Monday, April 26, 2010

Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution: SEASON FINALE- "Anarchy in Brown Paper Bags"

The American Revolution lasted from 1763 until 1781. The French Revolution was from 1789-1799. Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution? Six episodes. Yes, season one of the Food Revolution is only six glorious, hour-long episodes documenting Jamie's three month stint in Huntington, WV to get people on the right track with their kids eating habits.

What happened in those three months? You can check out my other Oliver related posts, but in a nutshell Jamie worked on one elementary school, one high school, one public kitchen, one family, one radio DJ, and one hospital administrator. There are 27 total schools in the Huntington area. Jamie has his work cut out for him.

He is feeling good about where everything is before he leaves- he has family in England that needs some attention- and decides to throw the city of Huntington a Food Revolution Festival. Everyone that he has encountered on his journey is there, and money man Doug Shields presents Jamie with an $80,000 check to provide "sustainable food systems for all schools" and a $50,000 check for Jamie's Kitchen, which Jamie renames Huntington's Kitchen. Even mega country music group Rascal Flats performs for free because they believe in the revolution.

Jamie says goodbye to Huntington and hello to a cross country media blitz. He promotes the revolution on Oprah, Rachel Ray, Larry King, and David Letterman. He wins a TED prize for all of the work he has done and continues to do.

So, we can close this chapter and wait until next season, right?

Cut to April 12, 2010. A very sleepy Jamie gets off a plane, back in Huntington. Things in Huntington have taken a nose dive and Jamie has come back to try to stick his finger in the dam.

The problem? The USDA food that RD Rhonda had ordered for the 2009-2010 school year is becoming a massive stock pile because they have been serving Jamie's food in the schools. Rhonda wants to start "Processed Food Fridays" where the chicken fingers and pizza will be served only one day a week. Parents aren't buying the school lunch, and packing their children's meals. "Well, that should be a healthy option!" you might be thinking. Jamie discovers Lunchables, chips, cookies, candy, high sugar drinks, even MCDONALDS in the kids lunches. The pink and brown milk has returned.


The USDA creates the options that public, government funded schools must eat. Rhonda even says, "It's really cheap." Only $3 can buy an entire case of food that feeds a dozen kids. So what exactly are the USDA guidelines for the school lunch program? According to the website:

"School lunches must meet the applicable recommendations of the 1995 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which recommend that no more than 30 percent of an individual's calories come from fat, and less than 10 percent from saturated fat. Regulations also establish a standard for school lunches to provide one‐third of the Recommended Dietary Allowances of protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, iron, calcium, and calories.
School lunches must meet Federal nutrition requirements, but decisions about what specific foods to serve and how they are prepared are made by local school food authorities. "

1995? 15 years ago? Haven't things changed? And the Food Pyramid is all well and good, but I don't know how colored milks fit into that pyramid. And now for the conspiracy theory portion of my blog: The government wants us to be sick because everyone except the sick benefit from the money that is spent to try to keep us well. If we were healthy and well we would only have to worry about the REAL illnesses (cancer, MS, etc.) and not health related illness (obesity, type 2 diabetes).

After Jamie observes the brown paper bag situation and senses that the parents and other schools need to be informed and involved, actively involved in their children's health, Jamie utters something I never thought I would hear," I NEED ALICE."

Lunch Lady Alice has become a supporter of the revolution and realized that cooking fresh instead of frozen was not as hard as she had once thought. Jamie and the band of lunch ladies load into the car and drive to other schools to spread the word and invite everyone to a Revolution BOOT CAMP. Jamie needs to spread the word to not be afraid of change.

The boot camp, held at Pastor Steve's church, has an amazing turn out of teachers, principals, lunch ladies, parents and kids who want to learn. It is sad to see the amount of overweight families in the crowd. . .but also awesome because this is when true change can occur. Jamie urges everyone to "not give up on their kids". He also talks to Rhonda and convinces her to cancel her order for next school year's processed food and promises to help her swap out the stock pile of crap for healthy food. The USDA needs to change, and next season I think we will be seeing Jamie moving higher and higher up in the ranks to see that a lasting change can be made.

"This is not the end," Jamie promises. Are you convinced? Make sure to sign the petition and talk to your schools and your kids. GET INVOLVED.

I support the revolution.


  1. I signed the petition! is it dumb that I got goosebumps at the end of the show lol

  2. NO! I totally teared up during that ending montage! :)