U.K. Naked Chef Talking, Cooking Out of His Arse

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The always entertaining Mick Hume of the great Spiked writes:

I confess to the heinous crime of giving our kids a diet of things they will actually eat. That means everything from the Sunday roast to a takeaway from the local tandoori, washed down with fizzy drinks. It used to include school dinners. But this term, our two young daughters rejected the fare at their local school in favour of packed lunches (including crisps)—a move that coincided with the introduction of compulsory "healthy menus", with less fried food and no salt available.

Hume is responding to a campaign being waged by Jamie "The Naked Chef" Oliver against not just crap food in general for kids, but all packed lunches at school. Oliver, writes Hume, "claims that while some parents give four-year olds a cold, half-eaten McDonald's and can of Red Bull, even the best packed lunch is 'shit' and should be banned."

Hume's whole bit is here and Oliver's "feed me better school dinners" site online here.

Elsewhere, at the indispensable Nobody's Business blog, Rogier van Bakel notes that the French are getting fatter–and blaming the Americans.

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  1. I watched the entire School Dinners special, and while I sympathize with Jamie’s concerns, it’s obvious he’s stained the once-noble virtues of his movement by landing square in the realm of self-righteous ideologues horny for regulation.

  2. Jamie Oliver also came out in favor of a ban on chef knives as a way to reduce crime.

    His recipes can be good, but he’s a frigging idiot.

  3. The English are notorious for having the foulest palate in the industrialized world. I view the introduction of compulsory “healthy menus” as eclipsing Scotland’s ban on pub glassware.

  4. You want people to be healthier? The answer is simple stop paying for their health care. Then watch and see how much better care people take of themselves when they are responsible for the consequences of not doing so.

  5. reality check…no matter what libertarians chortle on about choice and freedom and all that…fact is…most parent ARE fucking idiots.

    We have a lot of fat kids in the country for one reason…their parents are dumbasses and fuckheads.

    Libertarians get all indignant about “choice” and “freedom” – 2 things in arguably abundant supply here in the Good Ol’ U. S. of A – but they never seem to get twitchy about the things that get this whole ball of shit rolling in the first place.

    That is that most people – given the opportunity to do whatever the hell they want are going to do something stupid with the opportunity…and it’s usually going to leave a lasting impression on people least able to take a responsible stand…one of those being kids.

    I have an overweight child. We’re in a weight management program and he’s lost 25 lbs since january. What I have learned about just how unhealthy most of what we consume is that “choice” is not the problem. Making smart choices is the problem. Guess what. Nickelodeon and Burger King do NOT make this easier.

    Want me (and every other parent) to get behind libertarianism? Why don’t you tell me how we’re going to manage every fucked up detail of life in general by ourselves. ‘Cause the “personal responsibility”, “I want choice” fuckholes seem to want to kick every societal support out from under me and every other parent out there.

    I’m a busy man. I have a career. I work my ass off. My wife works her ass off. We have 2 kids and we give them 100% attention. We do scouts, church, football, soccer, reading at home and we pay our bills and we do our part. We save. We bust ass. And we still have to fight schools with soda machines, televised garbage, the most unhealthy lunch programs imaginable and numerous other land mines out there.

    FLAT OUT: If somebody is out there calling attention to the fact that school lunches are shit…hooray. If you’re too stupid to figure out that that’s something that a lot of good, decent, hardworking people care about and can’t come up with anything better than insults…go fuck yourselves…you’re stupid assholes.

    I don’t necessarily want a nanny state. In fact, I abhor the notion. But quit shitting on people trying to solve the problem and come up with solutions…instead of insults.

    Free Market? Right. As far as I can tell…that’s what’s got us here in the first place. Don’t tell me the free market is the solution when McDonalds and Pepsi already have Carte Blanche at the school. Putting the loaded gun in my kids hands and limiting my control is – as I see it – the problem.

    Don’t tell me “if only people would embrace the free market” bullshit. We’ve been listening to that crap for 30 years…with ZERO impact.

    Want to get me fired up? Give me solutions I can take to the bank NOW…not solutions that only work when your crazy-as-shithouse-rat, moron candidates actually win an election…which is usually never. How’s THAT for a market force at work.

    This board is just an insult factory where most folks half-read just enough to find one point in a post to skewer someone about.

  6. Want to get me fired up? Give me solutions I can take to the bank NOW

    I would suggest a retroactive vasectomy, but I don’t think time-travel has been invented…yet.

