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MalachiSicerelli's Comments

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Can Jamie Oliver Save Us From Ourselves?

Commented Apr 4, 2010 at 11:08:11 in Style

“Tjntaw,

Jamie chose Huntington, WEST VIRGINIA because the Center for Disease Control found that Huntington had, only slightly, the highest incidents of diet-onset chronic diseases, and therefore, the most severe reduction in life expectancy of any other demographic area in the U.S. I agree with Shimari. Parents should take the responsibility of PROVIDING a healthy meal to their children if the facility food is of a poor quality. I would argue that a parent who takes the time to consider what to send their children off with for lunch is more likely to consider, more carefully, what to eat and hopefully cook at home for dinner. If we wait for change to from from the top, well, we may just find that we are left after our children have passed away due to diabetes and heart disease while we are still waiting.”

tjntaw on Apr 5, 2010 at 15:46:23

“I would add that I have trouble providing food under these conditions that are palatable even to adults, much less children even though my kids are getting great food at home, and make healthy choices when eating out without prompting. My kids eat things like hot, ground whole grain cereal with fruit for breakfast. We get farmers market and home grown produce -- some of my kids' favorite foods are quince, beet greens, and goat cheese. Will your kids ask for seconds of chard with garlic because it's so yummy?

But the school day is long, and kids need fuel at school. It's painful to hear that all they ate were the cucumbers and carrots, and they left the (rice bread) sandwich (which I'll admit usually resembles sawdust more in taste and texture than food by the time they can eat it).

Come to our school, Mr. Oliver! You'll find plenty of challenge, but you won't get the animosity.”

tjntaw on Apr 5, 2010 at 15:37:34

“(continued to shimari and Malachi)
Additionally, our area has pretty hot weather and backpacks are outside; erring on the side of food safety by packing food with very cold freezer packs or only sending the kind of food that won't be dangerous if it gets warm severely restricts what we can send (or be palatable even to adults at those temperatures - think, for example, of very cold brown rice, it's like cardboard). The kids have no opportunity to warm food in microwaves.

One of my kids is allergic to milk and wheat, further restricting what I can send, especially since bread I can buy or make isn't palatable if that cold or hold up well with even minimally damp contents. Cold packs can't keep other things COLD enough to be palatable. We do our best, and our kids are less choosy than most, but it's still a huge challenge. Often despite our best efforts, the food wouldn't be palatable for a minimally choosey adult because of the logistical problems.

Oliver, a trained chef, had trouble getting those kids to eat gourmet hot food. Our challenge is far greater, and you are preaching?

We put a huge amount of time into this issue over the years, in order to feed our kids considerably less well than if we had a cafeteria to make hot lunches.

My point again: we would kill for a cafeteria like those WV schools have, and would welcome Mr. Oliver and his mission with open arms.”

tjntaw on Apr 5, 2010 at 15:32:34

“To answer shimari and Malachi
We have taken responsibility. We made a huge amount of effort individually and collectively. You are preaching and glossing over the enormous logistical problems of individually providing palatable cold lunches to small children under the conditions we face.

We are proactive parents. We have tried to bring in an outside vendor to offer organic lunches once a week. Our PTA group on health is active, and the green team brought in compost and recycling bins so kids didn't have to trash everything in those disposable lunches, etc. It goes without saying we do our best to send delicious cold lunches from home.

But despite the relatively affluent demographic, we have many kids who need subsidized breakfast and lunch. The families who must or choose to buy lunches have only the terrible food Oliver highlights on his show.
(continued below or above, depending how the system works)”

tjntaw on Apr 5, 2010 at 15:11:25

“My apologies to the people of Huntington, WV for getting the locale of the program wrong. (Now I've seen it twice now -- did the producers cherry pick the shots or is it just that beautiful everywhere there? It makes me think of the John Denver song, "Almost heaven, West Virginia...")”