Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution

    Sigh. Jamie Oliver. I love Jamie Oliver. I love his food, I love his books, I love his app, I love the mission he is on. Jamie Oliver is trying to change the way we eat, and by doing so, he plans to deal a massive blow to the likes of obesity, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. He is trying to encourage us to get back into the kitchen and cook for ourselves and our families, thereby cutting out the fast and overly processed foods that are making us sick. And fat. And depressed. We are getting this information from so many sources at this point that it's hard to deny the link between bad nutrition and the host of bad effects it is having on our wellbeing. Even PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi, according to last week’s Economist, sees what is at stake and is reducing salt and sugar in Pepsi products, promising to rid schools of all their sugar packed sodas by 2012 (what a gal!) So Jamie is having an effect. He recently won the TED prize for his efforts to change our diets, as chronicled on his new TV show, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution on ABC Friday nights at 9 pm. Check him out in any of the aforementioned ways. He is pretty great.


    Check out this inspiring video.

    Interview with Jamie Oliver

    goop: What inspired you to start this movement?

    Jamie Oliver:

    A: So many things, it’s hard to know where to start. Working with a family, rich or poor, that has a terrible relationship with food, and seeing how even the simplest bits of information can completely change their future is inspiring. Seeing kids learning how to cook and knowing they’ll be able to feed themselves when they grow up because of it also inspires me.

    Heart disease and other diet-related illnesses are some of the biggest killers in the US, way bigger killers than homicide though you’d never know that from the news. These diet-related problems are really hurting people and it upsets me because if people knew how to cook, they’d be able to make better choices and feed their families better, and for less money than the local takeaway charges them. There’s not enough proper food education out there, and no limit to how many fast-food restaurants are allowed to open. We are so obviously in a place where we care more about dollars and pounds than we do about the health of ourselves and our kids. Being upset about all these things inspires me.

    This whole Food Revolution movement isn’t about taking away your burger, or telling someone they can’t have candy floss at the fair; it’s about sharing information and knowledge so we can change the day-to-day stuff and get back to having healthy, happy communities.

    goop: Give us a little bit of knowledge on what is happening to us as we are eating more and more fast and processed foods? What are the real risks here?

    A: Well, I think it’s pretty simple really: forty years ago we ate mostly fresh, local food, and we knew where that food was coming from. But then fast and heavily processed foods crept in and totally changed our palettes and food businesses. And ultimately, this food is killing us. Obesity and weight gain are the most obvious symptoms, but the problem I have in telling this story is that there are also loads of skinny people suffering because the garbage they are eating is affecting them in a different, but equally dramatic way.

    Another real risk I see is that we’re in danger of completely losing touch with all the best things about food. I’ve worked all over the UK and the US and I’ve been in many homes with no kitchen table at all. I know that’s got nothing to do with health directly, but it means there’s no sitting down together, no conversation, no family meals. I’ve gone into schools where kids are eating with their hands instead of knives and forks, and they can’t tell me what a potato or a tomato is… I think that’s pretty shocking. If our kids aren’t learning about food at home, we’ve got to make sure they learn at school in a contemporary, relevant, and exciting way.

    goop: What can we each do individually to ensure that our kids are eating good food in school?

    A: I honestly believe signing my petition is a move towards ensuring this in the long run so please, if you’re reading this, go straight to the petition and sign it.

    But also, whether you’re a parent or a kid, you need to know that it’s alright to be aware of where your food comes from and what’s in it. If your food is massively processed and full of e numbers and things you can’t pronounce you absolutely have a right to ask for, and expect, change.

    As a parent, now is the time to be paranoid and have an opinion. Everyone may say “It’s all good.” but if you go into most school freezers and look on the boxes you’ll see it’s not all good. Talk to other parents about what’s going on with the lunches at school because if we put the effort in now we’ll be able to sort things out. Milk isn’t even safe! The majority of milk drinks consumed in American schools have as much sugar in them as a can of fizzy pop! Just remember, when it comes to your kids you have every right to know about what they’re being fed.

    goop: Your big thing is getting people into the kitchen to make homemade food for the family. Are there any super easy recipes that you could recommend people start with that pack a good nutritional punch?

    A: Cooking is a life skill you’ll use every day of your life and, aside from the mortgage on your house, your local supermarket is where you’ll probably spend most of the money you earn in your life. That’s why I think getting your head around the basics is a really cool thing to do. These recipes from my Food Revolution book (or Ministry of Food as it’s called here in the UK) are really achievable, tasty and simple.

    Spicy Moroccan Stewed Fish with Couscous

    You can make this recipe using any white fish or salmon fillets. It’s incredibly quick to cook, and a really good thing to give the kids for dinner. I like to use a mixture of beans and peas, but if you find it easier to just use one of those that’s fine — it will still be beautiful. Make sure that when you buy your fish, you ask the fishmonger to scale, fillet, and remove all the little bones from it for you. If not, you can have a go at removing the bones yourself — this is called pin-boning.