  7. Pretty much undersoring my point, there, aren’t ya’ smacky?

  8. smacky, To give sincere credit where credit is due, however…that was actually pretty funny.

    I should apologize for my rant. Mixture of martinis and hitting a nerve.

  9. de nada, madpad.

    My comment was fueled by a severe head cold and a few beers, so I guess we’re even in that respect.

  10. Hmm… School lunches were shit back when I was in school 30 years ago. Seems to me that if you’re just realizing this now, when sending your own kids to school, you are the stupid asshole.

  11. No…I do realize it and pack my kids lunch. My point is that I have to pack the lunch precisely because school lunches are shit.

    My further point is that people who support shitty lunches under the guise of some notion of a free market motive are perpetuating nonsense amongst children and stupid parents and perpetuating unneeded hassles for the rest of us.

  12. I don’t think anyone here supports “shitty lunches under the guise of some notion of a free market”. Public schools are the furthest thing from a free market. But the notion that packed lunches ought to be banned since so many parents are idiots is even worse. The fact you do make your kids’ lunches is a credit to you. Frankly, that’s about all you can do along with teaching your kids good eating habits.

    If you’re worried about the influence of Nickelodeon and such, you could always unplug the tv. A guy I used to work with refused to let his kids watch tv (more to due with sex and violence back then IIRC) and we used to think he was nuts. However, nowadays with so many cable channels, and specifically, ones targetted to kids, it actually makes sense. Anything you’d ever want to watch yourself can be found online or through netflix anyway.

    Disclaimer: I have no kids, so everything I say is likely meaningless.

  13. At my 8-year grammar school, run by the local Catholic parish, we didn’t even have a cafeteria. We ate our lunches, packed in bags or lunchboxes emblazoned with pop culture icons, at our desks. Then we ran around on the playground for the rest of the hour like maniacs to work it off. We did have access to whole milk, and some of the lunchboxes had thermoses for soup. If some kid forgot his lunch, we’d share, or the teacher would send him over to the sisters’ convent, where the nun in charge of the kitchen would feed him till he burst, or give him a bag lunch fit for a stevedore. If any kid continually showed up without lunch, his parents would get a talking to from the school, and someone from the parish would discreetly try to find out if Dad was out of work, or Mom was sick, or what.

    My private 4-year high school had a cafeteria, but besides the tables, chairs and jukebox rattling the windows with Zep’s Black Dog, it was a bit different from the one at the local publik hi. Aside from a few lame vending machines that dispensed soda, coffee, soup, bruised fruit and gas-station-cooler-quality sandwiches, there was no food provided. Having to bring our lunches from home didn’t stop us from turning out National Merit Finalists or conference-champion football teams.

    “School lunch” is a racket. Many federal education programs use the free school lunch sign-up as a marker for how poor a school or district is, so bureaucrats are continually trying to pump up the number of students in the program, to maximize federal funds. And it wouldn’t do to have the “poor kids” stigmatized, with the “haves” bringing goodies from home and the “have-nots” lining up for trays of mush and mystery meat. So everyone is encouraged to buy a hot lunch, at taxpayer subsidy.

    In the city I now live in, many of the publik skools offer free breakfast. The school districts are chided because our state has a low participation in that program. Well, of course it does. Outside the worst census tracts of the central city, parents feed their children before they send them off to school. And this is a problem, how? There is also great concern that the little darlings won’t get fed during the summer. The school district gets USDA money to run a summer program, in conjuction with private donors and the Salvation Army. They even serve dinner. This is a very bad sign of social breakdown. I’m not a parent, but I am someone’s son, and a family that doesn’t meet at least once a day to share a meal has got to be in trouble. Having the state, with or without the help of charities, step in and fill not only the function of breadwinner, but of caregiver of the childrens’ basic needs is scary. The kids are one step away from living in state orphanges, never mind whether they are eating grilled cheese or one of Chef Oliver’s salads.

    Get the kids out of the publik skools, take back parenting from the state, and make your kid his own damned lunch!

    Kevin

  14. Disclaimer: I have no kids, so everything I say is likely meaningless.

    As a parent, I have found that the folks most willing to confidently display expertise about how I should raise my kids are people without any of their own.

    Still, yours are good points all. No I don’t support Jamie Oliver’s plan. Too much work and not enough to show for it.

    I don’t have all the answers and I apologize again for my drunken rant – though I don’t expect that to absolve me of a much needed thrashing on this thread.

