Tuesday, June 28, 2011


We love to watch Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution. He’s so endearing, with his lispy cockney indignation and his passionate loathing of the damn man. It’s a great series, opening up interesting avenues of conversation about what is or is not healthy for the growing bodies in this and many households. Much of Jamie's focus is on the issue of school lunches. 

Before I go on, allow me to pause and tell you that I. Hate. Packing. Lunches.  With a heat that burns like the sun, I loathe trudging into the kitchen while everyone else in my family lies snug in their beds, ignoring all of my preliminary warnings to get up or else. So I can’t quite claim that I’d never allow my kids to eat the slop that is being showcased on Food Revolution if it was available to us, at least a few times or so each week. In fact, I’d be likely to sanction their feasting on twinkie coated lardcakes if it meant that I didn’t have to pack lunches one day.   

But I digress, because I am down with the revolution! An overhaul of the thinking behind our organizational planning of cafeteria foods is warranted, to be sure. Especially before next year, when my kids will attend a school that actually serves food! Yeeeeehaw!

My kids eat pretty well, overall.  They’re active and interested and we’ve always preached a culture of moderation (margaritas don’t count). Junk food is okay in our house, but it shouldn’t be all that we eat and we live by the credo that our bodies should be moving and working, preferably outdoors. We’ve been receiving weekly boxes of organic produce from a local farm, and it’s uplifting to see that not much goes uneaten. We tear through the oranges and strawberries and scallions and carrots and basil, and the tomatoes hardly last a day.  

And then there’s the kale.

I want to like the kale, I do. It’s a superfood! It’s super! But it’s also fairly vile, or I’ve yet to find the magic formula. I thought I had it the other day, a friend coached me on how to make kale chips by tearing the leaves into bite-sized pieces, then tossing them with olive oil and coarse salt before baking them into crisps. I did it. They looked like I thought they should look, they were crispy. And vile. The kids tried them, my husband refused. I tried to be a role model, but that worked out about as well as the time I told them to watch me use the self inflicted waterboarding bullshit medieval torture device neti pot because it was no big deal. Just as I found it impossible to drown myself without gagging, I found it impossible to eat the kale chips without making a face like I’d taken a big whiff of something foul. It just doesn’t taste good.  

Now I’ve gone and trash talked both kale and neti pots, effectively eliminating my hippie following.    

But I stand by my convictions. Good food is good, bad food is bad. Our definitions of those standards surely differ, but it doesn’t take much more than common sense to figure out that the stuff that makes you feel better probably is better. So if twinkie coated lardcakes ever make me feel better than the way I feel when my kids ask for more of the tomato and basil salad I packed in yesterday’s lunch, so be it. But I’m not holding my breath.  


Lisa S said...

"margaritas don't count." That line might get me through this work day...

Me, You, or Ellie said...

I can't believe you have effectively eliminated your hippie following!

Thanks for cutting mom's who do have the very convenient and much cheaper option of letting their kids buy the vile school lunches a break. It is tempting. Especially when u havn't been to the store in a few days and the pantry is space.

Great post!


Me, You, or Ellie said...

Or sparse. I cannot see well, it's 105 plus and blindingly sunny.

MomC. said...

kale is right up there with parsnips and cabbage and turnips - all the veggies that made my childhood a nightmare. Say thank you to me for never making you eat them (along with oatmeal).... love, mom

Me, You, or Ellie said...

And brussels sprouts! Thank you, mommy.



Me, You, or Ellie said...

While I agree that kale chips are vile -- and the neti pot? Never have; never will -- I do adore kale in its garlic-and-olive-oil incarnation. Frankly, I adore anything in its garlic-and-olive-oil incarnation. Including brussel sprouts. Roasted in a hot oven with olive oil? Totally yum. Especially the one time Mistah put so much olive oil on them and roasted them for so long they tasted like french fries. Those were some serious-ass brussel sproutfries.


school lunch slacker in PA said...

can't help you with the kale, but my father-in-law believes that you can put anything in olive oil and garlic and that makes it edible...at least that's what he does with dandelion. (something I went my whole life picking, but not eating)

Love that Jamie Oliver and LOVE my kids' response to the "what a chicken nugget really is". They had already given up most fast food after I made them watch Fast Food nation, but his show was just icing on the cake.

I'm a "everything in moderation" kind of parent, and have active kids with a scrawny gene-pool, but this show makes me feel like we're health nuts.
And for the record: Beth's dad ROCKED the school lunch, but it would appear that my mom did a better job, according to Jamie...and yet Beth has better exercise and diet habits than moi, so...there's more to life habits than school lunch :)