Healthy and Sane

Food education

April 1st, 2010 · 25 Comments · Ellie Krieger, fish, side dishes

I stayed at home sick today. My eyes were watering, my nose was stuffed and my throat was scratchy and dry. I was a mess today and instead of being “brave” and coming in to work, I stayed at home. I think sometimes you just have to give into it and the cold passes quicker. So after writing a quick email to my boss around 8am and shooting a few emails out to our partners all over Europe, I went back to bed and slept until nearly 11am. I really needed that extra few hours!


I wasn’t hungry and this orange was the only thing I really wanted. It tasted like a juicy heaven. :)


A little while later I thought it was time to have some real food, so I reheated some leftover Cuban braised beef with peppers, avocado and cilantro over ww couscous

Adam really hates cilantro but I purchased it for myself since this dish and another one I plan on making later this week called for it. I realized how in love I am with cilantro. It really made this meal extra special. Yum!

All messy…


Another juicy orange

A caramel oikos

And 3 cookie dough servings

After polishing off these babies, I looked up Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution online and decided to watch the first 2 episodes of his show. Within the first 5 minutes, it made me sick thinking about the fact that just I fed myself cookies that I didn’t even bother baking. Sure they don’t have junk ingredients but that’s not exactly nourishing food either. Ten minutes into the show, I realized that I’m a far cry from the people in Huntington. I wonder how a culture where majority of the population consumes over-processed unidentifiable food forms. Sure pizza, burgers and fries taste good but I truly had no idea that some families’/entire cities’ worth of people’s diets mainly consisted of these three “food groups.” It made me sick seeing children being fed pizza for breakfast and chicken nuggets with mashed potatoes (out of potato pearls – WTF is that?!!) for lunch, but the most shocking scene was when Jamie Oliver asked the kids to identify some fresh veggies he brought in. The kids didn’t know what a tomato looked like. Seriously – a tomato??!!! This is not exactly advanced stuff here. Out of 20+ kids, not even one could properly name a fruit or a vegetable. I think someone guessed an eggplant was a pear. They were basically just naming random fruit and veggies they’ve heard of but clearly have never seen in their natural form. This makes me sad, very very sad.

I did not grow up in this country. I can’t remember what our cafeteria served at school (Innz, mom, dad – any clues?). I know it wasn’t anything to write home about either, although I’m pretty sure it was still all made from scratch. To be honest, I think it wasn’t because our food culture was superior – this was just what was available to us and I wonder if chicken nuggets, burgers and pizza are now part of the cafeteria repertoire at my old school.  All of our food at home was also made from scratch, and it was good food despite the fact that food was limited in quantity and things like sugar and flour were bought with food stamps and meat was purchased when my parents were lucky enough to “catch it” at the store (likely after standing in line for hours). Every weekend we went to the market to get fresh produce. Sometimes we’d be treated to a snickers bar or something like that. One weekend I recall we got lucky with a whole bunch of strawberries. I think I ate a whole bucket full of them and broke out in hives. It was just such a treat that I went overboard and my body freaked out. My memory is definitely spotty about all of this.

I shouldn’t really compare myself to the kids in the show but at the same time I can’t really help it. I am not judging, it’s just interesting. How did all this technology and food availability contribute to complete lack of food education? Could you identify a tomato at the age of 6? What about broccoli or cauliflower? Too advanced? 😉 I really wonder what schools around Boston serve. I believe that Huntington is not a true representation of every school in America. At least I hope so…


It’s CEiMB Thursday and tonight’s dish was hosted by Veggies and Valentino. She picked Ellie Krieger’s miso glazed cod which has been on my to-make list for ages. I even bought the miso paste about 6 months ago to finally make it but never did.

The cod was phenomenal! It was so flavorful and tender – I swear this week’s dinners have been the best I’ve made in ages. Every night I am just astonished at how easily I am able to feed my family (of two) such quality food. Adam said this was restaurant quality! We love, love, loved it!

Can you identify this vegetable?