    Parents like myself who DO limit t.v., control what the kids eat, send our kids to private school and work hard to teach good habits and decisions face an uphill battle competing with market forces, unresponsive institutions and slack parenting from fellow child-rearers (“but dad, david gets too…”).

    But then maybe the bright side is that my kids will grow up to run the businesses those other kids work for.

    As a parent, I muse at why a society as blessed and prosperous as our should have to fight this hard for something as common sense as feeding kids healthy food.

  15. Attaboy, madpad! Obviously you don’t need my non-parent-style advice!

    Kevin

  16. No…I do realize it and pack my kids lunch. My point is that I have to pack the lunch precisely because school lunches are shit.

    My further point is that people who support shitty lunches under the guise of some notion of a free market motive are perpetuating nonsense amongst children and stupid parents and perpetuating unneeded hassles for the rest of us.

    So it seems to me that you had a choice and you made it. The crap they serve at school or a decent lunch you pack at home.

    The real problem is you’re not making that choice in free market situation because there is no cost to the school or its lunch program if you elect not to use it. You probably are pretty limited in the choice of schools too. If schools had to compete in a market for students and dollars – one factor that they could and would compete on is the quality of their lunch program.

    The biggest problem is people, like yourself, who on the one hand claim to like having freedom and choices, but get all bent out of shape when people don’t make choices you like. We have McDonalds and sugar cereals and Pepsi because people like them.They choose them. You don’t want your kids to eat that stuff – don’t give it to them.

    I am more than willing to let everyone make stupid choices, as long as they are willing to accept the consequences of those choices and don’t expect society or the state to bear those burdens.

  17. Thanks, k-rob,

    Having come up in private schools – and not enjoying the experience – I was always determined to raise my kids in public schools thinking they would get a better overall education and develop stronger social skills.

    Alas, our eldest son proved to be a hard fit. Overweight, extremely sensitive and shy we realized even before he got to kindergarten that public school was not going to be the right choice.

    Now, I do NOT share the common conservative and libertarian hatred of public schools. Private schools are not always the best or even an affordable option for most people.

    There are plenty of bad private schools as well as good public ones out there. Three of the six best high schools in my city are public ones.

    I also see public schools as an important part of our society. Look at the world and throughout history…the most productive, vibrant cultures have always placed a high premium on an educated population and have provided it publicly.

    But if you can afford a private school and the school is a plain better school, go for it. It’s worked well for us.

  18. The biggest problem is people, like yourself, who on the one hand claim to like having freedom and choices, but get all bent out of shape when people don’t make choices you like. We have McDonalds and sugar cereals and Pepsi because people like them.

    Blah, blah, blah. Same silly, cynical and hollow free market justifications. It’s also a mountainous crock of smelly shit.

    If you want to choke on Wendy’s Double cheese burgers or feed them 3 times a day to your kids, no one – well, myself anyway – is trying to stop you.

    No, the problem is that the current situation of placing soda and candy machines in schools and allowing fast food vendors to provide school lunches places decision making in the hands of people – children – unable and unprepared to make good informed decisions as regards the consequences of their actions.

    It also conflicts with a parent who wishes to ensure their kids get healthy food by placing options the parent wouldn’t want their child even having access to in a setting where the parent can’t control it.

    If I’m stuck sending my kid to public school, it shouldn’t be too much to ask that my kid NOT get fed a bunch of salt, sugar and fat just because kids like it. Wanting freedom is one thing. Wanting my kid to have it is another.

    Parents shouldn’t have to compete with the public school system over something as sensible as a healthy food for their kids.

  19. If I’m stuck sending my kid to public school

    Yeah, but too bad you’re not stuck. Although it is expensive or time-consuming, there are alternative education methods.

    it shouldn’t be too much to ask that my kid NOT get fed a bunch of salt, sugar and fat just because kids like it.

    Newsflash: your kids aren’t “getting fed”, they are actively EATING. If you didn’t instill in them how to properly choose meals, that’s your fault. Additionally, even if you succeded in your quest to get the world to revolve around your precious little darlings, do you think that they are going to be in that vacuum forever? Do you think it’s wise to almost completely deprive them of anything but healthy choices and not expect them to go binge-crazy when they get their first opportunity on their own? Exposing kids to things, advising them on what’s at stake and letting them make their own choices is better than forcing schools to feed them what you think is best.

