Fashion Show at Bill Wyman’s ‘Sticky Fingers’ restaurant, London
Jamie Oliver deserves the Nobel Peace Prize for Food. He is attempting to do more for health reform than any bill President Obama can sign into action with his campaign for healthy school lunches. Sure Tyler Florence made a valiant stab at it a few years ago, and Shaquille O’Neal challenged American youth to get fit, but Jamie Oliver started the movement in his native England first, and his sincere commitment, passion, and inventive methods of making an impact on students, teachers, and families alike will hopefully surpass past attempts on these shores.

Jamie Oliver dressed as a pea showing determination
How could you not root for someone whose been cut-off at nearly every pass with bureaucracy and stubborn taste buds, looking dejected, yet still willing to don a pea costume to win people over to a healthier lifestyle? I applaud him for his is refreshingly non condescending approach. He doesn’t need to do this… he already has fame and fortune from multiple cooking shows and cookbooks. OK, so he has a cookbook out with the same title, but can we put cynicism aside for a moment? I think he genuinely hopes to make a difference in people’s lives and ultimately the food industry itself. Our dollars are our votes. If we change our behavior and opt for more healthy, additive and preservative free choices… the food industry will have to change with our demand.

So far Jamie has cooked two school lunches that failed to entice, and spent time with students to teach them where their food comes from. Not one 6 year old student could identify a tomato or potato until associated with ketchup and fries… frightening! It also emphasizes the importance of reconnecting with our food sources.
Julie Anne Rhodes reconnecting with farmer and source
Next he enthusiastically demonstrated why they shouldn’t choose processed food while grinding up a chicken carcass, skin, and guts to form chicken nuggets; and even went into a family household, stocking their fridge with healthy foods and the recipes to use, to no avail. Then he did another effective demonstration for parents and faculty to convince them to encourage their children to eat healthy, and teach them… wait for it… to use a fork and knife!

Yet we still cling to being a fast food nation until forced to visit the doctor, and being shown that this generation of children will most likely start dying from diabetes and heart disease by the age of 30, if we don’t change how we eat. Making this, the first generation NOT to survive their parents. An aha moment, or what? How long can we bury our heads in the sand?

Tatjana Rhodes modeling Vivienne Westwood
The show airs on Friday nights on ABC, and as far as I’m concerned, should be compulsory viewing in schools, and for anyone still in the dark about the fact that grotesque amounts of sugar, fat, and fake food products we can’t even pronounce, are dangerous to our health.
We all need to model the right behavior, if we want our children to change, it starts with serving and eating healthy meals at home as well as demanding real food in our schools for our children. Let’s ALL join the revolution, make more effort to cook from scratch, and “pass on the love.”

Bread and Tomato Soup
This Tuscan soup is delicious – it’s a soup everyone should try. Just thinking of it makes me salivate! It’s a family-friendly soup – babies and grandparents (both without teeth!) can eat it with gusto. I’ve added roasted cherry tomatoes to my recipe but it also works really well just with tinned. The great thing is that it only takes 20 minutes to cook, so go for it! PS Use a stale white cottage-style loaf – not cheap sliced white factory bread.
Servings: 4
Ingredients:
  • 500g ripe cherry tomatoes (2 cups)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
  • a large bunch of fresh basil, leaves picked, stalks finely chopped
  • the best extra virgin olive oil you can find
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 x 400g tins of good-quality plum tomatoes (14.5 oz. cans)
  • 500g or 2 large handfuls of stale good-quality bread
Directions:
1).Prick the cherry tomatoes and toss them with one sliced clove of garlic and a quarter of the basil leaves. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, put them in a roasting tray and cook in the oven at 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4 for about 20 minutes. The reason for doing this is so that their flavour becomes intense and concentrated.


2). Heat a glug of olive oil in a large pot and add the remaining garlic and the basil stalks. Stir around and gently fry for a minute until softened. Add your tinned tomatoes, then fill the tin with water and add that. Break the tomatoes up with a spoon, bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes.