I steamed this asparagus and then stir-fried them in some EVOO, soy sauce, balsamic and S&P inspired by this recipe from Good Things Catered. Simple ingredients, tons of flavor! That’s a meal I am proud to eat and serve to my loved ones.

Have you had a chance to catch Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution yet? Do you remember what your school served? What role did food play in your childhood and what kind of food was it?

We’re going to have 70* weather all weekend. I hope I am able to recover asap so that I can enjoy some of this beautiful weather. :mrgreen:

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25 Comments so far ↓

  • #1 - Tracie @hollafoodzone

    I had the exact same conversation today about Jamie Oliver’s show. When we were kids, of course there was junk food around – we knew about candy bars and twinkies – and we ate them too! But our school lunches were made with “real” ingredients, as were our meals at home. My mother never threw a plate of chicken nuggets in the microwave – that kind of processed food just wasn’t commonly available like it is now. Plus we got a lot more exercise – we didn’t have all the digital distractions, and we went to school back in the days when PE was valued. I had PE for an hour ever day from kindergarten to 12th grade. You’re right – the current situation is a real shame – downright scary!

  • #2 - Lauren @ Eater not a runner

    I watched it and it definitely brought back memories of ice cream/candy lunches from high school. Seriously!

  • #3 - Katie @ Health for the Whole Self

    I think you saw my post a few days ago on the Food Revolution, so you know my thoughts…but I wanted to say that I hope you feel better soon!

  • #4 - Christie {Honoring Health}

    Hope you are feeling better soon. I am not feeling so great today, myself.

    I have been watching the show and sadly, can relate all to well to it. I remember in high school, I ate crappy pizza, french fries dipped in mayo and ketchup mixed together and chocolate milk. And that was what pretty much everyone ate. Back then, we even had sodas if we wanted them.

  • #5 - Candice

    I think it’s sad that those children could not identify basic fruits and veggies. That’s not just a failure of parents to feed their children healthy foods, that’s a failure of the school system to teach. They should be learning types of fruits and veggies in school, even if they’re not eating them! I can understand not knowing an eggplant or artichoke- those are probably introduced slightly later in life. But a tomato and potato- that’s just sad! Those people should be ashamed, not just of the foods that they eat, but of the quality of the education those kids are receiving!

  • #6 - Matt

    That show made me sick watching it. It was really really sad that a child couldn’t identify a TOMATO.

  • #7 - Shannon

    I hope you are feeling much better this morning.

    I watched last week’s episode and have those week’s set to record. It was incredibly sad to see. But I think a lot of schools are falling short nutritionally…both in nutrition education and in the food they serve.

  • #8 - Cara

    Sorry you weren’t feeling well, hope today is better! I honestly don’t remember what was served in my school cafeterias because I was never big on buying lunch. Oh, and I don’t think there is anything more shameful about eating cookie dough vs. baked cookies (not that one should beat themself up about that either!)

  • #9 - evan

    I love that a show like Food Revolution was picked up by ABC. Sure, it’s got that reality TV feel to it, but America NEEDS to wake up and realize that our culture has been brainwashed over the last 50 years to think that food a) comes from a box b) is cheap c) has a million ingredients.

    I was never raised to eat school lunches or anything processed, for that matter – thank God. My mother was a total stickler for whole, real ingredients and making things from scratch – and it’s really easy!!! That’s what people don’t even realize. I could identify everything from artichokes to kiwi at a young age…and I think that it’s important to grow up close to nature and aware of what we eat and how it effects us.

    it’s all about education and the way we’re raised. the whole thing about kids not liking vegetables is such an American myth…if you’re raised to eat them as a necessary part to every meal without making a fuss, you’ll grow up feeling the same and you’ll eat them!

  • #10 - Alisha N

    I can relate to this because I eat lunch in a high school cafeteria every day. I bring my own lunch, but many kids eat the chocolate milk, greasy muffins and chocolate chip cookies, chicken nuggets… the only time I see color is in the form of a bland apple! (But, I’ll say that here in North Carolina, the food system is better than in Huntsville.)

