Having just finished watching the latest series I was stunned at the reactions and actions of the Los Angeles Unified School District`s to what he was trying to achieve. Their main gripe towards Jamie was that they did not want to be made to look bad on camera after the program(s) had been edited and aired. That the sole purpose of the program was to score points off of the LAUSD to further Jamie`s own career. Whilst I agree that the way programs can be edited to be in favour of one sides opinion it does not take a genius to work out that as a governing body they could have requested that nothing is aired until they have had chance to view the finished programs and given their approval. Anything that was not done to their liking or above board could then have been removed or put into the correct context. Their resistance to allowing a chef with a proven track record, on both sides of the Atlantic ocean, at improving the quality of food served in schools only highlights that they had something to hide and that big business rules above all in how we are allowed to live our lives and the lives of our children will be mapped out for future food choices, medical issues and subsequent medical bills.
In essence a continual conveyor belt of revenue for big businesses.
If we take a step back for a minute and look at the whole instead of just the parts we can see that the fundamental issue lies not just in knowledge but how to implement that knowledge into everyday life. Children are, or should be, taught basic cooking skills through their time in school. I went through it via “home economic” classes during high school. Yet on another level if we go back a few more generations the central figure within any household, the mother, would show their daughters, as their mothers had shown them, the basics of cooking for later in life as they married and started to raise a family of their own.
Now for a lot of today`s society my above comments would be classed as chauvinistic and outdated but it stands to reason that in a world were women have a greater choice in how they lead their own lives or have to work to help support the family income, the time to cook a family meal or to teach ones offspring how to cook goes out of the window and this knowledge / skill is lost in favour of easier / simpler meal options. Long gone, for a vast majority, are the cosy ideals of mother cooking in the kitchen with daughter(s) helping out at their side. This is a crying same but unfortunately a sign of the times. We are expected to lead a life that is running at 100 miles an hour everyday which inevitably will lead to trouble in the long term.
The calls over obesity are usually met with the same old tired trash churned out that people should exercise, diet, exercise and diet some more. Which is all well and good as both work in harmony to remove excess bodyweight but rarely do you see both being put forward together as a complete package.
But what is missing is not the program(s) to loose the weight for a large proportion of people out there but the ability to be able to put together a good, tasty nutritiously balanced meal on a daily basis. Looking at many internet forums a prominent theme seems to be is the lack of variety in food sources but also in the types of meals cooked. Most people still live by a weekly or fortnightly pattern of having certain meals on certain days. Long term this is going to lead to vitamin and mineral deficiencies not to mention a poor palate with people then being tempted to look for treats to make up for the boredom.
There is no need for food to be boring.
What I think needs to be addressed first and foremost at a school level is for governments to push for more expansive cookery based classes to not only teach children the art and enjoyment of good home cooked food but the sciences behind the foods we eat, how they affect the body both in the short and long term. This would not only benefit the children in everyday life but also those children who are heavily into sports who will require a more nutritiously balanced diet than their fellow students who don`t do as much physical activity. And if in the future these athletes are built upon a more solidly balanced diet which helps them become more successful then this can only inspire future children to follow them as role models.
In conjunction with food classes being pushed more and more at school level I feel that there should be more opportunities for adults to enhance their own cooking skills and knowledge. It is all well and good teaching the children but you can`t expect the child to then have enough ability to persuade their own parents to follow suit. If these “drop in style kitchens” were available countrywide with more options available for people to set up “cooking clubs” this would go a long way to cutting into the obesity crisis that is sweeping this country.
Without the knowledge and confidence to prepare balanced meals all the dieting and training programs in the world will only scratch the surface of this worldwide problem.
The cynic in me know is left thinking that once this article goes on-line they`ll be a deluge of health and fitness companies jumping on the bandwagon who`ll be opening up and promoting their own “cooking club classes” and that scares me, because you know it won`t be done right. And they’ll be pointless qualifications and certifications to go along with these “cooking clubs” which will only muddy and complicate the matter even further.
There have been enough recipe cook books produced over the last 100 years that there should be no excuses why decent meals cannot be put together. It just takes a little faith in your own abilities and if at first you don’t succeed try, try again.
Failing that why not go out to a respected restaurant that serves top class food instead of the local McDonald’s, to see and taste what good food is like.
I can guarantee you’ll be surprised at how the food tastes, how you feel after the meal has ended and how it’ll inspire you to want to cook food just like that yourself for you and your family.
Steven. A. Barlow, Co founder www.spartan-warriors.co.uk , co founder New Spartan Training Systems LTD and founder of Spartan Runners ” because we don`t just run” © 2011