3). Tear the bread up into thumb-sized pieces and add them to the pan. Mix well and season to taste. Tear in the basil leaves and let the soup sit on a low heat for 10 minutes. By this time your roasted tomatoes will be done, with juice bursting out of their skins, so remove them from the tray, remembering to scrape all the lovely sticky bits from the bottom. Pour them into the soup with all the juices, basil and oil from the tray.

4). Give the soup a good stir – you’re looking to achieve a thick, silky, porridgey texture, so feel free to adjust it with a little water. Then remove it from the heat and add 6 or 7 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Divide between your bowls and serve with a little extra basil torn over the top if you like. The most important thing with this soup is that you have a wonderfully intense sweet tomato basil flavor.
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  • March 29, 2010
    12:25 am

    Ooh, I'll definitely try this one out and share the recipe with my son's vegan preschool teacher. I *heart* Jamie Oliver for all his shows and campaigns. He's so lovable, especially when he puts the finishing touches on a dish and says, "…and Bob's your uncle"!

  • March 29, 2010
    3:25 am

    Oh, we are big fans of Jamie Oliver in this house. He makes everything he cooks look so good, and so inviting. After watching him cook one day, my 15 year old daughter made some Leek soup that he had on his program for dinner, and it was amazing. More amazing: everyone ate it cheerfully.Same daughter just announced she set the tivo to record that program on Friday. :-)My kids were a little shocked reading that other kids couldn't id a tomato unless associated with katsup. I think the real issue with health has more to do with what is not going on at home. I don't think many families eat together, or enjoy food (real food) together much at all anymore. i know with my job, I'm busy too, but as you said, we have to model the behavior we want them to copy. When I have people over, it surprises me that kids (and some adults) turn their nose up at good food. We just had a birthday party here…homemade fajitas (birthday girl's choice)…and most of the kids were grossed out…it's just grilled chicken and red peppers on tortillas! Gross is what's in a hot dog…

  • March 29, 2010
    3:46 am

    Yes Suzanne… Jamie Oliver appears to be a very huggable Teddy bear of a chef who is as passionate about school lunches as he is about cooking. Coming from a Parents for Safe Foods background in England myself, I applaud all of his efforts on both continents!Kim… I love that your daughter is cooking his recipes, and I agree that we are failing as parents and resorting to the fast food fix all too often. But I also feel teachers should be playing an important role in this too. When Tatjana was in primary school she had a strict head mistress that never would have allowed poor table manners (least of all eating without a knife and fork), or dumping food they didn't want to eat. If it was placed in front of you… you ate it! Parents need to be better parents, and teachers need help educate too!

  • March 29, 2010
    2:41 pm

    Luckily Mia eats only healthy food thank to her mother who prepares fresh food everyday. Mia loves her pasta and vegetables and vegetables in general,fruits, fish,meat but she dislikes ragu.In 1999 I was in London I saw a mother in a fast food feeding her baby with french fries!!!Poor baby(aged like Mia) who didn't have teeth yet spit all the fries out.I love the way Jamie Oliver acts.He goes in first person to change things…very good job ; )Mia and I are enjoying your blog while eating an oatmeal cracker…she's so funny:she's doing bye bye with her hand (she learned it yesterday)to you…lolMartina D' Epifanio

  • March 29, 2010
    2:42 pm

    Martina… there just is not any excuse for parental ignorance like that… feeding fries to a child under one! All I can say is GO Jamie go!

  • March 29, 2010
    2:43 pm

    BELLISSIMA QUESTA FOTO DI JULIE ANNE E TATJANA INSIEME QUANDO TATJANA ERA ANCORA UNA BAMBINA…..TENERISSIMA…..PAPA' NICK DOV'ERA ANDATO CHE NON C'E' NELLA FOTO…..:P O FORSE STAVA SCATTANDO PROPRIO LA FOTO…..:)))))))))Claudia LeBon

  • March 29, 2010
    2:43 pm

    Not sure what you said Claudia, so I'll say thank you and hope it was nice.