    It’s saddening, but not to everybody else because they don’t understand the effect food has on you. They know that it tastes good and it’s cheap/free, so what’s the problem?

  • #11 - Sophie @ yumventures

    I feel very lucky that my Mom taught us about food from a young age. By the time I was 8 I could name all of the herbs in our garden by sight and smell. I feel that, in our country, everything is made to be FAST. So many people just don’t take the time to cook, or even worse, think that cooking takes a long time and therefore will reach for stuff in the freezer or at a fast food restaurant. But really, cooking a healthy meal at home is cheap and quick. Its all about education, in my eyes, and about taking time to slow down. In Europe they take sietas in the middle of the day, and sometimes spend 3 hours at the dinner table. If we changed our mindset about making meals a family event we would all be a lot healthier.

  • #12 - Carrie @ I See Monsters

    I’m not sure schools across America are much better than the one on this show. There is a really interesting blog where a teacher (somewhere in the US) is eating school lunch for a year and blogging about it to bring awareness of the sad state of our school lunches.

    Some of the stuff on there will blow your mind!

  • #13 - Elina

    Thanks guys – I’m feeling better today! … and I’m really fascinated by all your comments. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the food education subject. 😀

    Alisha – it’s so true – people don’t see the problem. Those lunch ladies in the show are so resistant. They see Jamie as someone that’s attacking them but what they don’t get is that they are killing the kids at school with that food. What’s worse is that the parents are doing the same so it’s not like at least the kids eat more balanced meals for dinner. I think I can go on about this forever….

    Carrie – wow, thanks for sharing that blog. Did you see that Jamie Oliver actually called her last week? I am so glad that this issue is getting a lot of publicity nowadays… or maybe I’m just more exposed to it because I care.

  • #14 - sister inna

    well hello there! i’ve been MIA the past week — getting back to work after a week long vacation is no fun [ wa wa waaa, i know 😉 ]

    so i saw Katie’s post about this show earlier this week, and — i haaave to watch this — it just sounds so scary… it’s def at the top of my ‘to download’ list.

    anyway — here are a few things i wanted to say:
    1) the only thing i remember at school lunches is that after lunch ( or mid-day meal… whatevs) we would have snack time. most of the time it was rolls. plain white bread rolls. every once in a while — they had chocolate (!) glaze they would pour over the rolls. MAN, i remember one day we found out the were handing them out at the cafeteria and a whole flock of us pleaded the teacher to let us out of class to run and grab them while they were there…. yuuuummmmm chocolate glaze on warm rolls. ok now i need a choc fix 😉
    2) i too think that we were lucky to be visiting fruit+veggie markets on a regular basis. i mean, i KNOW i knew what an eggplant was when i was 6! that said, kids + adults here don’t have these grower to consumer relationships… but here they also end up with better looking produce.
    3) i’m totally making this cuban beef stuff this weekend. haven’t been to a grocery store in over a week and a half!!!!!
    4) yay you’re feeling better! yaaay it’s friday!

  • #15 - Elina

    Hi Innzzzzzzzz – good to have you back 😀 So I totally don’t remember the rolls with chocolate but I remembered last night pirojki fresh out of the oven. My favorite were definitely the cabbage stuffed ones (probably every American kid’s nightmare, haha).

    For those of you who’ve seen the show – I need to rant a bit more. I like how this lunch lady took offense when he called her a lunch lady. She prefers to think of herself as a cook. Ha! News flash, lady, adding water to potato pearls before they cement is NOT cooking! :roll:

  • #16 - sonia @ master of her romaine

    I did recently watch Food Revolution…I couldn’t believe it when Jamie Oliver tried to give the kids a “hint” on eggplant by saying, “It starts with egg-” and one boy shouted out “EGG SALAD!”

