Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Even in School Italians Revere Their Food!

Jamie Oliver heads off to Italy to decompress after slogging his way through his British school series. Last night, in a repeat episode, he visited the poorest part of Italy and checked out what the state schools feed the kids for lunch. The head matriarch ensured he was gowned, masked, gloved, though he was able to get by without a hair net, before she allowed him into her kitchen. And this is what she told him:
  • Pasta and olive oil must be organic;
  • No choice, every child is served the same three-course meal;
  • The meals vary from day to day but always include fruit;
  • Nothing is fried, ever;
  • No burgers are served;
  • And if a ground meat dish, like meatballs is served, the cooks take a slab of meat and grind it themselves preparatory to making the dish.
He then quizzed the three-year-olds to see what veg they knew (British teenagers couldn't even recognize a leek, the quintessential Brit veg). They knew 'em all right down to the artichoke. That might be why his hostess, a half hour after arriving home after work, had wild asparagus frittata and salmon risotto on the table and all the kids were sitting down, ready to eat. As Jamie put it, they learn about food, the way we all learn our 3Rs. And when you know food that well and are used to cooking it, you can put a dish on the table in no time. I agree with Jamie, it isn't lack of time, it's lack of practice and know-how that leads to fast food on the table. Maybe that's why the show Fixing Dinner was born here in Canada, and 30-Minute Meals in the US to teach people who weren't taught by their parents how to buy and cook food.

1 comment:

thordora said...

No shite.

I'm constantly harping about that at home. We ARE what we eat, and we cook what we know.