If you watch network television, chances are good that you've seen a preview for a new show: Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution. It debuts on ABC on Friday, March 26th at 9:00 p.m. eastern time. I'm looking forward to seeing the show. In the previews, Jamie is taking on the lunch ladies at schools in the United States and challenging their ideas of nutrition. One particular teaser I saw showed Jamie verifying that french fries count as a vegetable choice. The lunch lady confirmed that french fries are, in fact, a vegetable.
Our country has a big problem with food. We eat too much junk: too many calories, too much fat, too much cholesterol, too much sodium, too many ingredients we cannot pronounce or identify, and too much of our food is made behind closed doors.
Have you taken a look at an elementary school's lunch menu? My children's lunches for next week are as follows:
Monday: Cheeseburger with pickles, Potato Wedges, Sweet Peas, Fresh Fruit, Chioce of Milk
Tuesday: Corn Dogs, Baked Beans, Carrot sticks with dip, Fresh Fruit, Choice of Milk
Wednesday: Turkey Sub with Lettuce and Tomato, French Fries, Green Beans, Fruited Jell-O, Choice of Milk
Thursday: Pork with Stir-Fry Vegetables, Steamed Rice, Fortune Cookie, Fresh Fruit, Choice of Milk
Friday: Meatloaf with Ketchup, Scalloped Potatoes, Broccoli, Chilled Fruit, Choice of Milk
Now, that doesn't look too terrible, right? Until you dissect it, the food looks halfway decent. On Monday, the Sweet Peas will be canned and heavily salted and peppered. Why they pepper elementary school students vegetables is beyond me, but my girls won't touch them. Also, peas are a starchy vegetable, just like those potatoes. There should really be greens in there somewhere. On Wednesday, fruited Jell-O. Fruited Jell-O. That's the fruit selection. Thursday and Friday look surprisingly good, except that listing the ketchup probably means they consider it a vegetable choice. Everything is heavily salted. And nothing is made at the school. It's all brought in from an assembly line elsewhere.
I would like to see a return to home cooking in school cafeterias. I remember the delicious smells that would come out of my elementary school's cafeteria an hour or so before lunch began. It told my tummy that food was coming soon, and the food was always good.
Jamie Oliver is circulating a petition that he plans to introduce at the White House after his show is aired. Won't you go read it and sign it if you agree?
Meanwhile, I'm buying Bento lunch kits for my kids for next school year and making all of their lunches at home. For you, here's a yummy for your tummy, made with fresh ingredients and slimmed down quite a bit.
Slimmed-Down Straw & Hay
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup finely minced onion
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 cups 2% milk
- 1 cup 1/2 & 1/2
- 1 cup parmesan cheese
- 1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/2 lb proscuitto, shaved and sliced very thinly
- 1 cup frozen green peas, slightly thawed
- 1 lb egg fettuccine
- 1 lb spinach fettuccine
- Bring two large stock pots of salted water to a boil.
- Meanwhile, heat butter and olive oil in a large saute pan. Cook onion one minute, then add garlic and proscuitto. Cook and stir five minutes.
- Add milk and 1/2 & 1/2. Cook and stir until barely simmering. Stir in parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Stir constantly and cook over medium heat until sauce is thickened.
- Stir in peas at the last minute. Sauce temperature will cook them.
- Cook fettuccine al dente. Drain. Toss with sauce and serve immediately.