  • March 29, 2010
    2:44 pm

    I watched the Jamie Oliver show too and was shocked at the kids reaction to the "chicken carcass nuggets" and to the fact that the six year olds did not know what a tomato or a potato were.Lisa Van Ore Thompson

  • March 29, 2010
    2:45 pm

    Jamie's recipes rock. I own several of his books, and I fully recommend his 'Ministry Of Food' and 'Jamie's Dinners' books. What I really like about them is that the recipes are clear, concise and easy to follow, and I don't have to have one hand stirring a pot while holding a wriggly 10 month old on my hip.In fact, I'm planning yet another full week of dinners from his books.I agree with you on the point that when we were kids, you either ate what you were given, or tough luck. I go on the same principle myself with my kids.

  • March 29, 2010
    2:46 pm

    Ok, I will admit it, I'm originally from WV, the northern part, not the southern part (gag) but I haven’t lived there in over 20 years. I was mortified by the reaction of the kids, the kitchen staff and others in the area. Jamie Oliver is a saint to putting up with their attitudes. I’m also surprised that the kids didn’t know what the different veggies were; after all, I figure there must be some gardens so kids should be able to see veggies grow. I took my 3 ½ year old to the grocery store Saturday and he knows most fruits and veggies.Suzanne Voelker

  • March 29, 2010
    2:57 pm

    Suzanne… I think EVERY state has it's quota of food ignorance. We are a fast food nation, and have gotten so disconnected from what real food is and where it comes from, that the food industry isn't supplying real, pure food much anymore. It can be overwhelming when you read books like In Defense of Food or watch Food Inc, but you have to start somewhere, and I think Jamie Oliver is making a great start.If as parents we would get back to cooking from scratch… we can teach our little ones what and where our food is from. They would love watching a garden you plant together grow (a great family activity on a weekend). If you have older kids… make them get involved in the cooking process… it is part of teaching them to be self-sufficient adults. That is what parents are suppose to do… teach and discipline, not just say yes because it is easier or quicker!

  • March 29, 2010
    3:01 pm

    well possibly the Nobel Peas PrizeJohn Altman

  • March 29, 2010
    3:02 pm

    Hahahaha ROTFLMAO John!

  • March 29, 2010
    3:10 pm

    This is a fantastic show and Jamie Oliver is amazing! He is doing a wonderful thing and I really hope that he can make a difference.Tina Beeman

  • March 29, 2010
    3:24 pm

    Too right Tina!

  • March 29, 2010
    3:25 pm

    Julieanne,I agree with your sentiments; but we need to really go after the food companies as a starting point. When my daughter started displaying horribly aggressive behaviours, we started investigating into food-related behaviour triggers and were horrified to discover just WHAT is put in our foods. — In fact, there are studies that have been done in Europe that are suppressed in North America because it would mean major losses for corporations. In fact, 3 out of 5 "diagnosed" cases of ADD/ADHD behaviours in children are a result of food additives and not the disease at all.Thank you for spreading the word.Tin

  • March 29, 2010
    3:40 pm

    Oh I am not letting food companies off the hook at all Tin, but it does start with our consumer dollar. We are sending them the message that we want cheap, easy, quick food so they are making it. If we start paying more attention like Jamie Oliver is showing us… we will start making better choices, our dollar will be showing that, and food companies will respond. The catch is we may have to be willing to pay more and give up the convenience we've become accustomed to.Couldn't agree with you more about ADD/ADHD being massively spurned on by addetives and preservatives in our food. In 1990 I was a founding member of Parents for Safe Foods… this is exactly the kind of thing we marched on 10 Downing Street about.

  • March 29, 2010
    3:47 pm

    I could not get over the fact that none of those students could identify the vegetables as well as not knowing how to use a fork and a knife together. That one extremely angry and snippy lunch lady, I think her name is Alice, needs a reality check and wake up call. She listens to nothing Jamie has to say.Tina Beeman

  • March 29, 2010
    3:47 pm

    I think Alice stands for most of America. We say we want healthier food, but are we willing to pay the price and give up the convenience? I sincerely hope so, but I think we will unfortunately come up against a lot of Alice's along the way.

