Jamie Oliver took a lot of abuse from locals when filming this show. It was amazing, and sad – people were arguing that they weren’t going to let a poncy Brit come in and tell them they couldn’t eat their good, wholesome, traditional foods. I was following the entire thing as it filmed, both via Jamie’s Twitter account, the tweets of locals expressing their outrage, and other media outlets where locals vented. I think the best thing I heard (with best being very loosely defined) was that Jamie was trying to force British food on people, and take away their all-American cuisine.
Newsflash: deep fried food is not all-American, nor is it healthy to eat at every meal.
Look, I’m a good gamer geek. I have done pizza for breakfast as much, if not more, than most (especially when I worked in software). But I’m not about to argue that deep dish pizza is a great breakfast every day. And that’s what really got me in this video clip – not the kid mistaking a tomato for a potato, or anything else. It was the deep-seated belief that it was tasty food, it was “traditional” food (how boxed food is a tradition, I won’t begin to contemplate), and that it was their food, so there was no way it was bad for them. The denial was, quite simply, amazing.
Somewhere, somehow, people got the idea that if it’s sold, it’s good for them, and therefore it’s okay to eat. (That many of these people are violently opposed to health care where the government tells them how to take care of themselves is just sad irony, given that they seem to have placed their full faith in the government to protect the food system – something that it does not do, and in fact barely even regulates.)
Michael Pollan has argued that we have become removed from our food traditions, and that what we eat today is food that our grandparents and great-grandparents wouldn’t recognize. Huntington appears to be a perfect example of this disconnect from food, health, and how we eat.