Stuff that pops into my head. Innit.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Jamie Oliver

Last night everyone's favourite chef who's tongue is slightly too big for his mouth embarked on a new challenge.
The USA. Not all of it -that would be silly- he took on the task of transforming the diets of the children in the (officially) fattest town in America - Huntington, West Virginia, a town where fully half of the population are clinically obese.
No, I've never heard of it either.
From this starting point, he means to transform the American diet from top to bottom, but it won't be easy. At the local radio station where Jamie launches his campaign, they resent his interference on principle. "We don't want to sit around and eat lettuce all day," says the presenter, who appears to be one of those lucky people who makes a living out of being pissed off all the time. Nice work if you can get it.
Jamie's revolution begins at Central City Elementary, where the dinner ladies are serving 450 schoolchildren pizza for breakfast. The kitchen is incredibly well appointed, but the equipment is used exclusively to heat up frozen food.
Hang on a minute, who the hell has pizza for breakfast? And why are the kids having breakfast at school anyway?

"Hmmmm, Breakfast"

If you happen to know the answers to those questions, do let me know.
Anyway, he set up mission control in the kitchen of an elementary school, where the cooks, led by an unpleasant biddy called Alice, looked about as pleased to have him in their midst as they might a Mexican bird-eating spider. As Jamie grew more indignant at the "crap" they were serving the children,  Alice and her gang got crosser and more defensive. Irresistible forces meeting immovable objects usually yield good telly, and so it was here, but it was uncomfortable viewing too, not least when our hero, unused to such antagonism, broke down and sobbed and when Jamie's other project in the town, the Edwards family -who feature a 12 year old the size of a Volkswagen- ceremonially buried their deep fat fryer and all made a salad for dinner.

Oliver often seems tremendously cocky, hugely pleased with himself, and yet remains immensely engaging. That's pretty much the image he projects here, too, but here we're seeing a less familiar vulnerable side, which I fully expect will make him even more popular, adding yet more momentum to the Jamie marketing juggernaut.
Nevertheless, it was brave of him to take on the Americans and their addiction to junk food. Whatever happens in Huntington, it's an unwinnable battle. But it will be fascinating to watch him fight it.

"Huntington?, Yeah, bruvva, it's great"


Laura H said...

Jamie Oliver infuriates me.
He wafts in on his puffed up cloud, utters his holier than thou opinion, offers a few 'solutions' that have no long term viability and then wafts off on the same cloud, leaving the faint smell of condescension in his wake.
great TV though. :)

fizzee rascal said...

I actually think his heart is in the right place even if his head is not always up to the job in hand. I think he genuinely wants to help people, particularly kids.

French Bean & Coffee Bean said...

The guy who did the "Supersize Me" documentary actually hails from West Virginia (in 2002, it was the third fattest state in the nation).

I have NO IDEA what that "pizza" is supposed to be, but it doesn't shock me that, as a child who was used to the crap served in public schools, would be a menu option. I sincerely wish Oliver the BEST of luck as tries to tackle American obesity. So much is at stake and, ultimately, people only change when they take the initiative and do it themselves. And, yes, that means eating lettuce willingly. Sad, but true.

-French Bean

Miss Melicious said...

I'm not sure if its how he talks (the whole lisping thing) or the names of his children, but there are a zillion other cooks I'd rather watch. But I agree, his heart is in the right place.

Nate said...

This miniseries has already aired in Australia, it was pretty good =)

fizzee rascal said...

I thought I'd seen it before, but it was marketed as brand new. How odd.

Miss M, I'd rather watch JO than Mario Batali, or Gordon Ramsay or most others. Except Tony Bourdain I guess.

Mrs Midnite said...

My nephew goes to breakfast club at school. Hopefully means he gets one good meal a day, his packed lunch is a joke!

I wonder why Jamie went all the way to the US when Scotland is still deep frying anything found in the cupboards. Deep fried lettuce, yum yum

fizzee rascal said...

Mrs M, I suspect the fact he's there rather than here is purely down to potential audience/ratings.