Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Jamie Oliver or How I Almost Became a Vegetarian

My apologies for my lack of posting over the last three or four days. In between my “adopted” brother visiting, a massive amount of work, general tiredness etc. I haven’t had the urge to blog as much. Especially after watching “Jamie’s Fowl Dinners” last night and another documentary on how we eat wrong, too much, unhealthy and how farming could go back to organic if only the demand was there and the customer would dictate it.

Jamie’s Fowl Dinners first. We’ve all come to know and love Jamie Oliver. I am not sure he’s as famous in the US as he is here in Europe but I have seen enough of his TV shows and I find the “Naked Chef” very amusing and refreshing. He seems down to earth and he makes stuff that isn’t too fancy. Stuff that every average person can do, even if they aren’t that much into cooking. Over the past years I have enjoyed his tv cooking show ‘Jamie at Home' and I shook my head at ‘Jamie’s School Dinners’.

Apparently British Kids didn’t know the difference between an onion and a stalk of rhubarb anymore. Their school dinners consisted of processed food and most of them hardly ever had any vegetables at all. Jamie urged the administration to spend more money on school dinners per child and stop the madness with the processed food or parents would outlive their children in the near future. It was shocking and informative. You could literally see hyperactive kids go from problem child to calm and well behaved after they had a nutritious meal. They were more attentive and alert in school and not as aggressive and tired. After seeing how processed food was made and of what it consisted (in that case chicken nuggets) most of them were so disgusted that I didn’t know if I should laugh or cry.

Last night’s story was entirely different. Jamie invited an audience to a gala dinner in a television studio to educated them and the viewing public on the condition of rearing chicken and its true cost. The hubby almost wouldn’t let me watch it as he knows I get very emotional when animals are involved. Funnily enough I am no vegetarian. Go figure. Anyway after each table got a box of chicks the dinner guests then had to separate the male biddies from the female and then the box of male fledglings was brought forward and they were killed with carbon monoxide as they have no use (they get made into pet food etc.. Live. In the television studio. The audience was shocked as was I and I am sure my husband hated me for watching this, I was on the brink of losing it. Oddly enough I knew everything that was shown on the show. It wasn’t news to me but God knows that this was a wake-up call to buy the best welfare bird I can afford the next time we’re having chicken.

The show that followed after that raised another issue and while I agree that we need to go back to organic farming or we’ll all die of obesity or cancer or both, the demand has got to dictate the cost. And has that documentary showed so well the argument that organic farming costs much more because the harvest isn’t as big is absolutely void. At least in the European Union produce more food than we can consume. So if only organic farming was allowed we’d produce still enough food so nobody would have to go hungry and all the idly laying fertile fields could be used for farming. We could not only eat healthy but have less additives, preservatives, antibiotics or pesticides in our food.

The most interesting part was though that right now eating organic is just way too expensive. They sent out a mother to do the weekly shopping for a family of four and she spent € 481,- on organic food. That is a whopping $ 762,- a week! For a household of four! That is just f***ing insane! Normally you’d spend about € 100,- or $ 158,- and it seems that once again healthy eating and fresh organic food is for the well-off.

So I want to know now, do you buy organic food? Do you buy normal food? Do you try to shop for healthy food and you leave the processed stuff behind? If you had enough money would you go all organic or do you think it is a load of crap?

Jamie Oliver shows chicken to plate hell - Telegraph.co.uk
Jamie's Fowl Dinners page on Channel4
Know Your Chicken - blogs.menupages.com
Jamie's Fowl Dinners - official website
Jamie's School Dinners - Jamie's offical site
Jamie's TV Shows - Jamie's official site


Danielle A. said...

Steve and I buy a mix of organic and "normal" food. That said, we try really really hard to avoid foods that have partially/fully hydrogenated fats, interestified oils, HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup), and TBHQ. We haven't quite gone so far as the artificial colors/flavors yet, but when you're avoiding the other things you end up doing it anyways sometimes. We have done a couple of grocery trips to Whole Foods (US organic/natural foods chain) instead of a standard grocery store, and have found our bill ends up being $30-60 more in a trip as a result.

Melisa said...

Ooh, that "killing the chickens Live on tv" wouldn't have been aired here, probably. Jamie Oliver is pretty big here, and I had heard about his work with the schools: awesome!

With four of us in the family, it would be way too expensive, as you pointed out, to buy organic foods as a habit. So unfortunately, we have to eat the "regular" stuff. :)

If I had enough money, I wouldn't necessarily stick strictly to organic, but I would buy more of it, probably. (hard to imagine having that luxury! LOL) And I would shop at higher-end grocery stores, too, like Whole Foods or Trader Joe's.

Melissa said...

I try and buy as much organic as I can...that started when I went gluten free. We shop at Trader Joe's all the time and my local Super Target sells A LOT of organic and reasonable prices.

That said, we still do buy 'normal' quite a bit!

Mags said...

I read about the chicken thing-mixed thoughts about it from the chef world...as for eating organic, I don't go out of my way to do it. I do, however, strive to eat locally farmed foods by going to farmers markets. They usually translates into organic. i just can't afford that $30-$60 a week extra!

me & them said...

We're getting them aired at pretty much the same time, and as a result, myself, partner and two closest friends are ALL going on a diet, due to the sheer terror he has invoked in us all. It's not like we eat terribly at all - but I really want to cut out the bad bits I do occasionally eat, and be healthier all round.

I buy organic, free range eggs, and chicken where I can, but to be perfectly honest - it's almost impossible to buy organic anything on a budget, let alone find it. Having said that, I try as hard as possible to steer clear of processed foods, anything in 'vacuum packed' or plastic wrapping, and anything that's just not natural. Turkey Twizzler, anyone?