I just saw Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, the new show documenting the abysmal state of America’s food education, school foods, and the health issues and obesity that are the result. I have always enjoyed Jamie’s cooking shows, had heard of his foundation in England for training at-risk youth and employing them at his restaurant and was aware of his mission to bring knowledge and healthier habits to the public and schools.
One thing that he pointed out really caught my attention: At school (and often at home) kids don’t get to use knives and forks. He says in his TED speech that if you are not getting knives and forks to eat with at schools, you are endorsing the consumption of fast food and you are not giving kids the chance to eat properly. Expecting kids at school to sit like ladies and gentleman at the table is pretty far fetched (try just getting them to sit), but we could set the bar just a little higher. And the spork isn’t helping. It’s a mediocre spoon, a lousy fork, and completely useless as a cutting implement. Even the official spork page admits that the spork fails as cutlery. However, a plastic knife isn’t much better and wouldn’t encourage ‘cutting technique’ to be developed -- imagine if the classrooms only had completely dull scissors for cutting paper -- utter frustration. The best solution would be to use real metal cutlery. While it would then necessitate a dishwashing line, I believe the long-term financial and environmental impact would be worth it. It’s time to let go of the spork. If you have a moment, please sign Jamie’s petition to save America’s cooking skills and improve school food.