USA VS Jamie Oliver

Observatory

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When is a potato a tomato? Check out the promo for Jamie Oliver’s TV show and weep. Oliver took his healthy eating gospel to Huntington, West Virginia last week, only to be told to sling his hook. Huntington is the most unhealthy place in the world, apparently. The city was recently named by the Centre for Disease Control as the least healthy city in the least healthy state of America. Jamie shows kids eating pizza, McNuggets and something called ‘reconstituted potato pearls’ even for breakfast, but when he tried convincing them to change diet he was trashed by the locals.

West Virginians were never going to be happy about being told off by a finger-wagging foreigner, but the technique had worked here in the UK, where a pair of recent polls showed that Britain now has better eating habits than France, thanks to farmers’ markets, gastropubs and more time spent cooking at home.

The losers in all of this are the good people of W Virginia and other states where vested interests manipulate eating habits. Americans are brilliant at mobilising positive campaigns for better conditions; it remains to be seen if they can defeat the giants of fast food manufacture.

One comment on “USA VS Jamie Oliver”

  1. Betsy says:

    Of course you mean WEST Virginians, not Virginians. But I’ve learned since moving here 10 years ago that even some Americans are not aware that West Virginia is an actual state in its own right, long ago separated from Virginia (yup, ever since our Civil War, 1863 to be exact), and ever since then competing with Mississippi–and often winning the battle–for last place among the states for all things good and worthwhile.

    The losers are indeed the good people of West Virginia. I am so disappointed to hear that Mr. Oliver was not well-received in Huntington, but not all that surprised since WV is still very insular and doesn’t take criticism well. Not unlike the Scots-Irish who wrestled this land away from the native Americans @ two centuries ago.

    But some of us elsewhere in the state (I’m in North Central WV) will no doubt take up Mr. Oliver’s challenge and work to make healthy food more prevalent and appealing here.

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