Eat You UP

9 Apr

There’s that song out by BoA called Eat You Up and I couldn’t help but think of the new Jamie Oliver show on ABC called Food Revolution, wherein, Jamie tries to salvage the city of Huntington, VA from literally consuming itself.  Closer to home than Texas, this city was recently labeled the most obese in the nation.  As a Northerner/Midwesterner, we/I like to think that the truly obese reside in the South which I guess includes Virginia but geographically it’s too close to home for me.  As Jamie tours the public elementary school’s lunchroom, kitchen and classrooms you immediately get a clear picture of the deterioration of food education in this country.

I was fortunate to grow up in a family where my parents were both college and graduate school educated who valued food, taught and exposed us to all types of food even in utero.  So when I watched a little boy look at a potato and have no idea what it is, then look at a french fry and know exactly what it’s called I almost barfed.  In a world where a french fry counts as a vegetable in public school lunch programs, it’s pretty easy to see why Michelle Obama is dedicated to reform and raising awareness.

Eating well has become a moniker for the privileged.  However, eating well did not used to mean expensive, it meant eating fresh and local.  The advancement of fast food, processed snacks, beverages and the industrialization of the meat market has created a vacuum into which marketers and large companies stepped in to offer up cheaper substitutes.  When you read literature on families living with Welfare, part of the discussion is overwhelmingly devoted to feeding the family and the choices available to them: it should be a crime that a liter of Coca-Cola is cheaper than a gallon of milk — this marketing targets the underprivileged and inflates the obesity numbers and unhealthy in our country.

Besides putting me on the verge of tears, Jamie Oliver’s show made me give thanks for the progressive stance of my private elementary and middle school.  Obviously as a private school they are not as subject to the strict dietary and regulatory guidelines as public schools.  In the heart of the most visited national park in the States, the school has always put kids and food education together starting in preschool up through eighth grade, advocating local foods and sustainability.  Now they sport a “Living Machine” which serves to clean the school’s wastewater and a classroom to educate children in the greenhouse.  The challenge becomes greater when you move to urban schools who are not as fortunate to have a rural environment in which to learn.  Hopefully, with more education and the dedication of groups and individuals the heinous state of food in our schools can become a beacon of reform for the rest of our country.

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One Response to “Eat You UP”

  1. Jihan April 21, 2010 at 5:41 pm #

    konnichiwa, ah, ah, ah, ahhhhh. we danced to that song!

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