  • March 29, 2010
    3:48 pm

    Thanks for the wonderful recipe Julie Anne! Looks delicious and I can't wait to try it. Just hope I can find some cherry tomatoes in England this time of year that didn't come from 1/2 way across the world. Kudos for Jamie Oliver! I wish more people would take him and his message more serious. I am appalled at how children are being brought up these days eating everything out of a box.

  • March 29, 2010
    4:16 pm

    Yes! you are right! xoDenise Vivaldo

  • March 30, 2010
    12:44 am

    I think you are right about Alice and most of America in general. I would hope that she would want what's best for the children she serves daily. She surely must know that chocolate milk and pizza for breakfast is not a healthy choice. With hard work, I hope Jamie can turn the school around. I love his dedication and enthusiasm. I could not stop laughing when he dressed up as a pea!Tina Beeman

  • March 30, 2010
    12:52 am

    Hi Jewels,Jamie gets a huge thumbs up from me. I watch him when I can on the food network and have a couple of his books. It's truly wonderful what he is doing and has been trying to achieve for a long time now. It a great "never give up" attitude which I love.Gob smacked how any child cannot tell the difference between a potato or tomato. As for that poor child eating fries under one years of age…..what was that mother thinking.As soon as my little Mia could eat solid foods I was right onto every vegetable you could imagine. It's wonderful how she points to carrots or broccoli everytime I mention where they could be. She is forever knocking on the fridge door or pantry (where the onions and potatoes are). This 15month old knows her vegies and I am proud to say she loves them too. Also when I make burgers at home I grate zucchini & carrots in my mixture. It's a good way to hide the vegies for those little ones that don't like to eat them (like my niece & nephew). Funnily enough, my husband hates zucchini however we have been together for 14 years (married for 4) and I have always grated zucchini in the burger mixture. To this day still, he has no idea but loves the mixture. Lol……see it not just children who hate their vegies. Lovely to see the photo of you and the farmer.We need to support our farmers at farmers markets. I find the fruit & vegies are far more fresh than supermarket produce as they are kept in refrigerators for long periods and are not so fresh.Great shot of Tatjana modelling Vivienne Westwood. So, so, cute.Take CareAussie Mum P.S. Soup looks great, will definately have to make this soon.

  • March 30, 2010
    3:15 am

    I agree with you 100% Julie Anne. We always have a garden gowning of fruit and veggies. Aleks, my son loves to help with it, nice to have little hands pull weeds. His favorite veggie is broccoli by the way. When he was 2, I bought him his own chef hat and apron so he could "help me" in the kitchen.One other thing I think that’s important is that my husband and I always make sure we have dinner at the dinner table, no TV, no toys, we talk to each other and have family time. And he does use a knife and fork Suzanne Voelker

  • March 30, 2010
    3:16 am

    Aleks also helps plan the menu for the week. He loves it.Suzanne Voelker

  • March 30, 2010
    3:17 am

    Aussie Mum and Suzanne Voelker need to be on the show to model what parenting and healthy eating SHOULD look like!

  • March 30, 2010
    6:59 pm

    I love veggies! Dinner last night was kale, zucchini and carrots sauteed in grapeseed oil served over fried rice and eggs. So tasty!Stephanie Quinlan

  • March 30, 2010
    6:59 pm

    I love to make pasta with lots of veggies mixed in. I use a high protien pasta so if my son is picky that day, he still gets a nutritious meal. Lasagna hides a lot. I puree spinach into the ricotta and he never knows.Suzanne Voelker

  • March 30, 2010
    7:04 pm

    Stephanie, your dinner last night sounded wonderful!Dorah Caulfield

  • March 31, 2010
    1:13 am

    amen sister. my kids have grown up eating what was served to them, they love all veggies and they dont eat chicken nuggets and fries and fish sticks like alot of there friends eat ALL THE TIME. I am stopping then from eating hot lunch at school because its gotten so bad they serve pizza and nuggets all the time.Mariah Monesmith-Kreider

