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'Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution' recap: 'Fries count as a vegetable'

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Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution could yield a spin-off: Alice’s “Your Food Is A Pain In The Butt To Cook” Resistance. Alice, the Huntington, West Virginia, elementary-school lunch worker, is proving to be the British cook’s greatest adversary. This week, in his quest to rid the unhealthy-eating town of processed, fatty food, Oliver brought in some extra help for the five-woman Huntington cook-staff, but Alice still resented Jamie’s new menu. “The chicken was tasteless,” she said flatly. “Alice bitch-slapped me!” said a mock-stunned Jamie to the camera. The only person who likes Jamie less is the local disc jockey Rod, who told his listeners, “When he leaves, we’re going right back to what we were eating [before].” Call him cynical, but as much as I like Jamie, my gut tells me Rod speaks the truth. There’s been at least one report saying that the “food revolution” isn’t really taking hold once the cameras are turned off.

Still, Jamie found a far more receptive audience for his eat-yer-veggies-bruvva message at the high school level, where this week, he enlisted a group of students to cook a meal for “local big shots,” as the chef called them. These high schoolers were all likable young people, sincere and hard-working, some with sad stories of coping with obesity, either their own or within their families.

But we watch Food Revolution for the friction between Jamie and the locals, and this time, that nice Rhonda, the food-services director, “insulted” and “upset” Oliver, as he admitted. She told him his high school menu, which included what Jamie called a “veggie-filled” stir-fry containing “seven or eight” vegetables, lacked the minimum number of vegetables in her state-mandated guidelines. She therefore ordered him to reinstate the french fries he’d removed from the menu because, “french fries count as a vegetable.”

Oliver lamented the way Rhonda had to “protect these rubbish guidelines [which are] helping to kill the kids.” Once again, government was the bottom-line bad guy on this show. Alice’s irritation with Jamie is not because of what he wants to serve, but because her undoubtedly-underpaid, under-staffed crew can’t do it on the schedule they’re allowed. Rhonda has to enforce rules she probably knows are absurd. And Jamie has to raise $80,000 to fund the improved menu because the state can’t see the sense in feeding kids healthier grub.

Did you watch Jamie Oliver this week? What did you think of the high school kids and their efforts?

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