Apr 10

Food Revolution—Great Concept, Aggressive Approach

Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution Petition

Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution Petition

Tonight I watched the first episode of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution and I have to say, I was taken for a little bit of a loop. The premise of the show is Jamie Oliver leaves his England home to come to Huntington, West Virginia to “save” it from its 2008 diagnosis as the world’s most unhealthy city according to MSNBC. The show follows him as he fights his way into the hearts and stomachs of the sometimes resistant residents.

Overall the show is pretty good. The production value is everything we’ve come to expect in this reality-show culture, and the message is quite possibly one of the most important topics facing American families today. The problem I have with the show is the often preachy, sometimes  condescending approach Jamie takes with the residents of Huntington. I can’t help but compare it to what I call the “Dances with Wolves” syndrome where the purpose driven, privileged outsider feels the necessity to join the natives in order to save them from their inevitable destruction. It’s the same rhetoric echoed time and time again spanning every form from missionaries to politics to relationship counseling. “I have the answer. You don’t. Let me help you.” It’s a bit righteous. (Although I realize I also sound righteous just by making this statement. Unfortunately I think it’s unavoidable.)

What’s the answer then? After all without this approach, we would have to discredit most international and local development initiatives as well as most social and civil changes that’s ever benefited anyone. The fact is people have to be informed in order to make a better decision. The question is how to inform them without coming across as authoritative.

My wife, whom I owe a great deal for relentlessly trying to get me to see more diplomatically, refers to her experience in the Peace Corps. She says to get the village on the path towards change, you have to speak with the chief and convince him. Once you have his vote, then the village will follow. She then takes this further and explains the chief as being more metaphoric. We all have an internal chief, guiding us towards rewards and turning our heads away from danger (well most of the time). When someone comes at us aggressively demanding that our ways our wrong, our internal chief automatically tells us to put our guard up. Aggression triggers a sense of danger, and danger makes us defensive. But if that same person comes to us asking to join us and learn our ways without asking for anything in return, at least at first, then our chief welcomes them in. This establishes a seedling of trust. That seedling then can grow into a full blossom. Only then can that person start to make suggestions and truly invoke change.

Now I don’t mean to harp on what Jamie Oliver’s trying to do. In fact I whole heartedly believe in it. In fact I signed his Food Revolution petition. Obesity is a dangerous and growing trend. Diabetes is sneaking into more and more families’ lives at alarming rates. Schools, fast food, and grocery stores are all marketing food that is unnatural and nutritiously lacking. Something needs to change. I love that between writers like Michael Pollan and Eric Schlosser and well known chefs like Jamie Oliver and Alton Brown, the message of sustainable and healthy eating is being told louder and louder each day. The message needs to be said. It needs to be taught. It needs to be accepted and enforced. The message can and will change lives, but the change has to come from an open heart, and not a defensive one. Alright, I’m done telling you how it is now.

Mar 10

Tempeh, Sriracha, on a Bun, OH MY…

Tomatoes by Clint Bush

© 2010 Clint Bush

I just discovered my new favorite sandwich. Inspired by Jeffrey Saad’s (of The Next Food Network Star) recipe for Harissa Steak Sandwich, I decided to make a vegetarian version. The only differences were I substituted tempeh for steak, Sriracha for Harissa, and sandwich thins for rolls. The rest of the sandwich consisted of a spicy mint, garlic, and sun-dried tomato infused mayo, salad greens w/arugula, and sliced tomato. The mayo was amazing especially in conjunction with the spicy nutty flavor of the tempeh which I rubbed with a little Sriracha and toasted to bring out the nuttiness even more.

The outcome was outstanding. The best part is that it cost me less than $3 for the ingredients (broken down by serving) and took me about 20min to put together.

Jan 10

Food: Foodspotting-Post your fav foods around town let’s you post pictures of your favorite foods along with a title, picture, restaurant name, and restaurant location. The best part about it, is you can visually find specific dishes in a specific city. This would have been great while my wife and I were looking for clam chowder in Boston.

Foodspotting has an iPhone app also which makes the whole process even smoother. Just launch the app, snap a picture, title it, and send. Your fav food is now available for other foodies to find.

So go food hunting, because I’m getting hungry.

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