Monday, April 19, 2010

Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution: Cows Don't Produce Pink Milk

(Strawberry Milk by Ryan Smith)

Things are going well for Jamie Oliver in Huntington, WV. He has won over DJ Rod. He is known by the high school kids and elementary kids as Mr. Pea. He is making real head way!

One snag: Huntington's number one employer, Cabell Huntington Hospital, and it's person in charge Doug Shields, still need some convincing. If Jamie can make sure that Doug is on board he can get the financing necessary to sustain the program he has started. First Jamie has to convince them that not all reality television is bad. I have this conversation with my co-workers all the time. . .

Doug Shields hems and haws about Huntington being the "fattest city in America"- the survey and statistics were for five counties. Not just Huntington. HELLO! Huntington is there in the middle of it! Jamie didn't make up the statistics- the government did. He is actually trying to help, and they are just worried about their image. Not about the health of their community.

They ask Jamie "What help do you need?" and Jamie answers flatly, "$100,000." I expected that scene from the movie "Waiting for Guffman" where Corky St. Claire asks for money for his play.

The hospital "fat cats" seem to want to weigh his request. Now Jamie has to prove to them that his revolution is really working.

First Step: Changing the high school. Jamie calls a school assembly to apologize to the students for shutting down the french fry line. He tells them he wants them to be able to make the choice on their own. If they chose his food, he will be able to stay in the schools. If not, he will leave. He knows that teenagers, if told not to do something, will fight against it even more.

With fingers crossed, Jamie goes to the cafeteria. The line for his food is so long that the lunch ladies have to open a second line to keep up with the demand. The students have spoken. They are ready for change. Jamie gets to tell Rhonda, the RD, that he was a success! He wants to take over all four lunch lines and offer four different healthy choices. She agrees. "That's massive. That's epic!" he crows.

Second Step: Check on the elementary school. That means having to see his old nemesis, Alice. God, she is the WORST! I wonder if she is watching this and feeling like a heel. There are a lot of positive changes: The kids are using silver ware, the teachers are making sure the kids are eating their meals, and the food is fresh. Bad news: The pink and brown milks have reared their ugly, sugary mugs. Jamie counts the amount of kids that are drinking the sugar milk, and then goes to talk to Rhonda. She says the government just wants kids to drink the milk and get the calcium, regardless if it is sugary or not. Stoopid government.

One class going through the line only takes the white milk because their teacher told them that the white milk was the right milk. KIDS NEED TO BE TAUGHT THAT BEING HEALTHY IS THE RIGHT CHOICE! If you tell them, they will listen.

Jamie goes back to the high school for his big four line debut, only to be hit with some deep fried news. The fresh chicken he ordered for making BBQ chicken didn't arrive: Instead, the old school chicken fingers were delivered instead. Jamie has to think fast and decides to do Sloppy Joes instead. He is concerned that if the wrong food is sent to the school that the schools won't know what to do to fix the situation. But the four lines do well! Everything from nachos to macaroni were home made from scratch, down to the Ranch dressing. Jamie says his final goodbyes to the high school and his cooking gang, leaving on a high note.

Jamie's next stop is US Food Service to get to the bottom of where all the processed food comes from and what his options are. He meets Mark, who is the director and really nice guy. He wants to offer the schools healthier options and actually has those options available. All the school district has to do is CHOOSE the healthy stuff. The schools are buying the unhealthy things because they are cheaper. Cheaper=fatter. Jamie wants to work with US Food Service to get the right foods and under budget.

It is time to meet Doug Shields at the elementary school. . .so Jaime must make sure that everything is perfect! That means Alice is under control, the milk is under control, Rhonda is being helpful. Rhonda actually called the milk company to pick up the flavored milk, and even the delivery milk man says, "More sugar in flavored milk than there is in soda." Everyone knows!

To butter Doug's bread, he sends a local mobile food truck to the Huntington Hospital to fire up delicious and healthful lunches to the workers. The bison burgers looked amazing. . .my mouth is watering while I'm typing this. Doug seemed impressed with Jamie's efforts, and agrees to meet Jamie at the elementary school during the lunch rush. Now it's all up to Alice to not ruin it all.

Excited and scared, Jamie meets up with Doug at the school. All the kids laugh and smile, the healthy nachos are being eaten, the white milk is being drunk: It's going well! Even the school principle tells Doug that the children are BETTER BEHAVED with the new less processed menu. Then Doug goes into the kitchen to meet the lunch ladies. . .and they meet Alice. She sizes Doug up. She sizes Jamie up. She says some things the children won't eat. . .but Jamie has good ideas. The clouds opened up and a little ray of sunshine came out, forcing Alice's heart to grow three sizes bigger.

Jamie says goodbye to the ladies. . .and hopefully hello to a big fat check! The Revolution Continues!

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