|Food for Change|
If food could talk what would it say? Would it say "eat me"? Or would it say I have something to teach you, listen to my words"? Well, I guess food could say just about anything you can imagine because in reality food can't. I believe it's our jobs to translate and decode the words that each savory/sweet/salty/spicy/ and bitter dish has to say. It's up to us as students in "the kitchen of life" to pass along the importance of good food. Some have already acknowledged the initiative and you may recognize some of them.
Culinary figures such as Alice Walter have been giving food a voice for decades, showing how light, fresh and uncomplicated cooking (or nouvelle cuisine) can have both health and educational benefits. More recently, Jamie Oliver has taken center stage in the fight against obesity and inedible school lunches. Michelle Obama has also joined the food fight with her "Let's Move" campaign for kids. All three of these faces have one common denominator, a mutual interest for the education of good food and nutrition. They do this through after school programs, online activities, TV, and the use of celebrity. All the attention has gone everywhere expect for the one obvious place of importance...the classroom. The knowledge of proper nutrition doesn't start with taking away chocolate milk from cafeterias or banning "Big-Gulps" from drink menus in New York. No, it starts in the classrooms of schools everywhere.
If “Food 101” (let's name it) was required like P.E. (physical education) or HOPE (Health Opportunities through Physical Education) maybe kids would gain a foundation and better understanding as to what they're eating. What if we didn't have to fight for the children? What if they joined this culinary battle alongside us? As you may or may not know I've been fortunate to be involved with a wonderful organization called Common Threads. An after school program that teaches kids to cook and eat healthy while exploring cuisine and diversity on an international level. These kids are now growing up knowing what pesto and pad thai is! More importantly they know how to cook, eat, and feed themselves and others. Now only if we could take that concept and put it in schools during the day. (Click here to see my December 2010 post about Common Threads in AOL’s KitchenDaily)
Now the question is, what would the curriculum of Food 101 be like? Would we teach the history of food and cooking? How to grow it? The different kinds? Could we have local chefs come as guest speakers? Can we provide recipes? Oh my, I'm getting carried away here! There's so many possibilities to be explored! Okay, okay I'm not saying we should storm the government with freshly baked baguettes but we can start by writing a recipe for a real food revolution. So now I'd like to hear from you! What would your ideal food class be like? Together let's give food the proper classroom it deserves.
This is a topic that I am very passionate about and will continue to write about this subject and hopefully spark interest and discussion.
Comment below or send me an email with your thoughts!
Keep on cooking!