Jamie Oliver recently addressed the TED conference after receiving one of the 2010 TED Prizes. His wish:
“I wish for your help to create a strong,
sustainable movement to educate every child about food, inspire
families to cook again and empower people everywhere to fight obesity.”
You know I am jumping for joy that his wish is receiving such wide-spread attention. His wish is in line with what I have been trying to do here on CityMama (and before that on Family Food) for years. I advocate cooking at home, from scratch, locally-grown or sourced wherever possible, because it's the best way to teach your children about healthful, delicious eating and where their food comes from.
I also do it to show that it's not as hard as you think. I am busy, too. Between work and extra-curricular activities, there isn't a whole lot of time left over and sometimes, the last thing I want to do is cook. But then I remember that I have planned my week, and I have the ingredients, and that if I just put on that pot of rice or get the marinated chicken into the oven, the rest will fall into place.
If you cook, it much easier to teach your kids to cook. It's a life skill that I think is vitally important and that is becoming a lost art with each passing generation. Sometimes it is a pain in the ass to have the kids under foot in the kitchen, but I try make sure that my kids are near me when I am cooking so I can teach them about what I am doing, just as mom did with me.
"I can't cook," is no longer an excuse. If you want to cook, then cook. There's no way that you are going to get better at it unless you do it regularly. When you roast a chicken for 20th time, you'll be an expert, I promise. You might have some hits and misses along the way, but you won't get comfortable with your skills and abilities unless you do it. (Just do it!) If you don't know how to roast a chicken, come over. We'll do it together and have a great lunch to boot.
If Jamie Oliver is to be believed, and I think he is, we can help to raise a generation of kids who will make healthy and smart food choices. The future is literally in our hands, in our pantries, on our cutting boards.
Please watch this. What Oliver lacks in polished elocution he makes up for in passion and common sense, in spades. His best argument for me was what not the clip showing that kids don't know what common vegetables are or the pointed illustration about amount of sugar in chocolate milk that kids consume over a year. It's when he said, "I'm a father," and his voice wavers just a touch.