    In one sense, you’re the reason that parents grate on me so very much: you have other options but you want everyone else to conform to your choice. If you’re that concerned about it, homeschool them and then you’ll have total control. But my honest advice is that you relax…even if they eat junk for one meal, you’re in charge of the other two…I guarantee you can’t get fat as a kid on one slightly unhealthy meal a day.

  20. There’s nothing wrong with encouraging kids to abstain from junk in favour of something substantial. But remembering what I do about being a kid, arm twisting and other gestapo-like tactics tend to flop like a geriatric erection. Control breeds dissent, especially in adolescents, meaning parents and teenagers wagging their fingers in my face will be the last thing to convince me they’re right.

    Much like in the drugs and smoking wars, if it’s abstinence you’re after, dropping the boogeyman analogy is a good start.

  21. TYPO ALERT: I actually meant “parents and educators”.

  22. you’re the reason that parents grate on me so very much:

    God, another Objectivist. Anyone who doesn’t fall prostrate at the altar of your version of heroic individuality is automatically a collectivist or a liberal.

    Sadly, you’re no beter than a fundamentalist because to get through any argument, you have to reduce whoever your debating to a label and the discussion to a black and white absolutist point of view.

    You make the classic libertarian mistake of asserting that the only infringer on rights is the state. Using your own choice argument against you, a corporation that enters the school system and limits food choice is no different from a school lunch system that limits choices.

    The singular difference is that the school system is directly accountable to the parents while the corporation tries to block accountability and caters to the children.

    Some of these arguments also make the mistake of lumping children of all ages into one big amorphous group. I’m talking largely about grade schoolers and some folks are positing arguments featuring largely teenagers. Apples and oranges

    In any case, talking to someone without kids about these issues is like talking to a plumber about brain surgery.

  23. My kids are in first and fifth grade and they know the difference between healthy food and crap. And they know it’s in their best interest to limit the amount of crap they eat.

    As for the “corporation that enters the school system and limits food choice” who the hell do you think makes the decision to allow them in? They don’t just show up in the cafeteria one day and declare they are in charge of meals. In the end it is the school system. If you don’t like they way they run things – try to change YOUR school system. Or leave it.

    You don’t want the burden of having to make choices. But that’s life.

  24. In any case, talking to someone without kids about these issues is like talking to a plumber about brain surgery.

    Although this is going to fall off soon the board soon, I am going to respond anyway. I hate this stupid, stupid canard that parents just get some magical “smart card” that entitles them to prattle on about kids while the rest of us have to toil in ignorance.

    Mr. Macklin said it better than I. You can’t handle your kids and you want everybody to do it for you, meanwhile, there does exist in this country school choice (an argument I made and you conveniently forgot to address); don’t like what the schools do, don’t send them there. Can’t afford to do it? Tough, that’s life…work with libertarians for real school choice. Meanwhile, you write drivel like this:

    It also conflicts with a parent who wishes to ensure their kids get healthy food by placing options the parent wouldn’t want their child even having access to in a setting where the parent can’t control it.

    Oops, you forgot about those parents who want their kids to have the choice to eat junk in the first place. You can think that unwise, or not what you would do as a parent, but aren’t they too allowed to determine what is offered to their kids? Or is it only because you don’t want your little darlings tempted by junk food that everybody else’s kids have to suffer as well?

    To sum up your last post:
    -Objectivist! Black and White! Yeah, trot that one out, stereotypes are always good for a laugh to the intelligent.
    -Teenagers v. grade-schoolers: no one said anything about either age group
    -Finally, you don’t address any of my nor Mr. Macklin’s argument that who the schools hire to do their food is also something they are accountable to parents for.

    Same crap, different day…parents know better than the rest of us. Get that tired sh*t out of here.

  25. madpad, I am willing to concede that any particular publik skool may be “better” – according to some standard of edublobspeak – than any particular private school, but even if all private schools were objectively educationally inferior to their government counterparts I would oppose education by the state. It is fundamentally inconsistent with First Amendment values, and not necessary in this day and age to meet the agreed-upon goal of universal education. I’m even willing to accept government funding of schooling, via vouchers/school choice, as we phase in total privatization. If and when I ever have kids, my druthers would be to have my them attend a secular, private school. The current system makes that sort of place, other than the highest priced private schools the rich have always used, unaffordable for most people. If we all – the childless included – could stop paying the taxes to the state and local governments that disappear down the insatiable maw of the school districts and state education bureaucracies, that situation would change. You might even be able to find a school that will feed your kids’ heads and stomachs to your liking.

    Kevin

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