A couple of years ago, Jamie Oliver changed the way people ate in the United Kingdom. Last Spring, he visited one of America’s “fattest” towns and revamped the school lunch program. And now, he’s introduced his Ministry of Food plan to Australia. A much-needed global concept, Jamie is spreading the word that everyday cooks can prepare healthy, wholesome and quality foods for their families while staying in budget and supporting local food resources.
The Ministry of Food is best known for its activities during World War II when food was rationed and home cooks were challenged to put healthy meals on the table. The Ministry taught cooks how to best utilize the rations by introducing them to techniques and ingredients that saved time, money and waste. Inspired by these lessons, Jamie is re-inventing his own Ministry and accomplishing two tasks: Fighting obesity and increasing the intake of quality, unprocessed food products.
While Jamie’s recipes would not be considered low calorie, he uses fresh, real ingredients whenever possible. His goal is to expose home cooks to everyday ingredients that produce delicious and filling dishes. The recipes are easy and usually quick (with only a few exceptions) and would fit into most budgets. Jamie hopes that when home cooks try his recipes, they will opt to cook at home rather than go out to a restaurant, where ingredients are unpredictable, serving sizes are outrageous and caloric amounts are staggering.
Promoting Unprocessed Foods
Jamie’s recipes are also free of harmful chemicals, including pesticides, hormones and other chemicals used in processing foods. He encourages organic produce and cruelty-free, hormone-free meat in nearly every recipe. His recipes appear to be simple with few ingredients and easy techniques, but the home cook soon realizes that cooking with natural ingredients results in high-flavor, wholesome meals that are better for you and extremely satisfying.
From country to country, Jamie is influencing home cooks around the world, including this one. After watching Jamie’s show here in the States, my eight year-old daughter purchased Jamie’s cookbook for her dad for Father’s Day. We share the cooking responsibilities at our house, but I quickly took over the book and claimed it as my own. I took Jamie’s pledge to “Pass It On” and chose a recipe from one chapter a week to make and then teach as many people as I could. I taught through my daily blog, but Jamie also encourages cooking parties and classes.
From the UK to the USA and now to Australia, Jamie is changing the way we cook and eat, and we’ve bought in completely. In today’s difficult economic times, Jamie has taught us that we can afford good ingredients to make healthy, wholesome meals and not sacrifice taste. As each home cook learns each recipe, the risk of obesity falls and the quality of home-cooked meals rises. It’s a global lesson that needs teaching, and I’m glad to be a part of it.