‘Food Revolution’ Off to Contentious & Hopeful Start In Huntington, WV

‘Food Revolution’ Off to Contentious & Hopeful Start In Huntington, WVfrom ethicurean: The ABC preview of “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution” Sunday night has me modestly hopeful that ordinary Americans — those largely untouched by the movement to improve diet and agriculture — might watch and learn.

Revolution” puts reality TV’s conflict-based formula to work by sending celebrity chef Oliver to Huntingon, West Virginia, to revolutionize the local diet. Residents in the city, which the Centers for Disease Control identified as the nation’s unhealthiest, aren’t impressed by the smarty-pants Brit, and the story’s questions fall into place:

  • Will Oliver get pizza-loving children at an elementary school to eat his from-scratch food?
  • Will Oliver be able to produce those meals on budget and in keeping with the perverse USDA rules on school menus?
  • Will he be able to win the skeptical and defensive cafeteria workers to his side (while he patronizingly addresses them as “love” and “girls”)?
  • Will one family revolutionize its diet to the benefit of its three overweight or obese children? And how will Dad react when he comes home from his current over-the-road trucking assignment?
  • Will he lure hundreds of people to his storefront to learn how to cook?

The odds seem stacked against him, no surprise to any SOLE food proponent: The processed food devolution has been easy and cheap, and Americans love easy and cheap; Americans don’t like outsiders telling them what to do; and change is hard for most people.

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