You’ve got to hand it to Jamie Oliver who’s all over the TV and Press today. He’s driven what was a small issue right up to the top of the pre-election agenda. He gingerly picked his was through the political minefield, keen not so much to apportion blame but to focus on the pence per portion on the plate.
Dressed in a nice suit, and stumbling gracefully through a Downing Street press conference, he was a far cry from the happy daze kula shaker mockney naked chef of the late 90s. I found his answers to journo questions strangely refreshing rather than PR processed fodder, I liked the fact that he seemed to be thinking of a proper answer, rather than using sound bites. For all his perceived arrogance, he comes across as someone who actually cares about what the Nation eats. And has consequently moved well clear of the TV chef herd to an entirely new league. It’s amazing to think the impact and coverage this has had when compared to say, Lloyd Grossman’s attempt to change hospital food. Channel4 must be loving it, so much so they’ve repeated the series as soon as it finished.
I remember being at school and the dinner ladies trying ‘healthy days’ i.e no chips once a week, and us all moaning about it. School dinners was just something to wolf down before going out to run around like mad. Towards the end of High School I remember taking sandwiches though, in fact the only time I got a detention was for starting a food fight in the canteen.
Perhaps in the future in addition to attendance and results records, (he’s my alma mater), schools will have nutrition reports too? As a wheeze I looked up the last OFSTED report (2001) on my secondary school, Cheadle Hulme High School, now called Cheadle Hulme College. They said:
There are insufficient rooms for food technology and as a consequence work is of a slightly lower standard than in other areas of technology because there are too many groups for the rooms available, which means that lessons have to be taught out of sequence so that students are designing products after they make them.
They are already paying attention to the detail that will improve the appearance of their work, so that when making a pizza for example they wipe away excess puree and arrange their topping in a decorative way.
Food Technology?! It was called Home Economics in my day, and training pupils to arrange toppings on pizza?! I asked my mum what sort of things I used to bring home, and strangely she had my sisters ‘recipe’ book within reach of the phone. So, we used to make things like, scones, bread, scotch eggs, lasagne, soups, curry, cottage pie, stew. etc. All using fresh ingredients from scratch under the careful eye of Ms Harvey.
And is it me or is the choir boy looking, Opus Dei following, science opposing Ruth Kelly (great pic on her own >homepage btw!) just a little bit odd? She reminds me of a bad clone of Winona Ryder in Alien Resurrection….