    Serves: 2
    Time: l8 minutes

    • 1 cup quick-cook couscous
    • olive oil
    • 2 lemons
    • sea salt and freshly ground
    • 2 cloves of garlic
    • 1 fresh red chil
    • a bunch of fresh basil
    • I teaspoon whole cumin seeds
    • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 2 x 6-ounce white fish fillets, skin off and bones removed
    • ¾ pound large shrimp, raw, peeled
    • 1 x 14-ounce can of diced tomatoes
    • 2 handfuls of fresh or frozen peas, fava beans, or green beans (or use a mixture)

    1.Put the couscous into a bowl and add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Halve the lemons and squeeze in the juice from two of the halves. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Pour in just enough boiling water to cover the couscous, then cover the bowl with a plate or plastic wrap. Let the couscous soak up the water for 10 minutes.

    2.Get a large saucepan on a medium heat. Peel and finely slice your garlic. Finely slice your chili. Pick the basil leaves off the stalks. Put the smaller ones to one side and roughly chop the larger ones. Add a couple of lugs of olive oil to the hot pan. Add the garlic, chili, basil, cumin seeds, and cinnamon. Give it all a stir and put the fish fillets on top. Scatter over the shrimp. Add the canned tomatoes and the peas and beans. Squeeze in the juice from the two remaining lemon halves. Put a lid on the pan. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to a simmer and cook for about 8 minutes, or until the fish is cooked through and flakes easily. Taste, and season with salt and pepper.

    3.By the time the fish is cooked, the couscous should have sucked up all the water and be ready to serve. Spoon the couscous into a large serving bowl and give it a stir with a fork to help it fluff up. Top with the fish, vegetables, and juices from the pan, sprinkle with the reserved basil leaves, and tuck in!

    Asian Chicken Noodle Broth

    You can make this recipe using any white fish or salmon fillets. It’s incredibly quick to cook, and a really good thing to give the kids for dinner. I like to use a mixture of beans and peas, but if you find it easier to just use one of those that’s fine — it will still be beautiful. Make sure that when you buy your fish, you ask the fishmonger to scale, fillet, and remove all the little bones from it for you. If not, you can have a go at removing the bones yourself — this is called pin-boning.

    Serves: 2
    Time: 17 minutes

    • 1 tablespoon mixed seeds (pumpkin, poppy, sun flower)
    • a small handful of raw cashew nuts
    • 1 quart chicken broth, preferably organic
    • 2 skinless chicken breast fillets, preferably free-range or organic
    • 2 teaspoons five-spice powder
    • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • a thumb-sized piece of fresh root ginger
    • olive oil
    • ½ to 1 fresh red chili, to your taste
    • 4 ounces rice sticks or vermicelli
    • a handful of snow peas
    • 6 thin asparagus spears or 4 regular-sized spears
    • 6 fresh baby corn or 1/2 cup fresh corn kernels
    • soy sauce
    • juice of 1 lime
    • a small handful of spinach leaves

    1.Put a medium frying pan or wok on a high heat and add the seeds and cashew nuts to it straight away, while it’s heating up. Put a large saucepan on a high heat. Fill the saucepan with the chicken broth, heat until very hot, and put a lid on it. Toss the seeds and nuts around until heated through nicely — this will take a couple of minutes. While this is happening, slice your chicken breasts lengthways into 3 pieces and put them into a bowl. Sprinkle the chicken with the five-spice powder and a good pinch of salt and pepper and stir. When the seeds and nuts are done, transfer them to a plate. Put the empty pan back on a high heat. Add a little olive oil to your hot pan with your slices of chicken and cook for 5 minutes, until golden, tossing and turning every now and again.

    2.While the chicken’s cooking, peel and finely slice your ginger and slice your chili. Take the lid off the pan with the chicken broth and add half the chili, all the ginger, your rice sticks (or vermicelli), snow peas, asparagus, and corn, with 2 tablespoons of soy sauce. Bring to a boil and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring. Halve the lime and squeeze in the juice. By the time the rice sticks (or vermicelli) and veggies are done, the chicken will be cooked. Take a piece of chicken out and slice it lengthways to check if it’s cooked all the way through — when done, remove all the chicken from the pan and slice each piece in half to expose the juicy chicken inside (please don’t be tempted to overcook it). To serve, divide the spinach leaves between your bowls and pour over the broth, rice sticks (or vermicelli), and vegetables. Divide the chicken pieces over and scatter with the toasted seeds, cashews, and remaining chili.

    Classic Tomato Spaghetti

    This pasta sauce takes minutes to cook. What’s great about this recipe for beginner cooks is that once you’ve done it a few times you can add other simple ingredients to your basic tomato sauce to completely transform it. Check out the end of the recipe, where I’ve given you some ideas to get started.

