exotic things I had been asking about like pak choi or guava were not well-known. “I’d eat them all if I can afford it or if it is offered”, says Samantha Hadley.
So the take-home message from this is: Yes, we students do cook, most of us quite a lot. Even though it may be time consuming, the fun aspect seems to be more important to us. However, we still can contribute to the Food Revolution. Actually, as students from a variety of different countries, we are in a unique position to learn from each other. We should use this opportunity to learn and teach, contributing bit by bit to the bigger picture. So, take your pots out of the cupboard and cook!