Thursday, March 8, 2012

On seeing Jamie Oliver.

Last night I took my eleven year old out to the Regent Theater to hear Jamie Oliver.  

He spoke with Mat Preston about food, consumption, corporation, government, diet-related deaths, and the fact that these deaths outnumber those from lung cancer, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, that it is the number one killer of adults in first world countries. We are setting up an even higher statistic with rising obesity in children and type-1 diabetes.

It is frightening. What hope do you have influencing your child's food choices when on every major street corner the golden arches stand, my children recognized M as their first letter because of a fast food outlet.What hope do we have of teaching our kids, healthy choices when there are big brains out there vying for a corner in their lunch box, when even the healthy choices like yogurt are packaged, disneyfied and sold for way too much. Everything that can be has been packed and then packed again for the lunch box, made smaller and sold for more money.

He spoke of the adversity and the enormous challenges he has faced trying to change people's eating habits.
Jamie, spoke about his drive and reason to push for change in the UK and the US, The adversity and the enormous challenges he has faced trying to change people's eating habits.

I have always admired Jamie's  passion for food and his use of celebrity hood to make positive changes in schools, in families and in his numerous foundations. His books are well thumbed and stained in my house and he has been an inspiration to me.  I love that he is giving out so much, instead of riding on his fame and brand to just sell his books. He said he had all that he wanted, that he didn't need the big mansions or to be sailing around in a big boat, he realised he could use his position to make change related to food, because the government wasn't, nor were the big chains or fast food corporations.

Food is one of our basic fundamental needs, yet there are so many strings being pulled in all the wrong directions to get you to buy and to spend, to supposedly make your life easier. Unfortunately it all comes down to money, greed and waste when really it ought to simply be about nourishment, nurturing the bodies basic need for good fresh food and it ought to be ritualistic too.

I came away from Jamie's talk inspired to:

. Hassle my local MP for better education in our schools relating to food, including better regulations for fast food chains, supermarkets and advertising.

. Visit more farmers markets, pick your own farms, see where food comes from, it's fun, it's usually a day out and it's educational.

. Get my older children out into our vegie patch more, involve them in the planting, watering ,and care of plants.

. Encourage, Phoenix (my 8 year old) to eat raw vegies. crazy I know considering all my other children do, and we have a vegie garden.

. Aim to have less waste, less packaging in the house.

. Restucture my shopping so as I can shop as local and direct as possible without going to the big chain supermarkets.

. Make a menu plan and shopping list, involve Aaron in this also. It will help us to save money, food waste, packaging and it will encourage him to be a part of cooking more as he is always complaining he isn't, and so as I am not running around at 4.30 ransacking the cupboards for dinner ideas.

. Sit down together to dinner more often, bring back the Sunday brunches.

. Consider more chooks, we love our one fresh egg a day from our solo chook.

. Ask my children's school why they are running the Stephanie Alexander kitchen garden program but are not doing anything to promote healthy eating regarding packed lunches, when my four year olds kindergarten has one. Shouldn't we care what kids eat beyond five years of age. I worked as a childcare cook, I know the expectations of parents and the centre on you to provide good food. Yet all of this is lost when children hit primary school and are swapping food or seeing that other kids are bringing entire packs of Tim Tams to school.

. Write and share some of my own lunch box recipes in my blog. I am no stranger to lack of time and energy, I am a mother to four for goodness sakes. I understand how it can be difficult, in fact making your own everything aint easy. Also I hate making packed lunches, but I do it to the best of my ability because I care about what my kids eat.

.Teach my kids to cook more. I still refer to my Cookery the Australian way book from year seven, I learned how to make, Sheperd's pie and Tuna casserole, these two dishes are a staple in my household because of home economics in high school.

Jamie is advocating, teaching kids to cook 5 meals before they are ready to leave school at 16.

Think about it knowing how to cook is power, power means being able to choose, being able to look after yourself,  it will save you money, make you healthier and lets be honest cooking will earn you big brownie points with girlfriends, boyfriends, wives, husbands, kids even. (I have been given so many compliments from kids, it always just tickles me pink every time, they are meant to be the hardest to pleas

 I love food and I want to make sure I am,  respecting it's value, where it came from, how it was made, what's in it. I am taking it back to basics and simplicity. I am making as much from scratch as possible because I can and because I love the ritual of it all.  I  want to share my knowledge and skills with my kids and anyone that will watch and listen.

I will share more on my food and what we eat here if it will inspire others.


  1. I love it when you share! Thank you for the blog Samantha xx

  2. You're totally right - and I suspect your kids are already well on the way to healthy eating patterns. We get our kids to pack most of their own lunches and it is so frustrating sometimes when we offer them beautiful fresh fruit, veggies, nuts and seeds; and they list the junk food their peers get. They like the green beans and almonds from home, but then they also want what their friends have. I'll join you in a healthy lunchbox push at school - if everyone's compelled to have good food, then the peer pressure for overpackaged junk is enormously reduced. alison.

  3. This sounds like a great night out with your daughter. I also admire Jamie and all his incredible work. He is so passionate and motivated when I am sure he could easily retire! Great post, thanks for sharing.