  • March 31, 2010
    3:21 pm

    Hi Julie,first, ClaudiaLeBon up here commented on the pic of you and Tatjana modeling, and wondered where Tatjana's father should be then, guessing he could be the one who took that photo.this said, back to the topic: Jamie Oliver rules. I agree with you when you say children learn from what they see, and their parents are their first role models. This applies to food matters as well. Children need fantasy. Veggies are colorful and tasty, maybe they should be presented that way. I am vegetarian since I remeber. At 2 years old, I used to spit meat, couldn't stand the taste, but of course I'm aware to be an exception and don't really mean to convince anybody to cut or drop meat or fish. But when I was a very little girl, I understood where vegetables came from, because of my granma's home-grown kitchen garden, as much as I knew where the meat came from, 'cause she used to breed chickens and rabbits..and I just loved vegetables for that..and because vegetables were so tasty, fresh and happy: orange, yellow, red, green..I don't have children of my own, so I can't really talk on experience, but maybe if children could "play" with colours and shapes, and even try to set their own meal ( like composing a new salad, or cooking something funny ) as we used to do when their age ( in Italy this happened frequently ), I guess they could even associate the word fun to vegetables and to their meal time. :)Nicoletta

  • March 31, 2010
    7:17 pm

    Seriously! I live in organic, hippie central (Santa Cruz, CA) and even the schools here dish up Top Ramen, microwaved pizza and bagel dogs as if they're actual food items! Apparently it's pretty uncool to have your mom always pack a lunch in Jr. high, so I let her buy school lunch 2x per week… It's completely disturbing! I cringe on the days that I send her off without good food to eat. :)Kim Phillips Cuccia

  • March 31, 2010
    7:32 pm

    Hey Kim… We can't stop (nore do I think we should completely stop) kids from wanting to eat the junk they love… at least she is eating healthy 19 out of 21 meals a week. I'm still a firm believer in moderation. I'd be a complete hypocrite if I said I never ate anything unhealthy… I just try to make sure the vast majority of the food that crosses my lips is healthy. Hi Nicolleta… I like your approach to teaching kids that vegetables are colorful and fun, and totally agree that likes and dislikes usually start with how we perceive our food before ever tasting it.

  • April 1, 2010
    12:18 am

    Hey Jewels,I just had to share this with you.I made a huge batch of the soup yesterday and while cooking it up Mia went into hysterics wanting to try it. I kept telling her that it was not ready and that as soon as it was we would all eat it together.I cannot tell you the excitement on her face when the soup was placed before her. She loved it so much that she actually had a second helping. My husband loved it too as he is such a huge fan of tomatoes.So much gusto indeed. The stale cottage loaf is definately the way to go. So chunky, I loved it. Aussie Mum

  • April 1, 2010
    2:47 am

    Such a cute story Aussie Mum!

  • April 1, 2010
    2:26 pm

    Gwyneth Paltrow's blog "GOOP" may be of interest to you, especially her latest entry about Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution. I received it by e-mail today, but I see it is not yet posted on her blog yet. Here is the blog address: http://www.goop.com/?lan=enGOOP also has a Facebook fan page.Thank you for inspiring us! I love your blog! xo

  • April 2, 2010
    2:16 am

    I agree with you 100% Julie Anne. We always have a garden gowning of fruit and veggies. Aleks, my son loves to help with it, nice to have little hands pull weeds. His favorite veggie is broccoli by the way. When he was 2, I bought him his own chef hat and apron so he could "help me" in the kitchen.One other thing I think that’s important is that my husband and I always make sure we have dinner at the dinner table, no TV, no toys, we talk to each other and have family time. And he does use a knife and fork (Spiderman ones) Suzanne Voelker

  • April 2, 2010
    2:16 am

    Aleks also helps plan the menu for the week. He loves it.Suzanne Voelker