A very interesting article in the paper today: Jamie Oliver has criticised struggling families for spending their money on expensive ready meals instead of eating more cheaply by cooking from scratch. Does he have a point?
The TV chef, who is worth an estimated £150m, said he finds it ‘hard to talk about modern-day poverty’ because the cash-strapped households do not budget effectively.
He cited a family he met while making one of his previous TV shows who ate unhealthy, fast food but had splashed out on a huge TV.
Does he have the right to judge how people spend their money? Is he right to point this out? That’s a tough one.
Who is to blame? Are the families to blame? I would say it is more likely to be society that is to blame. We are a society that is surrounded by fast food, cramming so much into our day, so we can work, socialise, and go on holiday. It’s almost like cooking no longer matters.
In the part of New Zealand where I now live, EVERYONE has a veggie patch, no matter how small their garden. The social norm isn’t to go and get totally smashed on a weekend, its a social lifestyle surrounded by dinner parties and coffee meetings.
Oliver said that poor communities in other countries had a better grasp of good food.
He told the Radio Times: ‘Some of the most inspirational food in the world comes from areas where people are financially challenged.
‘The flavour comes from a cheap cut of meat, or something that’s slow-cooked, or an amazing texture’s been made out of leftover stale bread.’
The campaigning chef added: ‘I’m not judgmental, but I’ve spent a lot of time in poor communities, and I find it quite hard to talk about modern-day poverty.
Perhaps he is right. In some ways, you could say it is cheaper to eat unhealthy, I have tried it. But, more to the point, perhaps its your mind and your taste buds that need educating. Are you TOO used to the chemically enhanced flavours and not used to the natural ones? Are you used to shoving something in the microwave in your few minutes between rushing in and rushing out?