    Serves: 4-6

    • 2 cloves of garlic
    • 1 fresh red chili
    • A small bunch of fresh basil
    • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
    • 1 pound dried spaghetti
    • Olive oil
    • 1 x 14-ounce can of diced tomatoes
    • 4 ounces Parmesan cheese

    To prepare your pasta

    Peel and finely slice the garlic. Finely slice your chile (halve and seed it first if you don’t want the sauce too hot). Pick the basil leaves off the stalks and put to one side. Finely chop the stalks.

    To cook your pasta

    Bring a large pan of salted water to a boil, add the spaghetti and cook according to the package instructions. Meanwhile, put a large saucepan on a medium heat and add 2 good lugs of olive oil. Add the garlic, chile, and basil stalks and give them a stir. When the garlic begins to brown slightly, add most of the basil leaves and the canned tomatoes. Turn the heat up high and stir for a minute. Season with salt and pepper. Drain the spaghetti in a colander then transfer it to the pan of sauce and stir well. Taste and add more salt and pepper if you think it needs it.

    These can be added to your tomato sauce when it’s finished. Just stir in and warm through:

    • Add a handful of baby spinach leaves to the sauce at the same time you add the pasta—when the leaves have wilted remove from the heat and serve with some crumbled goat’s cheese on top.
    • A few handfuls of cooked shrimp and a handful of chopped arugula with the juice of ½ a lemon.
    • A can of tuna drained and flaked into the sauce with ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon, some black olives and the juice of ½ a lemon.
    • A handful of fresh or frozen peas and fava beans.

    Jam Jar Dressings

    In my opinion, the most important part of a salad is the dressing. It’s all very well saying everyone needs to eat more salad, fruit, and veggies (it’s true, we do), but it should be a pleasure, not a chore! By dressing a salad you can make it delicious, meaning you want to eat it rather than feel you have to. The other good news is that your body can absorb far more of the nutrients from salads because of the presence of oil and acid in the dressing. So dressings give you the double whammy of being a healthy benefit and also delicious! Don’t drown your salads in dressing, though — remember, a little goes a long way — and always dress them at the last minute before serving.

    I like to make my dressings in jam jars because it’s so easy to see what’s going on — you can shake them up easily and any leftovers can be kept in the jars in the fridge. I’m going to give you four basic dressings that can be used with all the salads in this chapter. With the exception of the yogurt dressing, they are based on a ratio of 3 parts oil to I part acid (vinegar or lemon). Generally, this ratio is a really good benchmark for making any dressing, but it’s always sensible to have a little taste once you’ve shaken it up. If the seasoning is there but you’re finding it a little too acidic, you’ve cracked it, because once the dressing is on the salad leaves it will be perfect.

    French dressing

    Put 1/3 cup of natural yogurt, 2 tablespoons of white or red wine vinegar, and 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil into a jam jar with a pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Put the lid on the jar and shake well.

    Yogurt dressing

    Put 1/3 cup of natural yogurt, 2 tablespoons of white or red wine vinegar, and 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil into a jam jar with a pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Put the lid on the jar and shake well.

    Lemon dressing

    Put 6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil into a jam jar with a pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Squeeze in the juice of 1 lemon. Put the lid on the jar and shake well.

    Balsamic dressing

    Put 6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar into a jam jar with a pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Put the lid on the jar and shake well.

    Interview with Jamie Oliver

    goop: If you could replace all of the sugary, processed food in vending machines, what would you put in them?

    Jamie Oliver:

    A: This is a really interesting one because psychologically it’s good for us to have treats in life. And actually, I think having a well-run tuck shop or vending machine that stocks a variety of better-quality treats can be ok. The problem we have is that treats are taking over and a lot of companies are using cheaper sugar, cheaper chocolate, and other stuff that’s making them even worse for us.

    The fact is kids are still going to buy that stuff on their way home from school, so it’s not as simple as ripping out all the chocolate and replacing it with muesli bars. I think it’s about being smarter about how the machines are used. Some schools I’ve seen have vending machines that use cashless cards so parents can actually track what their kids are eating. Other schools have their machines on timers so kids can only buy treats after they’ve eaten their lunch. We can definitely be smarter about what these machines are stocked with – if we embrace food made by companies using better-quality ingredients and include a more varied selection that would be a good start.

    But again, information and education is the key. Ultimately, if you’ve got kids being taught to cook so they’re less scared of things, and interested parents who make sure any gaps are being filled at home then things tend to work out naturally. As you can see this is a fairly meaty subject!

    goop: What is it like being so brilliant and so cute all at the same time?

    A: Ahhh! Bless you Gwyneth.

    Well I at least try to be brilliant, and I was cute as a baby but I think those qualities are probably very debatable subjects these days!

    Be sure to catch Jamie Oliver’s TV show, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution on Fridays at 9 pm on ABC.

    The goop collection