    I don’t really remember too much of what my school caf served when I was younger- I know there were nachos and pizza…and I remember wanting it really badly! I was raised a vegan and had my lunches packed for me when I was young and all of the junky stuff looked really intriguing to me…

  • #17 - Julie

    I was apalled when the kids couldn’t identify fruits and veggies. It was horrible to watch.
    When I was little we weren’t allowed to have sugary cereals, and I was a veggie/fruit fanatic. I loved summer fruits (still do) and when at family parties I’d be all about the veggies and dip.

    I didn’t have a cafeteria at my school so I brought lunch every day. It wasn’t super healthy though, I had lunchmeat sandwiches, doritos, fruit snacks, hi-c and dunkaroos. As I got older (7th/8th grade)I’d bring yogurt and pretzles because I was starting to pay more attention to what I are and the way my body looked (in a bad way) In high school we had healthy option and I would usually grab those, except on mashed potato day which were not homemade! We had soda machines, candy machines and even and ice cream machine. Personally, I never used them (except soda) but they were popular.
    I guess back then I had more of a healthy balance than I do now!

  • #18 - Diana @ frontyardfoodie

    I was homeschooled so no school cafeteria food here! My mom made great food though.

  • #19 - Lara (Thinspired)

    I’m sorry you’re not feeling well :( Glad you took the day off, hopefully it worked and after some rest over the weekend you’ll be better by Monday :)

    I have been hearing so much about Jamie’s Food Revolution but haven’t watched it yet. If it’s anything like his shows in Britain, I have an idea of what he’ll feature, and it’s terrifying. I grew up eating real food. Sometimes indulgent food, and the odd soda here and there, but overall, REAL food. My problem was always portion control (still is!).

    All of your eats look great, especially for being sick! Really seems like you’re listening to your body :)

    Happy Weekend, dear Elina!

  • #20 - RunToTheFinish

    no you really shouldn’t compare your few cookies to the way they are eating on that show. An indulgence is one thing, but for them its a lifestyle to always eat that way

  • #21 - Kelly

    I hope you are feeling better! I teach in a school outside of Boston- our food is not as bad as Huntington- but its not great either. This year I somehow made the yogurt lunch the “popular” one to get in my class, which is awesome- at least my kids have some healthy choices!

  • #22 - KellyB

    I hope you feel better soon. I’ve had that horrid scratchy throat cough thing for a while now.

    My kids 4 and 6 both can identify fruits and veggies. Eating them is another story, although my 6 year old is a lot better than my 4 year old. They even know what edamame is.

  • #23 - Kerstin

    I hope you feel better soon and are able to enjoy the gorgeous weather!

    I need to Tivo that show because I keep hearing about it and would love to check it out :)

  • #24 - Dominique

    I hope you feel better soon. I ended up with a cold on Wednesday night but couldn’t take Thursday off work so I went in anyway, hoping I didn’t make anyone else sick. I’ve spent the weekend out and about, because I had already made plans to enjoy the weather and have living off meds for now. I hope it passes soon enough.

    I’ve not been able to check the US version of Jamie Oliver’s FR…I keep going out Friday nights when I think it airs? I watched the UK-version religiously and thought it was very eye-awakening. We didn’t have elementary school cafeterias so my parents always sent me to school with homemade lunches. I never had a real sandwich for lunch until I was 12 or something like that. I remember getting leftovers from dinner and one of my elementary school friends and I would trade because she’d rather have my leftovers of rice and I’d always have her sandwiches. My parents always cooked from scratch when I was growing up…pasta, soups, pasta sauces, etc. We have our own vegetable garden and fruit trees. It astounds me to see what kids are eating nowadays.

    Even in high school, I remember our high school cafeteria serving pizza, fries, pasta and the like but the majority of us would be able to tell our vegetables and fruit apart. I think it comes from growing up in a world centered around convenience. Back in the day there weren’t take-out options or convenience items in the grocery stores.

  • #25 - Madeline - Greens and Jeans

    Glad to hear you are feeling better so you can get out and soak up some of that sunshine!