Thursday, July 12, 2007

Eat Your Greens!

So the kiddywinkies don't like the school dinners cooked up for them by that nice man from the telly, Mr. Oliver.
I can't say I blame them. Having a TV celebrity advise on kids meals is just another extension of the 'Celebrity' nonsense that seems to plague our lives. I only knew one celebrity chef and she was my mother.
A correspondent in today's newspapers painted a tear jerking picture of a little boy wandering around the playground, trying to dispose of his unwanted fruit. Seems the modern child is not very innovative – in my day we could have found a very good use for such items.
But of course, then there was no Bill of Rights for Children. We ate what was put in front of us or woe betide. I was sentenced to attend school in England and there they had an innovative programme that you were not allowed to leave the table until you had cleared your plate.
I realise that such cruelty would be unacceptable today – along with playing conkers, climbing trees and similar activities of those bygone years – but the resultant generation turned out to be a good deal more civilised than the specimens I see hanging around street corners in Britain today.
But back to dinner. The British have always had this peripheral relationship with gastronomy which is a pity, since there are so many wonderful regional dishes. Not everyone eats at The Fat Duck, nor do they want to, me included, but surely the dinner ladies are not unable to produce a steak and kidney pie, cottage pie or similar that would be better than burger and chips?
Then again, like charity, good taste in food begins at home. It seems ridiculous to blame the preferences of the children on the government and schools, although it is now considered that all defects in one's offspring should be dealt with by some government department.
In very few cases can conception and production of children be blamed on ministers, unless the tabloid newspapers find out, so why should they be responsible?
One of the most depressing sights in this world is that of a British family on holiday in France, trying to find something on the menu that their offspring will eat, beans on toast and fish fingers being something of a rarity.
So it is hardly Jamie Oliver's fault that he failed to get five Michelin stars for his efforts. Perhaps he was the wrong sort of celebrity and they should have gone for David Beckham.
But then he looks like a beans on toast and burger man to me.

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